Demand in destinations: high-level gastronomy gains prominence
Having multi-award-winning restaurants is essential today to reach and exceed the pre-pandemic visitor figures
It is nothing new that destinations have been working together with the private sector to promote and develop world-class gastronomy. Having multi-award-winning restaurants is one of the most important attractions when it comes to generating demand in an increasingly exquisite niche.
The stars of the culinary world gathered in Mérida, Yucatán, to participate in the first full meeting of the Latin American gastronomic community since 2019, on the occasion of the presentation of the list of Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants 2022, sponsored by S. Pellegrino & Acqua Panna. The ceremony highlighted the diversity and richness of the region's culinary scene, by recognizing the excellence of the establishments in 21 different destinations on the list, prior to naming the Central restaurant, in Lima, as The Best Restaurant in Latin America 2022 and The Best Restaurant in Peru.
To see the full list of restaurants ranked 1-50, check out the attached chart or scroll to the bottom of this post.
The Central restaurant, flagship of chefs Virgilio Martínez and Pía León, is an ode to the landscapes, history and unique traditions of Peru, and leads the annual vote for the first time since 2016. The award comes one year after it Central was named The Greatest Restaurant in Latin America 2013-2021 as part of the extraordinary retrospective list of Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants 2021: Past and Future. At the top of the ranking, Central is accompanied by restaurants Don Julio (No.2), in Buenos Aires, such as The Best Restaurant in Argentina, and Maido (No.3), in Lima.
William Drew, Director of Content for Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants, states: “We are delighted to return to the region with the first regular list of Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants since 2020 and our first full celebration of the region's food community since 2019. The last three years have driven significant change in the industry that is reflected in the new restaurants and destinations featured on the 2022 list. We are honored to once again celebrate the region's resilience and gastronomic richness." .
Stefano Bolognese, director of the international business unit of Sanpellegrino, states: "For the tenth consecutive year, S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna are sponsors of the most prestigious culinary awards program in Latin America, and it is an honor for us to be part of the celebration tonight. Yucatán is home to one of the best gastronomic scenes and we are proud to play an active role in supporting the promotion of local restaurants and the demonstration of culinary talent. Plus, we inspire diners and foodies to seek out the most exciting experiences.”
Buenos Aires and Lima continue their reign as culinary meccas with eight restaurants on the list each. In addition to Don Julio, at No.2, other notable additions from the Argentine capital are Julia (No.50), who appears for the first time, and Elena (No.40), who re-enters the list. São Paulo follows close behind with seven entries, including A Casa do Porco (No.4), named The Best Restaurant in Brazil, and new entries Metzi (No.27), Charco (No.35) and Nelita (No. .39). Mexico City has five entries and Pujol (No.7) is once again named The Best Restaurant in Mexico.
The diversity of the region takes center stage in this edition with the entry for the first time of 10 new restaurants in the ranking. In addition to the new entry in Buenos Aires and the three in São Paulo, the restaurants making their debut are Fauna (No.16), in Valle de Guadalupe; Villa Torél (No.18), in Ensenada; Arca (No.29), in Tulum; Sublime (No.31) and Diacá (No.47), both in Guatemala City; and Mesa Franca (No.49), in Bogotá.
During the Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants 2022 ceremony, seven special awards were announced. The Gin Mare Art of Hospitality Award was given to Oteque, in Rio de Janeiro, an intimate restaurant in which six large round wooden tables overlook an open kitchen and a fish tank. Diners can admire the work of the chefs while observing the seafood just before it is served on the plate.
Ecuadorian Pía Salazar, from the Nuema restaurant in Quito, is named Latin America's Best Pastry Chef, an award sponsored by República del Cacao. In Nuema, Salazar makes a variety of elaborate desserts that express Ecuador's biodiversity, including the traditional nougat, made up of wafers, rice pudding, and nougat, served with crunchy salted and dehydrated peas, honey ice cream, and apples.
The title Beronia Latin America's Best Sommelier, introduced in 2022, is awarded to Pablo Rivero, sommelier and owner of the restaurant Don Julio, in Buenos Aires, which was the winner as The Best Restaurant in Latin America 2020. Rivero's winery has more of 14,000 Argentine labels, also displayed in empty bottles along the interior walls of the 19th-century building that houses Don Julio, turning this rustic space into a welcoming wine sanctuary.
Fauna, in Valle de Guadalupe, is recognized with the Highest New Entry Award for debuting at No.16 after winning the One To Watch Award in 2020. Maito, in Panama City, wins the Highest Climber Award, climbing 36 positions with respect to the previous vote of 2020, until reaching No.6.
Jonatan Gómez Luna, from Le Chique in Cancun, receives the Estrella Damm Chefs' Choice Award, with the votes of his fellow chefs, for his inspiring work in the hospitality sector. Gómez Luna's tasting menu explores the different flavors of Mexico using cutting-edge and molecular techniques to deconstruct and transform traditional dishes into new creations.
Diacá, in Guatemala City, receives the Flor de Caña Sustainable Restaurant Award for its work in creating networks between producers and restaurant kitchens, which places respect for people and indigenous Guatemalan ingredients at the center of all your activity. This award is independently audited by the Sustainable Restaurant Association, which rates establishments that apply for the award based on a wide range of criteria, including environmental and social responsibility.
Throughout the evening, tributes were also paid to the previously announced special prize winners. Among them are Manoella Buffara, known as Manu, named Latin America's Best Female Chef; the defender of social gastronomy Rafael Rincón, winner of the Icon Award with Volvo; and the Ancestral restaurant in La Paz, Bolivia, winner of the American Express One To Watch Award.
Ahead of the awards ceremony, Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants announced the inaugural list of restaurants ranked 51-100, a key element of The World's 50 Best Restaurants that was first extended to the Americas region. Latin this year. The list of restaurants ranked between 51 and 100, presented in collaboration with American Express, aims to highlight the diverse culinary cultures of the region, while 50 Best maintains its mission to promote a greater number of hospitality establishments. To see the full list of restaurants, click here.
The voting process
The 50 Best organization's role in promoting restaurants and showcasing culinary talent remains more important than ever, and it continues to support the hospitality industry by inspiring diners to seek exciting dining experiences. 50 Best works with professional services consultancy Deloitte as its official independent award partner to help protect the integrity and authenticity of the voting process and the resulting list of Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants 2022.
The Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants academy is made up of more than 300 regional voting members, whose selection is based on their expert opinion of the restaurant landscape in Latin America. The votes of this academy make up the list of Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants, an annual barometer of good eating. The academy is divided into five regions: Mexico, Central America, South America (North), South America (South), and Brazil. Each region has selected voters among journalists, food critics, chefs, gourmets and long-distance gourmets. In 2022, each member submitted 10 votes for what they considered their best dining experiences from the previous 18 months. At least three of those votes had to go to restaurants outside their country (academy members unable to travel abroad could only vote for seven restaurants in their own country).