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Gourmet with Latin flavor? Meet some of the chefs in Latin America that are breaking the rules

3 restaurants that are taking the avant-garde route in Latin American cuisine

There are three restaurants in Latin America that are usually among the best in the region: Central in Lima, D.O.M. in Sao Paulo, and Pujol in Mexico City. Despite being in very different places and being led by chefs with completely opposite life experiences, these establishments have a key point in common: they seek to revalue the techniques, flavors and native ingredients of their localities in an innovative and very attractive way.

Peru has become the culinary destination par excellence, leading the world rankings of the last decade. If Gastón Acurio was the one who started the Peruvian gastronomy boom, the spouses Virgilio Martínez and Pía León are two of those who have been responsible for continuing it. They seek to take their guests on a trip through the variety of flavors, textures and supplies found in Peru. With a team that aims to unite the highest level of gastronomy with the Peruvian biodiversity, their work includes a research center, restaurants and bars. And this is reflected in the tasting menu of Central, its main restaurant, a literal expedition for the senses. Considered the second best restaurant in Latin America, each dish of this menu explores an ecosystem and a Peruvian terrain height.

Latin Gourmet©@centralrest
Shells from southern Peru, on the menu at Central, the celebrated Lima restaurant led by Chefs Virgilio Martínez and Pía León.

"I always try to convey the importance of natural ingredients in my dishes, where they come from and where they are produced," commented Alex Atala, chef of D.O.M. in Sao Paulo to the organization World's 50 Best Restaurants, ranking where it occupies the 30th place. Similar to the work of Central, the former DJ seeks to bring ingredients, flavors and textures that are often overlooked in haute cuisine, such as the jambú and its characteristic tingling that leaves on the tongue, and the famous ants served with pineapples.

Latin Gourmet©@alexatala @dangelofotos
Ants and “cachaza”, creation of Chef Alex Atala in his restaurant D.O.M., in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

For its part, Pujol has been responsible for putting Mexican indigenous food at the top of the gastronomic world. Not in vain in the last ranking of Latin America 50 Best Restaurants it got the 3rd spot. Led by Enrique Olvera, the chef of the also famous Cosme, in New York, Pujol shows that what we know as street food can also be considered gourmet.

Latin Gourmet©@pujolrestaurant
Kampachi ceviche accompanied with a “tostada de maíz” and Creole avocado, part of the menu of Pujol, in Mexico City, by Chef Enrique Olvera.

The work of these three restaurants has not only caught the attention of the rankings and connoisseurs of the culinary world. The renowned Netflix series Chef's Table has an episode dedicated to each of these chefs. This way, no matter where you are, you can learn more about their work and inspiration of these geniuses of Latin cuisine. Of course, we assure you that it will also compele you to plan a gastronomic tour to these amazing cities.

Want to try one of these restaurants? Here’s where you can find them:

Chefs Virgilio Martínez and Pía León:

Central, Av. Pedro de Osma 301, Barranco, Lima, Perú.

Kjolle, Av. Pedro de Osma 301, Barranco, Lima, Perú.

MIL Moray, Maras, Cusco.

Alex Atala:

D.O.M., Rua Barão de Capanema, 549, Jardins São Paulo, Brasil.

Dalva e Dito, Rua Padre João Manuel, 1.115, Jardins São Paulo, Brasil.

Enrique Olvera:

Pujol, Tennyson 133, Polanco V Sección, C.P. 11560, CDMX, México.

Cosme, 35 E 21 St, New York, NY 10010

Manta The Cape, A Thompson Hotel, Cabo San Lucas, México.

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