For the love of flavor

If food gets your blood pounding more than a bodice-ripping romance, these seven emporia will make your heart sing with delight.

TEXT: Sofía Heiremans @elservirsen


São Paulo


Don’t visit Empório Santa María when you’re hungry or you’ll end up broke! This emporium in the neighborhood of Itaim Bibi welcomes visitors with a huge selection that includes fresh pasta, baked goods, fine cheeses, top-quality sausages and more than 12,000 products imported from all over the world.

Ready-made baskets are a trademark, especially the breakfast version, which includes coconut milk, Nutella, a variety of breads, yogurt, German cookies, Italian jams and Brazilian cheeses. The mezzanine is home to a Japanese restaurant that also serves some French and Italian dishes. Or try the buffet, where you can sample a range of flavors from Brazil and abroad for just US$30.

For wine lovers, there are more than 500 varieties, and you can order any of them by the glass. Sheer perfection!

Avenida Cidade Jardim 790, Itaim Bibi




New York City


Near the end of the tempting main aisle of the Chelsea Market, filled with lobster by the pound, cupcakes that look like works of art and avant-garde culinary shops, you’ll find one of New York’s havens for divine Italian delicacies: Buon Italia.

At the entrance to this labyrinthine emporium, a large case proudly features ravioli, cold cuts and charcuterie, panini, frittatas, arancini and crostatas. Further along, the market unpretentiously displays its extensive selection. Buon Italia is famous for offering every Italian ingredient imaginable, as well as items from other European countries. You can buy a jar of Russian caviar for US$135, but pay special attention to the glorious meats and cheeses, like the homemade mozzarella. If you’re lucky, there might be a free tasting.

Give yourself enough time to fully explore this cozy emporium: it’s as easy to lose yourself here as in a charming southern Italian village. Before leaving, have a coffee at the small bar near the entrance. It’s a surefire antidote to the cold. Take note: they only accept cash.

75 9th Avenue, Manhattan






Welcome to gourmet heaven! Located in the neighborhood of Las Condes, Coquinaria showcases its products on lovely shelves next to a café, ice-cream shop, cheese shop and scores of cookbooks. There are more than 3,000 delicacies, with something for every taste and budget, from boar terrine (US$8) to sauvignon jam (US$6). Innovative and delicious surprises include the abalone carpaccio and the frog’s legs. Take a spot at the long table for a bite to eat and a chance to get to know the other customers. The weekend brunch includes a Martini, yogurt with granola, toast, coffee and more, all for just US$16.

The smaller and cozier 7 Alces offers delicious breakfasts and lunches at very reasonable prices. Constructed from reused woods and fine materials, this spot boasts a family-friendly atmosphere, and all the ingredients are sourced locally. Even the coffee is Rainforest and UTZ Alliance certified. Treat yourself to the dark Belgian chocolate cake or try the muffins and brownies, which are available in vegan versions and free of preservatives or artificial coloring.

Isidora Goyenechea 3000, Las Condes
Alonso de Córdova 2437, Vitacura

Av. Nueva Costanera 3668, Vitacura




Buenos Aires


When you don’t feeling like cooking, but want good food and a great time, this restaurant/bar/café is ideal for all tastes, at any time of day. The restaurant focuses on Mediterranean and Asian cuisine, featuring dishes like stir-fried chicken with cashews or capresse pizza. There’s also an ice-cream shop in the truest Buenos Aires style.

Located on Puerto Madero, I Central Market lets you enjoy breakfast, a cocktail or dinner with a view of the river and the port activity that most tourists never see. The price per person runs between US$12 and US$23. And like good porteños, the staff will make you feel very much at home.

Boulevard Macacha Güemes, Puerto Madero




San Francisco


Going to San Francisco and not sampling the local fish and seafood would be like going to Hawaii without a bathing suit. Fish Company founder Allen Kuehn makes sure that everyone gets a chance at some of the freshest catch in town: for the past 25 years, he has gone every morning to personally select the fish sold at his establishment.

Whether you enjoy them at Fish Company or at home, you can get fresh-out-of-the-water crabs for US$9, huge oysters at US$2 apiece or a pound of leopard shark for US$6, depending on the season. The best dishes include the fish burritos, fish tacos and the legendary clam chowder, served in a bread bowl.

Ferry Building Marketplace, Embarcadero





Built in 1902, Eliseevskiy was renovated and reopened by a new owner in 2012. This elegant market is an essential stop for anyone visiting the Russian capital. In the extensive seafood section, the proprietors boast that you’ll find the freshest caviar in the world for around US$140, as well as an extensive selection of fish and seafood recently imported from the Baltic. And don’t forget to sample the many versions of a Russian potato salad (called Olivier salad) for just a US$1 each, not to mention to the endless selection of vodkas.

m. Pushkinskaya, ul. Tverskaya, 14

Featured Articles

Articles by country