Latin American gastronomy: some favourite places
Latin America is fast becoming a tourist hotspot, and not just for intrepid explorers looking to get off the beaten track. Its cities are over flowing with arts, culture, and beautiful architecture that make the whole continent a must visit.
The cuisine of these places, while less famous than other locations, is equally awe inspiring. From Patagonian barbecues to Pisco Sours in the desert, this continent has it all. Here are some of our favourite places to eat, including highlights from Peru, Brazil, and beyond.
As told to Oliver Griffin, freelance writer
The Singular Patagonia, Puerto Bories, Chile
As a hotel, The Singular Patagonia boasts a number of restaurants, but perhaps its most interesting is the specialist El Asador — The Grill — which prides itself on producing some of the best red meat dishes in the world. The hotel itself is a converted lamb processing factory, with El Amador to be found in the old blacksmiths’ workshop. Here, lamb; rabbit; guanaco, a smaller version of a llama, and, of course, beef are all grilled to perfection. The open grill allows guests to see how their meat is being prepared, and offers a dining experience like no other. The restaurant is only open on certain days, so ring in advance to avoid disappointment.
Casa Gangotena, Quito, Ecuador
The Casa Gangotena in Ecuador’s mountainous capital includes a fabulous restaurant that is inspired by the biodiversity that features prominently in Ecuadorian cuisine. The tasting menu with wine flight takes diners on a journey across the country, focusing on the plethora of quality ingredients that Ecuador has to offer. At less than $150 per person, this incredible dining experience is also an absolute steal. However, anyone looking for a quick bite will not be disappointed as the menu in Casa Gangotena’s restaurant also features an a la carte menu, quick meals, snacks and lite bites, all of which endeavour to highlight the best in Ecuadorian cuisine.
Belmond Palace Copacabana, Rio, Brazil
The Belmond Palace in Copacabana is known for having some of the best dining in Rio, Brazil’s party and cultural capital. The Cipriani Restaurant menu includes a tasting menu with wine flight, a stunning a la carte selection, and a chef’s table where a small group of diners enjoy a more intimate experience. Guests at the hotel can use the opportunity to become intimately familiar with the Acai berry, a super food popular in all of Brazil before it became a global trend. Vendors in Rio sell this berry, often dried and ground, on street stalls. As well as having a red wine-like taste, locals swear by Acai’s anti-aging, anti-oxidant and aphrodisiac benefits.
Palacio Nazarenas, Cusco, Peru
Senzo Restaurant at Belmond’s Palacio Nazarenas in Cusco is a destination bistro, some feat for a restaurant in the culinary capital of Latin America. In recent years, Peruvian cuisine has taken the world by storm and at the Senzo Restaurant it’s easy to see why. Traditional ceviche, cazuelas (stews) and confit guinea pig are all on offer, and showcase the best in indigenous flavours, including local herbs and flowers. Cusco combines the excellent cuisine that travellers might experience in Peru’s capital, Lima, with the old-world charm of colonial architecture. With Cusco a great stepping stone onto Machu Picchu, Senzo is a great reason to extend your visit one extra night.
Alto Atacama, San Pedro de Atacama, Chile
Another trip to Chile, but this time to the driest place on earth. The Alto Atacama boasts fantastic dining options but also a unique take on the endemic Pisco Sour. Here, the Rica Rica Pisco Sour uses a herb local to the Atacama so that guests can enjoy this innovative Pisco-take. As well as star gazing options, guests can enjoy local architecture and the heat afforded by the terracotta desert. Just keep in mind that alcohol can have a stronger affect at altitude and that this desert is some 2,400 metres above sea level.