The list of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2020, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna, was announced at a virtual awards ceremony on Thursday, 3rd December, when restaurants across the region gathered with their teams, families and friends to watch proceedings and discover the results live. Take a tour of the celebrations across the region with our highlights round-up
Restaurant Fauna in Valle del Guadalupe, Mexico, was the first restaurant to be celebrated during the virtual awards, having received special recognition as a rising star in Latin America. To celebrate the achievement, chefs David Castro and Maribel Aldaco invited a traditional Mexican band to provide the soundtrack to the party.
With 11 restaurants on the list, Peru was the country with the greatest number of entries, but its establishments also took home some special prizes. Lima’s Mérito received the Highest New Entry Award, sponsored by Aspire Lifestyles, after debuting at No.37 on the list, while its neighbor Mayta was the recipient of the Highest Climber Award, sponsored by illycaffè, after rising 25 positions from No.49 in 2019 to No.24 in 2020.
The cooks behind the four Colombian restaurants voted into Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2020 organized a special celebration at Harry Sasson in Bogotá. Alvaro Clavijo of El Chato, Leonor Espinosa and Laura Hernández-Espinosa of Leo, Jaime Rodríguez and Sebastian Pinzón of Celele and host Harry Sasson spent the evening together in celebration.
Brazil claimed nine spots in the Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2020 list
In Brazil, celebrations took place at restaurants in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Curitiba, with a new venue – sustainability-focused Corrutela in São Paulo – voted into the ranking for the first time.
In Mexico City, longstanding legends Nicos and Quintonil – No.31 and No.11 – each celebrated in their own kitchens with the team while getting ready for service. Elsewhere in the coastal city of Cancún, the Le Chique team gathered on Zoom to watch the virtual announcement, which saw them secure the No.30 spot; while chef Paco Ruano and the Alcalde team brought the party to Guadalajara.
With a record four restaurants voted in the ranking, Chile equalled Colombia in its contribution to the list. Renowned restaurant Boragó in Santiago claimed the No.6 position, while its contemporaries in the capital De Patio, Restaurante 040 and Ambrosía took the No.32, No.41 and No.46 positions respectively.
Argentina’s most celebrated chefs gathered at El Preferido de Palermo in Buenos Aires – which was announced as a new entry on the list at No.47 – to watch the awards ceremony together. And they had plenty to celebrate: Argentina didn’t only count 10 establishments on the list, but Don Julio – an Argentinian steakhouse that was voted No.4 last year – took the No.1 spot for the first time and was named The Best Restaurant in Latin America 2020, sponsored by S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna.
The American Express Icon Award went to Brazilian cook and campaigner Janaina Rueda
Rueda, who is chef-owner of A Casa do Porco and O Bar da Dona Onça in São Paulo, Brazil, was celebrated for her commitment to the community, from campaigning for healthy school meals and inclusive gastronomy, to mobilizing industry leaders around Covid-19 relief efforts and helping vulnerable communities during the pandemic.
Narda Lepes was announced as Latin America’s Best Female Chef 2020
The good food advocate and unstoppable Argentinian cook Narda Lepes of Narda Comedor in Buenos Aires was celebrated as the winner of the award which seeks to support and promote inclusivity in the culinary sphere.
Sofia Cortina was announced as Latin America’s Best Pastry Chef 2020
A young starlet in Mexican gastronomy took home the Latin America’s Best Pastry Chef Award
Sofia Cortina, at only 27 years old, was crowned with the top prize for a pastry chef in the region. Having worked with renowned chefs, including Edgar Núñez of Sud 777, and successfully launching her online pastry shop La Vitrine earlier this year, Cortina accepted the award and thanked her team in a video address streamed as part of the ceremony.
Pujol was recognized with the Flor de Caña Sustainable Restaurant Award 2020
Thanks to their ever-growing commitment to sustainability and traceability, chef Enrique Olvera and his team at Pujol in Mexico City were awarded the prize for achieving the highest overall sustainability rating, as audited by sustainability experts Food Made Good Global. Olvera appeared in a video message stating that “we didn’t want to be just one of the best restaurants in the world, but also one of the best restaurants for the world”.
The Gin Mare Art of Hospitality Award 2020 went to Central
The Lima mainstay was recognized for its excellence in restaurant service and dining experience. A showcase of Peru’s biodiversity, its service style is laid-back and welcoming, with the team trained to impart the stories behind the menu and ingredients with passion and personality.
‘Best in Country’ Awards showcased gastronomic excellence across the region – including the first restaurant from Ecuador
Recognizing the highest-ranked restaurants in each country included in Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants, the ‘Best in Country’ Awards provided reason to celebrate from Mexico to Chile. Winners included Nuema in Quito, the first-ever Ecuadorian restaurant voted in the ranking and winner of the award for The Best Restaurant in Ecuador; Maito in Panama City, becoming The Best Restaurant in Panama at No.42; Parador La Huella in José Ignacio, The Best Restaurant in Uruguay at No.28; The Best Restaurant in Colombia, El Chato in Bogotá at No.7; followed closely by Boragó at No.6, The Best Restaurant in Chile; Pujol at No.5, The Best Restaurant in Mexico; A Casa do Porco as The Best Restaurant in Brazil at No.4; and Maido as The Best Restaurant in Peru at No.2.
Source & Photos: 50 Best Restaurants.