If you follow me on Snapchat or Instagram, you’ve probably seen me documenting a lot of food and nightlife in Brazil. Case in point, Bagatelle, where dreams are made of. This restaurant in Jardins is where food and nightlife meet in perfect harmony.
Have you ever wanted to eat a nice, fancy dinner and then hop on the table and start dancing? If your answer is yes, then Bagatelle is the place for you.
The first time Nate brought Dana, Brendon and I was the Saturday we arrived in São Paulo. We were all a bit jet-lagged and tired, but Nate promised Bagatelle would be worth it, and he did not disappoint. He’d been with a big group during a prior trip to Brazil so he had us well prepared for what was to come: “Stick with one type of drink (rosé), drink A LOT of water, and save your Snapchats for the good stuff.” Wiser words were never spoken.
Because we were late to make a reservation, we were advised to come early (7 PM) and wait in the patio area until they could seat us. The party “starts” at 9 PM so you can imagine we were hanging around for quite awhile.
One thing to note about being a gringo in Brazil is the locals are very eager to please you. We were given at least four plates of bread to go along with our appetizers and first 3 bottles of rosé before we were seated inside. Once we were finally placed at our indoor table around 9:30 PM (thank you to whoever canceled), we were ready to order entrées and bottle #4.
At first glance, Bagatelle is just like any other restaurant, complete with round tables, big booths and a bar towards the back. The waiters are dressed in black and white, and the room is decorated with chandeliers hanging over each table, while a DJ off to the side helps bump up the atmosphere. We were seated towards the back closer to the bar, so we had the perfect view for people watching.
Bagatelle can be expensive so we ended up splitting 2-3 entrées between the four of us, which actually ended up being the perfect amount of food following our appetizers and generous portions of bread. Everyone arrives and eats around the same time, and the DJ plays throughout your dining experience. His playlist is made up of unique remixes consisting of a lot of popular songs in the U.S. so get your Shazam app ready.
Sometime around 11 PM, the lights begin to dim and the music gets a bit louder. You know the party’s about to start when the lights begin to flick on and off with the beat of the song. By this point, all of the tables are cleared of their food and most of the groups are a few bottles deep.
Bagatelle is known for the party so as soon as the transition starts, you notice the waiters starting to dance around and hop up on chairs whipping napkins above their heads (a friend actually messaged me on Snapchat and asked if I was at a wedding). By this point the place is dark, the music is loud and girls in their heels are dancing up on the booths and tables.
The waiters are on their A-game and ready to bring you a fresh bottle as soon as you’ve finished the one before. When you order certain desserts and bottles of booze, they’re delivered to you with sparklers by hot staff members dressed up in costumes.
The place is a total scene, and that includes the people dining there.
I should mention that in Brazil being a “pro” is pretty normal. The clubs and bars are loaded with ladies looking to be taken care of for the night, and Bagatelle is no exception- they’re everywhere and almost too easy to spot. A solid sign you’re looking at a pro is if she’s standing at the bar without a drink for more than a few minutes. She’ll continue scanning the menu and looking around, but most likely won’t order anything until someone comes up and offers to buy her a drink. I have to hand it to them, though, they certainly know what they’re doing.
Our second time at Bagatelle was a Sunday “brunch” and just as fun as the first, if anything a bit rowdier. We went with our Brazilian friend Mariana and her boyfriend Marcelo and stuck to the same routine as our first visit (plus an AMAZING dessert but we don’t really have to count that).
Bagatelle has a few locations across the globe, including one in New York City. I’ve heard mixed reviews, some referring to it as a “trashy brunch place.” I’ve also heard that it’s not as fun as the one in SP from someone who has been to both, but I’d still be curious to check it out. Bagatelle in Rio de Janeiro however, is rumored to be the absolute best.
In all, we drank about 8 bottles of rosé during our first Bagatelle experience, which was more than enough. If you do it right, you can leave Bagatelle spending about $150 USD per person. If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend it but definitely suggest saving yourself the wait and making a reservation ahead of time.
And if all of that is not enough to convince you, maybe the dessert will: