Latin America again proved its culinary prowess in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants this year. Last week, the 2018 winners were unveiled in Bilbao, Spain, and highlighted seven Latin American restaurants in the top 50. Lima, Peru, remains the indisputable gastronomy capital of Latin America with Central and Maido sitting comfortably within the top 10, while Mexico City boasts two restaurants, Quintonil and Pujol, at number 11 and 13 respectively. Santiago de Chile’s, Boragó, came in at number 27 and Brazil’s D.O.M in Sao Paulo also made the top 30. Astrid y Gastón, Lima, appeared at number 39 with its founder Gastón Acurio winning The Diners Lifetime Achievement Award 2018 for elevating Peruvian cuisine.
Australia’s leading Latin America travel specialists, Chimu Adventures, view Latin America as the ultimate destination for food lovers with its fare mirroring its cultural diversity. Chimu’s co-founder Chad Carey re-iterates this: “Latin America is an absolute mecca for foodies with flavours combining traditional Incan culture and a variety of Indian, European and African influences.”
With local offices on the ground in Latin America, Chimu have the tough job of continually seeking out other incredible dining experiences for their travellers. Read on to discover their personal favourites.
Aprazível, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Travel half an hour from Ipanema and Copacabana to the slower-paced district of Santa Teresa where you will find Brazilian fusion restaurant, Aprazível. Aprazível, meaning pleasant, lives up to its name serving artisan cuisine and cachaça in a country home setting with verdant gardens and views of downtown Rio’s glittering skyline. Ingredients are organic and from natural and raw materials around Brazil.
99, Santiago, Chile
A previous entrant in Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017, 99 is a firm Santiago favourite for Chimu’s Chile sources. Polished dishes from predominantly Chilean ingredients contrast with the informal surroundings of wooden tables and recycled furnishings. Sustainability is key here; the wine offerings highlight natural and biodynamic wines from small-scale Chilean producers. Join the crowds on a Friday lunchtime when an interpretation of street food is on the menu.
Hacienda Huayoccari, Sacred Valley, Peru
This secluded hacienda in the Sacred Valley of the Incas focuses on hearty and traditional Andean dishes using locally sourced produce which bring a comforting, home-cooked feel. Expect Peruvian staples such as fresh trout or lomo saltado, a traditional dish of stir fried beef onions, tomatoes and French fries. Work up an appetite before dining with a horse ride from the hacienda on a Peruvian Paso along the farming routes to observe corn cultivation on the Inca terraces.
The Argentine Experience, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Situated in Buenos Aires’ lively Palermo Hollywood barrio, this interactive restaurant blends local food, wine, culture and social integration. Join other diners and your hosts as the art of making empanadas is learnt in Argentina’s first and only novelty empanada competition. These are enjoyed with grilled provoleta cheese, chorizo, warm bread, chimichurri and boutique wine selections before the all-important Argentinean steak is served.