The list of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2019, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, was revealed on Thursday 10th October at the seventh annual awards ceremony, which was held at Usina del Arte in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Including seven new entries and restaurants across eight countries, discover the ultimate bucket list for foodies in Latin America in 50 dish photos, and click on each restaurant's name to read the full profile on the Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants website.
No.50 Narda Comedor, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Narda Comedor is built around a few simple concepts: eat seasonal, eat vegetables, drink water, try new things and eat well. With the opening of the restaurant in Buenos Aires in 2017, chef Narda Lepes wanted to show her compatriots what a healthy diet looks like, while proving that it can delight the palate and still offer nutritionally balanced mouthfuls.
No.49 Mayta, Lima, Peru
Meaning ‘noble land’ in the native Aymara language, Mayta is a personal and contemporary interpretation of Peruvian cuisine by world-famous chef and restaurateur Jaime Pesaque. Pesaque makes full use of Peru’s plentiful larder of unique ingredients, cooked with flair and using cutting-edge techniques (think foams, emulsions and reductions) without forgetting the country’s heritage.
No.48 Malabar, Lima, Peru
Pedro Miguel Schiaffino studied at the Culinary Institute of America and then moved to Italy, where he trained with some of the country’s finest chefs. Long one of Peru’s most forward-thinking cooks, he regularly travels to the Amazon on food expeditions to uncover native ingredients. Malabar's kitchen works with more than 100 rare products, spanning the Amazon to the Andes, including algae, roots, freshwater fish and wild fruits.
No.47 99, Santiago, Chile
Over his young career, Kurt Schmidt has worked at A-list establishments including Noma in Denmark and Azurmendi in Spain, as well as the feted Boragó back home in Santiago. Among 99's typical dishes, pantrucas is a traditional Chilean dish of soup – made from a rabbit base in Schmidt’s interpretation – with a wheat flour dough cooked in the broth, giving the dish its characteristic thickness.
No.46 Gran Dabbang, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Young chef Mariano Ramón has been instrumental in bringing Asia’s wide-ranging street-food scene to Buenos Aires. From a tiny spot in Palermo, he draws on Asian flavours and ingredients and brings them together with Latin American flair to create an original sensory experience.
No.45 Elena, Buenos Aires, Argentina
A local restaurant gem in Recoleta, Elena appeals to the whole family, making it the ideal spot for special occasions, family gatherings, and for travellers unfamiliar with porteño cuisine. The luxurious two-storey space features a grand spiral staircase, lush wood and leather furnishings, and an open kitchen with a large marble butcher’s block.
No.44 Osaka, Santiago, Chile
Offering up the finest of Peru while making the most of Chile’s extensive coastline, Osaka brings Nikkei fusion to Santiago. Among the typical dishes are tiradito palteadito with slivers of white fish, caper sauce, hondashi, lime and fried sweet potato strings; duck confit gyozas with caramelised onions, wok-fried shiitake, yellow pepper sauce and shichimi togarishi.
No.43 Mocotó, São Paulo, Brazil
Mocotó was opened in 1974 by Rodrigo Oliveira’s father, ‘Seu Zé’, as a neighbourhood bar near the airport, soon gaining a reputation for hearty, tasty food. In 2002, young Rodrigo took over, gradually turning it into the Brazilian gastronomic institution of today. The restaurant now serves traditional Brazilian food served in the vibrant atmosphere of a no-reservations village bar.
No.42 Manu, Curitiba, Brazil
The 20-seat restaurant in the southern Brazilian state of Paraná forms the epicentre of myriad food projects led by the charismatic 35-year-old Manoella Buffara, known by all as Manu. The menu showcases the region’s vegetables, herbs and seafood in particular, sourced via a network of artisanal producers as well as foraging. The resulting dishes are frequently eaten with the hands in traditional fashion.
No.41 La Docena, Guadalajara, Mexico
Tomás Bermudez’s New Orleans-inspired temple of oysters is the place to go for fresh, local ingredients, great value for money and excellent service. Signatures include grilled oysters with clarified butter, shallots and parsley, octopus tostadas, prawn aguachile and wagyu beef from Durango. Artisanal beer, Mexican wine and locally fermented drinks make up the beverage menu.
No.40 Evvai, São Paulo, Brazil
Chef Luiz Filipe Souza calls his cuisine ‘Oriundi,’ an Italian word referring to immigrants and descendants of Italy all over the world. Using Brazilian produce, he reinterprets immigrant-inspired dishes such as beef tartare with trout eggs from the state of Santa Catarina, or fresh tuna with homemade buffalo stracciatella.
No.39 El Baqueano, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Fernando Rivarola scours Argentina for smallholders and producers in his quest to unearth native ingredients, such as llama and alligator. Super friendly and relaxed, the dining room is flanked by a traditional wooden bar. The wine list is also accessible but varied in style.
