São Paulo’s D.O.M. is currently rated sixth in the World’s 50 Best ranking, but to me it is simply the restaurant where I take every visiting non-Brazilian for a guaranteed reaction: “What just hit us?!” The more confident that chef–owner Alex Atala becomes (his inclusion in Time’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world was a recent boost), the further he pushes. Current tasting menus include anything from Amazonian ants on a pineapple slice to the foamy core of an overripe coconut paired with algae. One thing remains unchanged: the showy tableside service of aligot that precedes dessert. A pairing of mashed potato and cheese is artfully swirled around with two spoons and lands on plates as silky, irresistible minitwirls. “Amazing!” exclaimed Alice Waters, the doyenne of sustainable cooking, on a recent visit. Atala smiled and bowed. —Alexandra ForbesThis appeared in the August/September 2013 issue.