Luxury People Restaurants

i Latina Restaurant Buenos Aires + Lavender’s Blue

Aga Something to Say | Been Latin | Columbian Marching Orders | Cuban Resolution | Caribbean Crews | Chefs Specials | You Can Get the Staff These Days

“Take lots of photos! We love a photo shoot!”

Tasting menus and addresses only released upon booking are the whole rage in Buenos Aires. In the UK, wine lists start with white and end with red. The opposite is true in Argentina. A locked gate keeps the hoi polloi at bay at i Latina, a “Cocina Latino Americana” restaurant. i Latina is open for dinner from Wednesday to Saturday and brunch on Sunday. The tasting menu costs 1,600 Argentine pesos; wine pairing, 900; a margarita 180; and sparking water is 120. That’s 2,800 pesos without tip, or just over £120. Not cheap, but for one of South America’s top restaurants, not budget busting either. “A glass of Laborum 2016. Let’s do it on the house!”

“This building is 200 years old.”

It turns out we’ve saved the best till last. i Latina will prove to be Buenos Aires‘ finest restaurant. And it’s not like the competition ain’t hot. i Latina is in Villa Crespo, a neighbourhood fast becoming a dining destination. It opened in 2012 and kick started those two Buenos Aires’ signature trends: small plates and closed door policy. Once the white pillared gate is unlocked, the evening begins. Walk along a chessboard path, walk past white painted cast iron furniture, walk under a candlelit birdcage, walk through the open glazed door.

“The owners have adopted a stray cat they found nearby.”

A psychedelic parrot painted on the bathroom wall looks like it escaped from the birdcage. Colour doesn’t end there. We’ll eat off blue spoons and mustard plates; watercress leaves (yes, green), carrots (yes, orange), horse radishes (definitely red) with purple and yellow petals decorating the courses to come. “This is typical of Mexico – spicy and sweet.” It’s a family affair. Laura Macías designed the interior; her brother Santiago is Head Chef; and third sibling Camilo manages front of house.

“Coconut is used so much in Columbian and Ecuadorian food.”

“The creamy coffee is hand picked grain by grain.”

Somewhere and somehow between pudding and coffee we end up in the kitchen. The chefs line up, striking poses, full of the joys; a grand finale, we’re half expecting some high kicks. “Where’s the pastry chef?” they frantically chorus and a pretty girl appears from nowhere with knowhow to join in the fun. If this is hospitality Patagonia style, a super supper club (Puerto Cerrado), we’re converts.

“Go to Columbia!”