No.38 La Docena (Polanco), Mexico City, Mexico
This boisterous New Orleans-inspired oyster bar and grill attracts the wealthy and artsy set, who flock here on the weekends. Despite the expansive space, it can get crowded, with guests spilling out onto the pavement slurping oysters from the shell and knocking back gin and tonics and ice-cold beers. The centrepiece of the restaurant is the Argentine parrilla grill and seafood counter, stacked high with oysters and shellfish on mountains of crushed ice.
No.37 Restaurante 040, Santiago, Chile
There is no other dining experience in Santiago quite like 040, which applies a high level of technical skill to Chile’s rich native ingredients. Its well-hidden location on the lower level of the fashionable Tinto Boutique Hotel in bohemian Bellavista neighbourhood adds to the intrigue of this 40-seat restaurant.
No.36 Mil, Cusco, Peru
The epitome of destination dining, Mil requires a 70-minute flight from Lima to Cusco, then a 45-minute winding drive up to an elevation of 3,500 metres above sea level. A meal at Mil consists of eight courses that explore local ingredients from ecosystems at eight different altitudes. From the central Andes, there are potatoes, stems, chaco clay and wild chincho; from the Andean forest there is pork belly, avocado and lupinus legume; and from extreme altitude there is alpaca, black quinoa and tree tomato.
No.35 Olympe, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Olympe strikes the perfect balance between French elegance and Brazilian soul. The restaurant opened its doors in 1983 as Restaurant Claude Troisgros. In 2005 the name changed to Olympe (after Claude’s mother), but it has always been located in the same brick corner house near the Rodrigo Freitas lagoon. The interior is classic but cosy, the atmosphere warm.
No.34 De Patio, Santiago, Chile
Hidden in an upscale house in the bustling Vitacura district of Santiago, De Patio is the creative outlet of chef Benjamín Nast, who is on a mission to break the rules and surprise diners with his combination of ground-breaking cooking techniques, high-quality produce and striking presentations.
No.33 Parador La Huella, José Ignacio, Uruguay
The ultimate in chic beach eating, Parador La Huella’s repertoire in grilled seafood led by Vanessa González is second to none, making it a regular summer spot for trendy and fashionable visitors from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and beyond.
No.32 Le Chique, Cancun, Mexico
Specialised in contemporary Mexican cuisine, Le Chique offers an experience that is equal parts theatrical, multi-sensory and delicious. Set in the luxurious Azul Beach Resort in Cancún, it is a stone’s throw from beautiful white beaches and clear waters. Gómez Luna’s tasting menu offers an exploration of the different tastes and products of Mexico with the intent to ‘puzzle, amuse and amaze’ the diner.
No.31 Nicos, Mexico City, Mexico
A much-loved institution, Nicos has been satisfying Mexicans' stomachs for more than 60 years. Architect-turned-chef Gerardo Vázquez Lugo creates dishes that take diners on an odyssey through the country's rich culinary heritage. Try the locally sourced organic pork marinated with chilli, brown sugar and chocolate, accompanied by tamalito corn and corn sprouts.
No.30 Ambrosía, Santiago, Chile
Visit Ambrosía for a locavore experience that combines French flair with Chilean produce, where clean yet homely flavours fuse together in impeccable fashion. Among the typical dishes are fresh oysters with orange butter; homemade pasta with Chilean truffle and egg yolk; wild deer with mushroom purée and vegetables.
No.29 Chila, Buenos Aires, Argentina
With a focus on seasonal ingredients, traceable produce and Argentina’s multicultural make-up, Chila offers an innovative interpretation of Argentine cuisine. The menu changes seasonally, with 10 different menus rotating over the months. Highlights include black hake with Jerusalem artichoke; cured beef with yoghurt and chimichurri; or young squid, lettuce and capers.
No.28 Máximo Bistrot, Mexico City, Mexico
With a shared passion for great food, chef Eduardo García and his wife Gabriela set up Máximo Bistrot to showcase fresh produce from in and around Mexico City. Up to two thirds of the ingredients come from local farms, including the famed floating gardens of Xochimilco in the city.
No.27 Rosetta, Mexico City, Mexico
The mixture of beautiful mansion house setting and Elena Reygadas’ elegant, super-seasonal dishes makes this one of the most romantic – and popular – restaurants in Latin America. Rosetta has always had an Italian flavour, but in recent years, its emphasis has shifted towards a deeper Mexican sensibility with reinterpretations of tamales and mole dishes, alongside the likes of quail served with faro, dates and mustard leaves.
No.26 La Mar, Lima, Peru
Visit La Mar to mix with Lima’s buzzing foodie crowd and sample chef Gustavo Montestruque’s creative repertoire of ceviches that include octopus, sea urchin, shrimp and grouper. This is a no-reservations joint – and hugely popular – so expect to queue. Known for its pisco-led cocktails as well as its seafood, La Mar is relaxed limeño dining at its best.
