It appears we’re in the middle of a Latin American food renaissance. Twelve Latin American restaurants are among the fifty best restaurants in the world according to a recent ranking – and three Latin establishments are in the top ten.
Additionally, it’s the first time that a South American restaurant has been named the top restaurant in the world. Central, a Peruvian establishment, received that honor from The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, an independent organization.
Peruvian cuisine has been increasing in popularity due to its respect for local ingredients. According to Fortune, Perú has quickly become a foodie paradise, with four additional restaurants that are among the World’s 50 best.
Three Spanish restaurants are among the five best in the world as well, and each of them is quite unique. Ferran Adriá´s restaurant, El Bulli, has earned acclaim as the best restaurant a handful of times, and his research projects with food and new techniques include molecular gastronomy. Spanish cuisine is widely praised for its innovation.
The aforementioned rankings illustrate that Ibero-America is emerging is a leading region in the food industry, praised for the cultural diversity, creativity, and sustainability that it highlights in most dishes.
Here’s a look at the best Ibero-American restaurants in the world, according to The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list:
No. 4: Asador Etxebarri
Asador Etxebarri is a Spanish restaurant in a Basque village between Bilbao and San Sebastian. For Chef Bittor Arginzoniz considers it imperative to have top-quality products, considering fresh ingredients are the secret of their fourteen-course menu. The Spanish establishment even makes its own products such as chorizo, beer, mozzarella, and has its own vegetable garden. The restaurant boasts six grills, with fresh wood utilized to grill everything from Palamós prawns, beef chop, and grouse.
No. 3: Diverxo
Chef Dabiz Muñoz is the head behind this avant-garde Spanish kitchen. Diverxo dishes mix Spanish ingredients with performance, theater, and art. For Muñoz, each ingredient has a purpose that tells a story through different seasonings, textures and temperatures.
In Diverxo’s tasting menu – influenced by Asian cuisine – customers can taste XO tapas, roasted baby octopus with jamón essence, and mochi bonbons with Thai style dulce de leche and lime, for example. Additionally, Diverxo seeks to reduce the use of salt, seasoning its dishes with approximately 20 chili peppers and 15 different citrus fruits.
No. 2: Disfrutar
Since 2018, when Disfrutar first made the list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants, it has continued to gain acclaim and recognition, reaching a ranking of second-best establishment in the world according to Tasting Table.
The Barcelonian restaurant aims to create food that surprises and delights in equal measure throughout its avant-garde molecular gastronomy. Chefs and founders Mateu Casañas, Oriol Castro, and Eduard Xatruch highlight unique flavors like frozen gazpacho ice cream sandwiches, pesto with pistachios, and eel and truffle foam macaroni shaped from gelatin.
No. 1 Central
Central integrates flavors from the Andes Mountains, Amazonia, Pacific Ocean and the coastal ecosystem in its tasting menu. Head chef Pía León seeks to understand and preserve Peru ‘s ancient culture and heritage through the restaurant’s food.
Each dish at Central explores the flavors of 100% organic Peruvian ingredients, such as river snails, coca leaf, native tubers, raw cacao, and native mushrooms. Central’s core philosophy is sustainability, and the restaurant engages with local producers to explore unique ingredients, according to Pursuitist.
For León, haute cuisine is ultimately a tool for knowledge sharing and self-awareness.