[UPDATED August 2, 2019] There are many restaurants worth lauding in Buenos Aires, but behind closed doors exists an entirely different dining experience throughout the city. While you are here everyone will undoubtedly recommend their favorite parrilla, or “the best steakhouse”, but one of the less well-known gastro scene is the closed-door restaurants, or las puertas cerradas.
Interspersed throughout the city are chefs who are willing to invite you and nine or so other strangers into their homes to make you a unique and intimate meal. Often times you will be joined by a very eclectic assortment of international people and a few locals. This makes for interesting conversations and is further compounded by the lack of conventional proprietary that is generally required in fine dining restaurants.
Depending on where you go you will receive either a creative adaptation of classic Argentine food, or a fusion of Argentine influences with some other culinary genre. Furthermore, the meals can be very diverse and I have heard of some having ten courses. Generally, the chef will pair certain dishes with favorite wines or sparkling wines, and your glass will not run dry.
These meals offer a new and liberating dining experience. Imagine having an intimate dinner party except with strangers in another stranger’s home. It creates a unique atmosphere where everyone is slightly less comfortable than they would be at a normal restaurant or dinner party where they actually knew the other guests and the host. This is by no means a bad thing. It makes for very interesting conversation because you are sitting at a table with people you just met in an unfamiliar venue. The only thing that everyone has in common is their desire to have an unforgettable dining experience and eat some amazing food with delicious wine.
Closed door restaurants are where chefs can truly experiment with ideas; thus, their meals are renowned for being bold and adventurous. Patrons do go there to be wow-ed and surprised. They are a nice divergence from the traditional grilled red meat and straightforward flavors of Argentine food. Spices, foreign influences, and creative approaches make all of the closed-door meals special. I strongly recommend that you try one, or all of the recommendations highlighted below.
Best Closed Door Restaurants in Buenos Aires:
1) Casa Saltshaker: One of the most well-known closed-doors. It is run by a chef and sommelier named Dan Perlman. He pairs every course with a new wine and changes his selections on a daily basis.
2) Treintasillas: Hidden behind a black door in Villa Crespo this restaurant offers 30 guest a rotating menu created by chef Ezequiel Gallardo. Fine dining with wine pairing and great hospitality ensure you will have a wonderful night.
3) Casa Coupage: If you want to learn about wine, and how to pair it with meals, this is the place for you. They have two sommeliers that join you for the meal and recommend wines to pair with modern Argentine food.
4) Casa Felix: Good if you want to experience Latin American influences with spices and local ingredients – many of which are grown in the backyard.
5) Paladar: Romantic ambiance, delicious adaptations of Argentine food, and great wine.
6) Pasionaria: A very unique experience in Palermo. Dinner is taking place in an antique store. The food is modern and the prices are reasonable. Jazz musicians are creating a pleasant ambiance.
7) iLatina: This place falls somewhere in between closed door setting and restaurant. It has received amazing reviews and is a seven course meal that embodies the wide and unique cuisine of Latin-America.
Note: Make sure to make a reservation in advance and see what time you need to be there. Also check their payment methods, most likely is cash payment only.