No.25 Tegui, Buenos Aires, Argentina
A smart setting with an equally sophisticated tasting menu, Tegui has put contemporary Argentine cuisine on the map. Street art adorns the façade; step through the discrete black door to unveil a stylish establishment with an open kitchen. Oenophiles will adore the wine cellar for its labels and aesthetics.
No.24 Lasai, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Lasai opened its doors in 2014 in a historic house dating from 1902, garnering near-instant critical acclaim. The room mixes natural and modern materials with wood from old houses, together with designer lamps. On the menu are palm heart ceviche; banana, bok choy, manioc and sour cream; chayote, burrata and bottarga.
No.23 Oteque, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Focused on local products, Alberto Landgraf's cuisine is mathematical and inventive. His eight-course tasting menu features creative dishes, layers of flavours and precise techniques, from his famous signature creations, such as the onion stuffed with uni and served with mussel cream, to a foie gras boudin, that became an instant hit.
No.22 Harry Sasson, Bogotá, Colombia
Visit Harry Sasson for an eclectic menu that blends Latin American, Asian and European flavours. Having celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2016, it remains one of the country's must-visit dining destinations. The menu takes in pides, empanadas and wood-roasted meats, alongside plates from the mozzarella counter and the Japanese robata. Try the smoked avocado gazpacho with crab.
HIGHEST NEW ENTRY
No.21 Kjolle, Lima, Peru
After three years topping the Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants list with her husband and co-owner Virgilio Martínez at Central, Pía León decided to branch out with her own restaurant. Like the bright orange flower that gives the restaurant its name, Kjolle’s dishes are extremely colourful and offer a taste of ingredients from all over Peru.
No.20 Mishiguene, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Mishiguene, which means crazy in Yiddish, honours Argentina’s Jewish immigrant heritage by reinventing Ashkenazi, Sephardic, Israeli and Middle Eastern cooking. Here, nouvelle techniques are applied to old world recipes, using the highest-quality ingredients possible.
No.19 Rafael, Lima, Peru
Rafael Osterling's eponymous restaurant – housed in a beautiful Art Deco townhouse in the chic Miraflores area – celebrates Peru's eclectic and historic food culture. The menu draws on Peru's diverse culinary heritage, fusing traditional native ingredients with Italian, Asian and Nikkei influences. Think everything from ceviche and tiraditos to pizza and sashimi.
No.18 Maní, São Paulo, Brazil
Maní was named after the indigenous Brazilian God, a beautiful young woman who, legend has it, died mysteriously and was later reincarnated in the form of plants. São Paulo natives, or paulistas, and gastro-tourists flock here to try exquisite dishes with a Brazilian twist.
No.17 Maito, Panama City, Panama
You’ll need your passport for Chef Mario Castrellón’s tasting menu, as it runs a whistle-stop journey through Caribbean, Indigenous, Asian, Creole, Afro-Antillean and American cuisine that expresses Panama’s multicultural culinary identity like no other. The very casual fine dining experience here is perfectly adapted to the hot weather, with light, exciting dishes.
No.16 Sud 777, Mexico City, Mexico
It’s worth voyaging outside Mexico City’s gastronomic centre for a meal at Sud 777, where chef and co-owner Edgar Nuñez delivers his take on Mexican cuisine, extracting the best from simple ingredients. The menu is divided into sections such as ‘liquid and green’ with cold garden soup and raspberry salad; and among the main courses are Korobuta pork ribs and cod with ashes sauce, artichokes and zucchini.
No.15 Pangea, Monterrey, Mexico
Guillermo González Beristáin's Monterrey restaurant has put the northeast of Mexico on the culinary map by applying modern French cooking techniques to the region's superb local produce. Choose a seven-course tasting menu or go à la carte with eye-catching mains including roasted duck breast and braised leg with Castilla squash ravioli and morels mushrooms, or grilled octopus with chickpea stew, chorizo and piquillo peppers.
No.14 Alcalde, Guadalajara, Mexico
Chef Francisco ‘Paco’ Ruano’s simple, ‘frank’ Mexican cooking in a stylish, welcoming setting in Guadalajara makes diners want to return again and again. Mexican ingredients dominate Alcalde’s menu, with dishes such as green aguachile with prawn and apple, octopus with recado negro sauce and suckling pig with black mole sauce.
No.13 Astrid y Gastón, Lima, Peru
All areas are finely tuned at Astrid y Gastón, starting with the most recent menu, a tribute to Lima. Star dishes served à la carte or as part of the tasting menu include Peking-style guinea pig bao, grilled octopus with a pseudo-cereal salad and lucuma gnocchi. Chef patron Gastón Acurio and his team have taken home a cluster of accolades over the years, ranking No.1 in the inaugural Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2013.
