101 Best Restaurants in Latin America and the Caribbean for 2017
This time of year, many of us are making last-minute trip arrangements for spring vacations, or looking further ahead to summer travel plans. For those seeking warm-weather destinations in the Caribbean, or planning a trip to Mexico before they have to scale a wall, or even considering a cooler-weather jaunt to South America (remember that the Southern Hemisphere’s winter runs from June to August), we’ve put together a list of the 101 best restaurants in the region, for the fourth year in a row.
You’ll find good places to eat in 30 countries and island outposts, from Mexico and the Bahamas down through Chile and Argentina. We cover everything from elegant restaurants serving haute cuisine to casual beachside joints serving not much more than the freshest seafood.
Drawing on our previous years’ rankings, on published reviews and other lists, and on nominations from contributors to The Daily Meal and our own well-traveled staff, we came up with a short list of about 200 restaurants. From this list, we created a survey broken down by country and category and sent out to a panel of judges — food and restaurant critics, chefs (without interests in the region), and an array of bloggers — from around the world.
When the results were computed, we discovered that about half of the establishments that made the list were either completely new or had appeared on previous lists but not on our roster of the 101 Best for 2016. Of course, that meant that we had to bump a lot of last year’s winners were bumped off the list. A fefw had closed, but others simply got fewer votes this year than some other places. This shouldn’t be interpreted as a knock on those establishments; there are a lot of high-quality, delicious, and enjoyable eateries in Latin America and the Caribbean, and we had only so many spots to award.
Our most highly ranked newcomer is the astonishing Mishiguene in Buenos Aires (no. 7). Other newcomers include Finca Altozano in Mexico’s Valle de Guadalupe wine country (no. 26) and the pan-Asian Galangal on St. Croix (no. 44). Chefs based in the U.S. who have Caribbean enterprises found places on the list (José Andrés Mi Casa in San Juan, no. 10, for instance, along with two entries overseen by Jean-Georges Vongerichten). Old favorites like Gastón Acurio’s La Mar in Lima (no. 20), Casa Oaxaca in the Mexican city of the same name (no. 57), and the jerk specialist Scotchies in Montego Bay (no. 92) are present and accounted for, as are numerous hitherto obscure establishments that we’re betting will become favorites.
Additonal reporting by Colman Andrews.