Hidden gems

JESSICA McGOVERN has foodie secrets of Buenos Aires

JESSICA McGOVERNhas foodie secrets of Buenos Aires

ARGENTINA has long been known for its mouthwatering steaks and the fantastic cheap steakhouses that serve them. But in Buenos Aires a new food movement is challenging the humble hunk of beef.

Puertas cerradas– closed-door restaurants – are secret dining venues tucked away in private clubs and cooks' homes. Intimate and exclusive, these underground gourmet hot spots were inspired by movements in London and New York.

Reservations are essential, they open only one or two nights a week, and you’re given the exact address only when you book. Meals are usually four or five courses, including a welcome cocktail, and most cost between about 70 and 150 pesos (€13 and €28).


You’ll often sit at a communal dining table, and the chef, if not eating with you, will come out from the kitchen at the beginning of each course to chat about the food.

The flavours are as varied as the locations. At Casa Felix (above; diegofelix. com), a maximum of 12 guests dine by candlelight in a private courtyard. At Casa Saltshaker (casasaltshaker. com), the lucky 10 who get places enjoy nights on the theme of, for example, Nicaragua, the Caribbean or Macedonia. For a little more fire, reserve a table at Cocina Sunae (cocinasunae. blogspot.com), where the Korean-American chef plates up mouthwatering curries, or take your shoes off and grab a pouffe at the big table at A Little Saigon (alittlesaigon.com), where your Vietnamese meal might end with banana fritters and jasmine tea.

One tip: bring cash or pay online by card in advance, as most closed-door restaurants don’t accept cards on the night.

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