No.12 Isolina, Lima, Peru
Chef José del Castillo is giving back to Lima the ultimate comfort food experience, recreating the feeling of a mother’s love at the table with delicious and nostalgic food in generous sharing portions. Set in a historic house in Barranco – the favourite area in Lima for bohemians, artists and intellectuals – it has the authentic ambience of an old family home.
No.11 Quintonil, Mexico City, Mexico
Quintonil is the name of a green Mexican herb similar to coriander that features in some of the dishes and cocktails, and pretty much sums up this restaurant: fresh, authentic and brimming with flavour. Chef Jorge Vallejo’s menu is based on local produce and showcases the best of Mexico.
No.10 D.O.M., São Paulo, Brazil
Former punk and DJ Alex Atala ripped up the rule book in true rock 'n' roll style when he set up D.O.M. in 1999, fusing fine dining with wild and wonderful ingredients from the Amazon basin. High ceilings, slick service and a soothing cream-and-taupe colour scheme make for a pleasantly relaxed space, allowing the fast-paced food to take centre stage.
No.9 Osso, Lima, Peru
A butcher’s shop and restaurant all rolled into one, Osso is the place to go in Lima for all the best cuts, from perfectly cooked ribeye to flavoured sausages (cheddar, rocoto pepper marmalade and limo chilli). Almost everything is grilled over the barbecue and there’s a casual a la carte as well as a tasting menu to be eaten with the hands only.
No.8 Leo, Bogotá, Colombia
Celebrity chef Leonor Espinosa’s flagship restaurant showcases little-known Colombian ingredients such as corozo fruit (a tangy red berry), arrechón (an aphrodisiac drink) and bijao (a banana-like plant), while championing local communities and gastronomic traditions. Since opening Leo she has had a great influence on Colombian cuisine and in 2017 Espinosa won the title of Latin America’s Best Female Chef.
No.7 El Chato, Bogotá, Colombia
Chef Alvaro Clavijo’s cooking is influenced by time in Europe and the US, but the produce is Colombian, and the style very much his own. The menu changes according to what’s in season, but usually features classics such as Arroz El Chato, the house rice with chicken and vegetables, as well as mushroom tartare and squid-ink-stained rice crisps with crab.
No.6 A Casa do Porco, São Paulo, Brazil
A carnivore’s idea of heaven, A Casa do Porco means ‘House of the Pig’ in Portuguese, and with everything from crunchy chunks of pancetta crackling to pork tartare, it’s a true porcine pilgrimage, with all meat 100% Brazilian. To wash down all that meat, there’s a similarly vast beverage list with strong cocktail options including classics such as Negroni, Manhattan, Bloody Mary and New York Sour.
No.5 Boragó, Santiago, Chile
Santiago’s Boragó deals in ‘territory rather than technique’, according to chef Rodolfo Guzmán. He and his energetic team source native Chilean products used by the Mapuche indigenous people to create Endémica, a menu starring diverse preparations that can change during the course of an evening according to produce supply, paired with natural and biodynamic wine or juices.
No.4 Don Julio, Buenos Aires, Argentina
All the beef at Don Julio is from grass-fed Aberdeen Angus and Hereford cattle, raised in the countryside outside Buenos Aires. It is stored in a climate-controlled refrigerator for at least 21 days to reach optimum maturity. Then grillmaster Bienvenido ‘Pepe’ Sotelo cooks all the beef on a traditional “V” iron grill. Match with beautiful Malbec for the full experience.
No.3 Pujol, Mexico City, Mexico
Enigmatic chef Enrique Olvera is credited with proving that rustic Mexican flavours deserve as much attention as any other haute cuisine in the world. And Pujol has been his pedestal to make that point via a tasting menu of refined and elegant plates built from indigenous ingredients that pay tribute to Mexico’s rich culinary history.
No.2 Central, Lima, Peru
Chefs Virgilio Martínez and Pía León’s flagship restaurant is a shrine to all things Peruvian, including many ingredients that are seldom seen elsewhere. The husband-and-wife team have been travelling the length and breadth of the country for several years to source interesting and unique produce from land, sea and mountains, and their all-encompassing approach to biodiversity and sustainability earned them the Sustainable Restaurant Award 2019.
No.1 Maido, Lima, Peru
When Peru meets Japan on the plate, Nikkei is born – and chef Mitsuharu ‘Micha’ Tsumura is a world-leader in this style of cuisine. This translates to a welcoming spot where fresh fish and citrus-packed sauces reign supreme. No wonder it now matches nearby Central with its three-year stint at No.1, being voted The Best Restaurant in Latin America 2019, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, after receiving the same title in 2017 and 2018.
Now recap the whole list from No.50 to No.1 in the video:
The list of Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants 2019 was announced on October 10, 2019, in Buenos Aires. To stay up to date with the latest news, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.