PATCHES OF ARGENTINA – Dining behind closed doors

BUENOS AIRES

It’s a well-established fact that Argentineans eat more meat per capita than any other country. I am a vegetarian, so is one of the sisters I’m travelling with, the other, aspirationally so. In past visits to Buenos Aires, this has made dining out a little tricky so when I heard about Casa Felix, one of Buenos Aires fabled restaurants a puertas cerradas (closed-door restaurant), I was desperate to go. In the land of carnivores, it promised to be a gastronomic vegetarian oasis.

Restaurants a puertas cerradas are basically private dining experiences hosted in chef’s homes. In the case of Casa Felix, the home of renowned chef Diego Felix and his wife Sanra. Diego is passionately committed to Latin-American cuisine and recovering foodstuffs and recipes that time and fashions forgot. Bookings are essential though as they can only accommodate 15 people each night that they are open, which is Thursday to Saturday…

This was Sunday and we were leaving on Wednesday. Oh, the injustice!

As evening approached and our daily intake of alforjores began to wear off, we sought a dinner suggestion from Andreas, the concierge at our hotel. He suggested we experience a closed-door restaurant. I told him that I’d really wanted to try Casa Felix but… before I could finish the sad sentence, his eyes lit up with the insider knowledge that they actually were open that night for a special function. He made a call, luck was on our side – exactly 3 people had cancelled. His next call was for a taxi as we rushed to our room, dumped our stuff, and upgraded our outfits before rushing out to our awaiting carriage.

We were delivered to the non-descript address in the Chacarita neighbourhood, tentatively rang the unmarked doorbell and were greatly relieved and delighted to be welcomed in by Diego himself. He showed us through to his organic edible garden for an aperitif and meeting of our fellow diners. We were then shown through to the dining room where 5 sumptuous courses were lavished upon us. We opted for the matching wine courses and were not disappointed, or terribly sober by the time we left with barriga llena carazon contento!

casa felix

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