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underground foodie hotspots

Argentina has long been known, and justifiably so, for its mouth-watering steaks and the fantastic steak houses that serve them. From the all-you-can-eat Parilla Libres (we dare you to find a part of the cow not on the BBQ) to top-of-the-range restaurants dedicated to the ultimate meat eaters experience, carnivores really can’t go wrong in this country.

But in Buenos Aires, there's a new food movement challenging the humble hunk of beef–one nicely off the tourist track, where you feel like you've scratched the surface of this chaotic, flavorful city.

It’s almost a shame to put it in print, but Puertas Cerradas, or "closed-door restaurants," are hidden eating establishments tucked away in private clubs, homes of international chefs and apartment spaces of talented amateur cooks. Intimate and exclusive, these secret dinner venues were inspired by similar movements in London and New York, and have now become the buzzword for the city's underground gourmet hotspots.

Although slowly becoming more well-known, the restaurants do still remain hidden behind, well, closed doors in Buenos Aires. Reservations are essential (you can find the contact details below and with an online search) and there are no signs to be seen on the street; the exact address is only given out when the booking is made.

Meals are usually four or five courses, including a welcome cocktail, and most cost $20-40. Closed-door restaurants are open just one or two nights a week, and guests are given the preset menu by phone or E-mail before arriving at the unassuming location (unless you prefer to be surprised!), where a small number of strangers are often seated at one communal dining table, and the chef, if not eating with you, emerges from the kitchen at the beginning of each course to chat about the dishes.

The food is as varied as the locations themselves. In Casa Felix, a maximum of 12 guests dine on organic Argentinian fish dishes by candlelight in a private open-air courtyard. In Casa Saltshaker, 10 lucky diners enjoy themed nights such as Nicaraguan, Caribbean and Macedonian. For something a little more fiery, reserve a table at Cocina Sunae, where the Korean-American chef serves up mouth- and eye-watering curries. Or sip a fragrant mojito with your meal at the Cuban Paladar Doña Fela. Cocina Discreta takes the alternative idea even further–an intimate and classy closed-door restaurant-cum art gallery which aims Caracoles para Da Vinci offers dishes typical of a large house in Buenos Aires in the '50s.

One tip: bring cash or pay by credit card online in advance–most closed-door restaurants don't accept cards.

Closed-door contacts

Casa Felix: Phone: 15-4555-1882


Casa Saltshaker:

Cocina Sunae: Phone: 15-4870-5506

Paladar Doña Fela: Phone: 15-5525-7111

Cocina Discreta: Phone: 11-4772-3803

Caracoles para Da Vinci: Phone: 15-5526-6918

Did you like this article? Then you'll like these: La Trochita Railway, Tandoor: Cocina De La India , Caro Pepe, La Dorita Enfrente, Lavender Farm, A Taste of a Soccer Game, Welsh Tea in Patagonia, Amauta, La Meilleure Ă©cole D'espagnol Ă  Buenos Aires!, Quebrada de Humahuaca and San Carlos de Bariloche.

By Jessica McGovern
12 Sep 2014

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