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September 15, 2012 ·

Buenos Aires One-of-a-kind Dining Experience: Closed-door Restaurants

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The first time I heard about puertas cerradas (closed-door restaurants) in Buenos Aires was around 4 years ago. At that time, it was still a very underground scene and it worked mainly through word of mouth, passing a name and a phone number around. The mystique behind it made the idea even more enticing. Everyone, especially trendy foreigners and visitors wanted to seek out such one-of-a-kind local dining experience.

As time goes by, and as they get more and more sought-after, publications write about them, tastemakers blog about them, and these secret restaurants started to have pretty and very informative websites describing their cuisine and taking online reservations. Since puertas cerradas are hosted by independent chefs at their very own home, cooking food at their very own kitchen, seating is very limited and they are ‘open’ only a few nights a week, mostly on the weekends. During busy seasons, you’ll definitely have to book far enough ahead to get a table. Moreover, the address is always kept under wraps until reservation is made, for obvious privacy reason.

While the quantity and quality of puertas cerradas are growing continuously and that they are no longer hard to find, the spirit of puertas cerradas still hasn’t changed:

– fancy home cook dinner party atmosphere
– very personal service
– small and limited seating, that means you will get to schmooze and socialize with other patrons
– only available a few nights a week, mostly on weekends
– multiple-course set menu of the chef’s specialty, using local and fresh ingredients
– each meal is paired with preselected wine
– menu changes weekly
– secret location until reservation is made
– cash only

A night out at a closed-door restaurant used to be more of a splurge, but due to the inflation over the years, I’d actually say that now they are quite reasonably priced for what you get, because you’re in for a treat of high quality food and great service. So without further ado, here is a list of the major puertas cerradas players in Buenos Aires:

Adentro Dinner Club – Palermo
Casa Coupage – Palermo
Casa Felix – Chacarita
Casa Mun – Palermo – Asian/Californian Cuisine
Casa Salt Shaker – Barrio Norte –  The chef also authors a well-known BA restaurant review blog
La Cocina Discreta – Villa Crespo
Cocina Sunae – Colegiales – Southeast/Pan-Asian
Gárgola – Colegiales
Jueves a la Mesa – San Telmo
Max’s Supper Club – Recoleta
NOLA – Palermo – New Orleans cuisine
Paladar – Villa Crespo
Recoleta 1343 – Recoleta – Facebook: Recoleta1343 – soul food
Treintasillas – Colegiales

Jean

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