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Latin America’s Best

As it does every year, this year’s list of the fifty best restaurants in Latin America spotlights the brightest stars in the region’s culinary firmament, pointing gourmets, dedicated foodies, and casual diners alike in the direction of their next perfect mouthful. This year, however, organizers wanted to go beyond a fixed moment in Latin American culinary time and provide a retrospective of the previous ten years. Panorama of the Americas is pleased to help honor Latin America by celebrating the best. Take note, and if at all possible, visit and enjoy.

Central: Best of the Best

The chef duo Virgilio Martínez and Pía León invoke fire and make magic in the kitchen at this restaurant located at 301 Avenida Pedro de Osma in the Peruvian capital. They have been named the region’s best for the past ten years in acknowledgement of their efforts to rediscover, value, and fuse the tastes and textures of various cultures, times, and spaces. The fact that two other Peruvian restaurants (Maido and Gastón & Astrid) sit alongside Central in the top five only confirms Lima’s place as a city not only of kings, but of chefs. 

Maito: Representing the Little Guys

The list of the fifty best restaurants would be a club of large Latin American countries if it were not for this restaurant from little Panama. From its storefront on Calle 50 in the evocative Panamanian neighborhood of Coco del Mar, chef Mario Castrellón holds his own with colleagues from Mexico City and the great South American capitals, flying the flag with his genius and creativity, and confirming the role of Panama City as a top-notch meeting place for culture and cuisine in the Americas. 

Anafe: Wonders to Come (as well as those that already exist)

American Express bestowed its One to Watch Award on this restaurant that is beloved by both residents and visitors to the Buenos Aires neighborhood of Colegiales. It is a significant accomplishment, considering that chefs Micaela Najmanovich and Nicolás Arcucci opened their new restaurant almost on the eve of the global pandemic-induced lockdown. The combination of Jewish-Eastern flavors and Mediterranean ones achieve an exquisite balance that offers a promise for the future, as recognized by the restaurant list’s voters.

Celele:The Value of Culinary Rituals

Tasting menus are not new to the restaurant industry, but Celele’s menus have inspired rivers of ink in newspapers and magazines both in Cartagena (Colombia), home to the restaurant run by chefs Jaime Rodríguez and Sebastián Pinzón, and throughout the continent. The restaurant’s offerings range across tastes of the Caribbean, the Andes, and the plains, all served in a unique way that introduces diners to the cultural legacy behind every dish. This and much more earned Celele the Gin Mare Art of Hospitality Award.

 

Máximo Bistrot: It Takes Courage to Reinvent Yourself

If anyone knows how to start over, it’s chef Eduardo García. After living most of his life in the United States as an undocumented immigrant, he was jailed and deported to Mexico. Despite arriving with nothing, he built a small restaurant empire, the jewel of which is Máximo Bistrot. The pandemic pushed him to transform his intimate restaurant into a more spacious, open and safe space, which turned out to be a good thing for him and for his customers. His efforts led his Latin American peers to confer upon him the Estrella Damm Chefs’ Choice Award – Best Reinvention. 

 

Corrutela: Local and Sustainable Tastes Better

Chef César Costa is aiming high. He wants to minimize his restaurant’s carbon footprint as much as possible and reduce its impact on the environment. To this end, he has taken a number of actions that range from installing solar panels to grinding his own flour, all while sourcing most, if not all, of his raw materials from nearby producers in São Paulo or, at the very least, inside Brazil. These efforts earned him the Flor de Caña Most Sustainable Restaurant Award.

These restaurants stand out on the 50-best list for many reasons. Then and now, each one offers an exceptional treat for your palate. See the complete list at https://www.theworlds50best.com/latinamerica/en/. Be sure to visit if you live near any of these restaurants, and if you don’t, they provide a great excuse to once again travel to your favorite destination.

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