Restaurant tip in São Paulo: O Velhão

A very rustic complex in the middle of nature, full of history and with one of the best home made foods you can ever eat in a restaurant, this is “O Velhão”. But just being charming is not its only quality. Everything about the restaurant goes much deeper and interesting than that. The place has over 20 shops, a pizza place, a small billiard room, a restaurant, a cafeteria and a night club. Keep the reading to know more about this expetacular place.

A little bit about “O Velhão”

Everything started not long ago, was on 70’s when Moacyr Arcanjo dos Santos started to build up what today is the coolest place in São Paulo. He used to buy rests parts from demolished mansions and houses in the areas, parts which where underestimated and no one wanted by the time. He restored them and sold it again. It was when he started collecting all the pieces and working on them that O Velhão was born. After a while doing it in his family house and listening to many complaints about the amount of things inside, he had to amplify the business and bought another 3.000 m². Nowadays the place has 57.000 m² and is much more than a commercial complex with stores and restaurants, the place also gives workshops on wood work, blacksmithing and cachaça production. Besides that, it has a school for kids between 3,5 to 10 years old. The wish of Moacyr was not only restoring and recycling pieces, but to teach his knowledge and build up a better society. O Velhão has an impressive history, does some amazing work and definitely deserves a visit.

Our impressions about the extraordinary complex

To arrive at O Velhão you need a car, because it stays inside a preserved area called “State Park of Cantareira”, which is located in the middle of a mountain in a very green area. But before you get there, you might cross some slums and very poor areas, but as soon as you reach the complex area, looks like everything changes. It is located exactly in the border from the city of São Paulo and Mairiporã. But if you don’t have one, you can take the subway to Tucuruvi station and grab a Taxi or an Uber from there.

The first thing you see is a pretty charming area, all made up with bricks and a lot of little houses. Don’t take long until you understand the structure of the complex and find everything right around you. You feel like in a time travel to some small village very well built. All the decoration of the complex is made with objects that were collected by Moacyr and his team through the time. Most of them are already restored and many still to be worked. The coolest thing is that all those objects are for sale, so you can really take a piece of the place home with you.

Over the cafeteria you will find some nice metal stairs that takes you to a nice terrace with an overview from the place.

The restaurant “As Véia”

If you appreciate some home made food, you are at the right place. The prices can vary from R$ 33,00 to R$ 58,00 depending on the day of the week and the time that you go, but worth every cent. It is a “eat as much as you want – or as you can – and has a great variety of the most traditional Brazilian cuisine made in the most traditional way: over stoves operated with burning woods, which gives a very special taste for the food. The quality of the dishes are so incredibly good that you will want a bite of everything. But if I can give you a friendly tip, to enjoy the best of it, go early to the restaurant. If you arrive around 11 am, will probably start to eat around 12 and will get the freshest food. There were already some complaints from people that arrived there around 13:00, had to face some lines and eat just what was left from the food. So, don’t be there so late.

An overview of one of the big saloons, with the hot buffet. Below you see the big variety of the salads bar that is all included.

Besides this beautiful buffet, the place also offers a system of Barbecue and Deserts that costs only R$ 10,00 per plate and by that I mean that you can fill your plate as much as you can and everyone on the table can eat. So, it’s a very more than fair price. Their variety of desert and barbecue meats and fruits are really nice as well and very approved by our taste!

Besides the amazing food, a little live music was going on the background. This was our very last day in São Paulo and we left Brasil with a very nice feeling after spending such a pleasant time with my family in such special place. We got so happy that our last family picture got amazing, check it out:

Date of our visit to O Velhão: 25.03.2017