Visiting Ibirapuera Park in São Paulo & an Argentinian restaurant

November 18, 2016

After our visit to MAC-USP, Dale and I crossed the bridge over the busy thoroughfares below, to reach Ibirapuera Park and more art museums!

There was something called the Bienal – the 32nd biannual art exposition – housed in one of the park’s buildings, very near the ramp that extended over the streets to MAC-USP on the other side.

There was a lot of really interesting artwork on display, much of it inspired by Brazil’s indigenous peoples and natural environment.  To the right of the entrance, a lot of tall stalks painted in natural colors evoked a forest.


20161118_130144In the middle of that part of the hall was a replica of an indigenous house – an oval “mud” hut with a roof made of thatched palm leaves.

20161118_130207 Stepping inside, we had to duck, for the doorway was too low for most adults.  In the middle of the hut was a circular raised pit, with four carvings of animals representative of native species, including a turtle and a tamanduá (anteater).


20161118_130359Against the curved walls were pieces by native artists which I found fascinating, beautiful renditions of Brazilian folk art!


This kind of boat is used by fishermen and is called a jangada.


These curved hats are typical of the leather hats worn by cowboys in the Northeast. A general term for these men is cangaceiros.


Hints of myth and religion…


Bumba-meu-bói costume – in the Northeast during carnaval (known in the U.S. as Mardi Gras) two people get into these bull costumes, one in front, one in back, and parade in the street. It’s a type of dance performed with typical music of the sertão – the rural arid interior of Northeast Brazil.

20161118_130619I could have lingered there longer, but Dale had taken a panoramic video and was now beckoning me to go.  He was getting hungry and where was the restaurant that signs promised?

We looked at a few other exhibits while searching for the restaurant,  including a circle of potted plants and their role in planting and harvesting.



20161118_131703We ended up having to walk completely around the outside of the building to find the café – not really a restaurant.  Perhaps the restaurant was closed.

We entered the café from a rear entrance and down a hall covered with advertising posters from previous years’ biennials. With the limited menu, we decided to have just a snack – I ordered us two quiches and two Guaraná Zeros. (Guaraná is a Brazilian soft drink made with the guaraná, a type of berry. It is tangy and refreshing! But we are watching our diet, so we ordered the “Zeros” – meaning no sugar!)

There was another art museum (MAM) in the park but instead of spending time there,


Facade of MAM (Museum of Modern Art)

we headed across the park to the Afro Brasil museum, but when we approached the entrance we saw a crowd of several school groups lingering outside – it would be crowded and nosiy, so we decided not to go in.

While we had been looking for that museum, we had passed a couple of statues, some modern sculptures,


Ibirapuera Park


132_3820and a low white domed building with round whited-out windows – it looked like an alien spaceship! In fact, we think it was the planetarium or possibly the “Oca” listed on the map, which also contained some art on display.  We did not go in.

I think this is the planetarium at Ibirapuera Park.

Interesting trees

pândano tree

Walking away from the Afro Brasil museum, we followed main paths that circled the park, where lots of kids on bicycles passed us in noisy groups – including three girls who passed us several times; Dale thought they were lost but I laughed and said they didn’t act like they were lost – they were just having a good time riding back and forth!

Mural behind palm and flowering trees

Mural on another building (unused, it looked like- there were abandoned shopping carts alongside it) behind palm and flowering trees

We passed the edge of a lake and in spite of the uneven path and some garbage floating in the water near the shore, it was peaceful there. I stepped off the path to stand on the bank.


We stepped off the trail to stand on the bank, where I took this picture.

But we returned to the main path with its walkers, bicyclists and skateboarders.  There was a restroom, so we each went into our respective sides.  There was a slight odor and the toilets didn’t have seats – I had to gingerly lower my bottom onto the rim – and once there, realized there was no toilet paper!

Colorful bathroom walls

Although stinky and deteriorating, the restrooms were colorfully painted.

Good thing I had packages of Kleenex – I threw the tissue into the little wastebasket next to the toilet. Ugh!  Leaving the stall, I went to wash my hands and observed some girls coming in, who pulled paper out of a large round dispenser.  Each of them tore off a piece which they took with them into the stalls.  So that was the toilet paper! I looked around for something to dry my hands on and saw an employee with thick packets of paper towels loading them into the paper towel dispenser.  I murmured something vague as I grabbed one off the top of the pile before she closed the dispenser.

TIP:  If you are visiting Ibirapuera Park, DON’T use these outdoor johns – the restrooms inside exhibit buildings are cleaner!!


Exercise station – these are scattered throughout the park.

You find artwork in the most unexpected places!

We found art in the most unexpected places!

More public art

My legs were getting tired so we sat down on a bench to rest.  Dale pointed to one of the paved paths which seemed to lead into a dark area, but he was convinced we should take that route to get back to the bridge.  I was opposed at first, saying it was dangerous but then I saw a couple of people walking and bikes whizzing in and out.  He was right – taking that route led us to Portão 4 where we exited the park and walked over the bridge over the busy thoroughfares.


We went back to the apartment in Vila Mariana and rested, and decided where to go for dinner.  I found an Argentinian restaurant, Dr. Tche Parilla de la Villa, that was not too far away, so we went there around 7 pm.  Hardly any customers were there – but for Brazilians, it was fairly early.  I highly recommend this restaurant – it was excellent!


On the menu were a variety of cuts of beef – I knew a couple of them, but not all.  The waiter told us one order was enough for two, so we ordered bife de chorizo which, contrary to what the name implies in Spanish, has nothing to do with sausage.  It was, in fact, a very tender and lean cut of beef, which I ordered medium but for me it could have been cooked just a tad longer.

Still, it was excellent and came with chimichurri sauce (picture on the right above) and pico de gallo. The sauces came first, along with the bread, so I heaped them on the rolls first.  I had ordered suflê de batata, which I thought would be something like mashed potatoes but in fact were irregularly elongated potato puffs, hollow inside.  The meal also came with broccoli which had been marinated in garlic and seasoned.  We each had a tropical caipirinha (Dale)/caipiroska (me).

The waiter was very solicitous, the service was great.  We had plenty of leftovers which we brought back to the apartment and put into our little refrigerator.

(Note: All pictures of the restaurant were downloaded from Google Images.)

One thought on “Visiting Ibirapuera Park in São Paulo & an Argentinian restaurant

  1. Ibiraquera park is one of those places in São Paulo that allows you forget how big the city is. When I lived close to it, I would often go there just to sit down somewhere and do nothing.
    But your tip about the restroom is true and not just at the park. Luckily there are tons of shopping malls everywhere if needed.

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