Luiz Filipe Souza, the chef restaurant Evvai, in São Paulo, Brazil. Evvai, is a Brazilian restaurant with Italian influences, though sometimes that gets lost in translation and it’s just called an Italian restaurant. Brazil, and São Paulo in particular, has a massive Italian heritage. I don’t think a lot of people really understand how extensive it is. There was as much Italian migration there in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as there was in Buenos Aires or New York. The influences are many. You see it in the mortadella sandwiches. You see it in the service of fine dining restaurants. Some of my best meals in the city have been Italian leaning, like Marco Renzetti’s Pettirosso, which transformed into Fame Osteria, and Fasano, inside the hotel of the same name. Evvai’s cuisine is called Oriundi, which refers to a migrant centered idea of Italian food. So, it’s not trying to replicate Italian cuisine, but use it as inspiration. Luiz and I talk a lot about how he doesn’t feel quite as boxed in with the concept as he once did, especially since the pandemic. Some dishes on the menu might look completely Brazilian and he’s fine with that. If you like at Evvai’s Instagram you’ll see a lot of dishes that definitely do look lie traditional Italian food. There is some pasta, but lots of non-Italian restaurants have pasta. The line is very blurred between what is Italian and what isn’t. There is freedom in that and I think his food, and I cannot say for sure as I haven’t been there, is probably better for that.
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