There are simply two very important words in Buenos Aires: puertas cerradas.
Eating in Buenos Aires is such a treat! Since Argentina is a multicultural melting pot rooted in its intercontinental European flavors, local cuisine has evolved into a mix of that with Latin American essence.
The concept of puertas cerradas (closed door restaurants) has been organically popular in Buenos Aires, and travelers must indulge at least one night in such a dining experience. Guests are literally eating at the chef’s private space (typically in his home,) it’s mostly an open kitchen oozing of intimacy between the food, the chef and the guests. The menu usually infuses gastronomy with fresh local ingredients.
Check out these top five restaurants, personally curated by myself during my last trip to Buenos Aires. I hope your trip is filled with just as much tastiness!
1. i Latina – Best closed-door restaurant
It’s hard flipping through any food magazine in Argentina and not come across the much buzzed about name: i Latina. Buenos Aires’ immensely popular restaurant features chef Santiago Macias’ dazzling seven-course menu in which his Colombian roots shine through. From an appetizer of white corn arepas with anise and Colombian hogao, to a sordid homemade bread basket (filled with heartfelt banana bread, coconut bread, focaccia with olives and mixed seeds bread with a side of to-die-for lime and pepper flavored butter spread), all the way to the final course of avocado and aguardiente ice cream; every dish is a wondrous surprise, especially for travelers who have yet to visit Colombia.
This family business extends to Macias oldest brother: Camilo, who pairs each course with the best Argentinian wine, mostly from Mendoza and Patagonia. The restaurant now features a cocktail menu including the classic gin and tonic and a house special smoked negroni. The brothers’ younger sister Laura speaks English fluently and is the perfect host to the most unforgettable restaurant in Buenos Aires.
2. Casa Felix – Best hidden gem
Another closed door restaurant, Casa Felix’s seasonal menu is full of flavors from Latin America. For ARS $390/person, the five-course menu includes water and coffee (wine and alcohol are charged additionally.) Dinner is held inside a beautiful Argentian home owned by chef Alvaro Zapata and Dina Cantoni. Cocktails and hors d’oeuvres are served in the garden at 9:30 p.m. The crowd is quite international, as Casa Felix has made a name for a unique dining experience. Open from Thursday to Saturday nights, we highly recommend this unforgettable meal.
3. Museo Evita – Best museum restaurant
Recommended even by locals in Buenos Aires, after a walk through Museo Evita where you can learn about the history and life of a symbolic woman, a lunch or snack/drinks at the museum’s terrace makes a nice break. The patio is lovely with free Wi-Fi! In addition to a menu full of regional classic dishes, there’s an exclusive wine cellar that features great local bottles.
4. Don Julio – Best steak
Coming to Argentina, you’re expected to eat a lot of beef with good reasons. Since cattle were first brought to Argentina in 1536 by the Spanish, beef is a key component of traditional Argentine cuisine. Don Julio is one of the most well-known steakhouses in Buenos Aires. If you’re craving for a fantastic piece of juicy meat cooked to perfection, then you’ve got to make a trip to Don Julio conveniently located in the Polermo neighborhood.
5. UCO at Fierro Hotel – Best hotel restaurant
A few years ago, Fierro Hotel featured the delicious Hernan Gipponi Restaurant that wow-ed us away with every bite. So this boutique hotel in the Palermo neighborhood has always been known for its great food. The new UCO exudes hours of deliciousness that you never want to end. The seven-course tasting menu can also be paired with a beautiful flight of gorgeous wines.