Latin America has long been loved by travelers for its scrumptious, budget-friendly street food – from tacos and tlacoyos in Mexico to anticuchos in Peru. But in recent years, full-on foodies who will spare no expense for a good meal have discovered that Latin America's cities are hotbeds for haute cuisine, too.
And the arbiters of good taste, such as San Pellegrino, are recognizing Latin America's ascendancy as well. Nine of the restaurants on San Pellegrino's 2011 list of World's 50 Best Restaurants are in Latin America.
Though Latin American chefs draw heavily from Catalan chef Ferran Adria's philosophy of "molecular gastronomy," a form of cooking that is delighted in and denigrated equally because of its extreme experimentation, their work in the kitchen and the presentations that appear before you in the dining room are hardly derivative. Typically taking traditional ingredients and working with them using novel methods, and emphasizing style and experience as much as flavor, these chefs are honoring their roots while fully embracing the possibilities of contemporary cuisine.
The food-loving traveler now has a much wider range of options when choosing where to eat when in Latin America, and the restaurants included in this slideshow are certainly among the best. Selected for concept and execution or setting and presentation, these restaurants exist to inspire and engage the diner fully in the process of enjoying their meal.
To see some of Latin America's most creative cuisine, click here.
Julie Schwietert Collazo is a freelance writer based in New York City.
Julie Schwietert Collazo is a freelance writer living in Havana.