In terms of restaurants, no city on the South American continent, except for maybe Lima, has as much star power as São Paulo, Brazil’s sprawling inland city of 11 million inhabitants (20 million if you include the entire metropolitan area). New restaurants that opened in 2012 and others opening this year are giving reason to explore well beyond Alex Atala’s D.O.M. and Helena Rizzo’s Maní.
Cuzco has always been a bit of a wild card in terms of restaurants. While quality products are there, few restaurants have really put them to good use and instead have tried to serve tourist friendly food. That’s beginning to change.
San Antonio, Texas has quickly become a center of southwestern cuisine. Here’s where to eat and drink…
Santiago, Chile has very suddenly become Latin America’s center of craft beer. Unlike the beer in the more-German influenced south of Chile, Santiago’s micro-brew scene has a much wider set of influences that extends to the UK and the Pacific coast of the United States. While there are no beer tours in Santiago per se, several of the city’s top breweries do open their doors to visitors.
Easter Island is a microcosm of planet earth. When the resources were depleted and war broke out in the 16th century, the population collapsed. While relying on mainland Chile for decades, the Rapa Nui are increasingly learning to be self-sustainable. For the first time in the island’s history, they have begun to export products: papayas and beer.
When one thinks of Argentina three things immediately come to mind – beef, tango, and soccer! Argentina excels in all these areas and they continue to be deeply integrated into the culture and daily life. As someone that has lived in Buenos Aires since 2007, I’ve had the opportunity to experience them all, but being extremely interested in food and cooking, the customs that surround preparing and serving beef have intrigued me the most.
As most of my work as of late involves eating and restaurants in Lima, Peru, I am often asked where to go. What is the cevicheria of the moment? Who is the hottest chef of the moment? Where should I go for a taste of the Amazon? Who has the best anticuchos? Which of Gaston Acurio’s restaurants should I go to? I could literally go on for days describing where to eat in Lima. While I’m usually scouting out huariques and market stalls in obscure districts, though for the passing writer or foodie that wants to know what is in right now, here is my Lima IT list.
All eyes on Chile after the dramatic mine rescue and let’s not forget last year’s earthquake that devastated the region south of the capital, it’s an appropriate time to examine Santiago’s blossoming food scene. A new wave of talented chefs, from within Chile and from abroad, are rapidly changing the city’s culinary landscape. There is renewed in old markets and indigenous Mapuche ingredients, while wine bars and bistros are transforming once decrepit districts into cool new food hoods.
Sure Quito is home to 500-year-old church or two, though most don’t realize it’s also one of the centers of the world’s chocolate industry. Ecuador’s Arriba Nacional cacao bean is the most sought after the world over and Quito chocolate shops, cafes, and activities have become a point of reference for chocolate lovers:
Cartagena’s dining scene has improved drastically in the past year, rivaling Bogota and other much larger metro areas in South America, with several much-hyped openings outside of Daniel Castaño’s Vera. Write ups in the New York Times, Vogue, and elsewhere have proven that the city’s restaurants deserve the attention. In fact Cartagena has always bee great food destination, even before it became the darling of the jetset. It has long benefitted from Colombia’s distinct range of ingredients and the rather diverse population. It was my first ever stop in South America and it will forever remain in my culinary consciousness for that reason.