Last night in Lima the first ever awards ceremony for Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants were held, and it was a star-studded, surprising, brilliant night for Latin America, its chefs, its people, its cuisine.  Sponsored by Restaurant magazine and Pellegrino, the same governing body that selects the yearly World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards, the Lat Am awards were also sponsored by Cusqueña, Peru’s national beer.  And while it was a big night for Latin America as a whole, Peru definitely took their place in the spotlight.

Not only were the awards held in Lima which, for some, is now being regarded as the capital for South American cuisine, but Peru and its chefs also won some special awards.  Cusqueña handed out a special award for the best restaurant in Peru, and just about a month prior to the event, chef Gastón Acurio was given the Lifetime Achievement Award.  If that’s not enough, Acurio’s restaurants La Mar and Astrid y Gastón were given the #15 and #1 spots, respectively.

The night also offered up some big surprises.  Buenos Aires took away a whopping 14 awards, from #50 all the way up to #9, and even Mendoza’s Francis Mallman 1884 took the #37 spot.  Critics this morning are grumbling that the body choosing the awards was very heavily focused in Argentina.  Mexico City’s Pujol took both the #3 spot and the Chefs’ Choice award.  And, although Astrid y Gastón was officially crowned the #1 restaurant in Latin America, it was still a little shocking given that Sao Paolo’s D.O.M. had been voted #6 in the World’s 50 Best back in May, with Astrid y Gastón at #14.  Politics!

In the end, we offer up a huge round of applause to all the chefs and restaurants that won big last night.  We certainly can’t wait to keep eating our way through the list.

If you want the fancy, official version of the list, head on over to the World’s 50 Best website.  Otherwise, here’s ours:

Best Female Chef, Latin America: Helena Rizzo, Maní
Lifetime Achievement Award: Gastón Acurio
One to Watch: Remanso do Bosque, Belém, Brazil
Chefs’ Choice Award: Pujol, Mexico City

#50: Elena, BsAs
#49: Hernán Gipponi, BsAs
#48: Osaka, Santiago
#47: El Cielo, Bogotá
#46: Laja, Ensenada
#45: Casa Umare, BsAs
#44: Paraje Arévalo: BsAs
#43: Pitiona, Oaxaca
#42: La Bourgogne, Punta del Este
#41: Epice, Sao Paolo
#40: Unik, BsAs
#39: El Baqueano: BsAs
#38: Remanso do Bosque, Belem
#37: Francis Mallman 1884, Mendoza
#36: Sud 777, Mexico City
#35: Olympe, Rio de Janeiro
#34: Casa Oaxaca Hotel, Oaxaca
#33: Pura Tierra, BsAs
#32: Attimo, Sao Paolo
#31: Aramburu, BsAs
#30: Corazón de Tierra, Mexico
#29: Sucre, BsAs
#28: Chila, BsAs
#27: Oviedo, BsAs
#26: Mero Toro, Mexico City
#25: Alto, Caracas (Best Rest. Venezuela)
#24: Andres Carne de Res, Bogotá
#23: Fasano, Sao Paolo
#22: Harry Sasson, Bogotá
#21: Quintonil, Mexico City
#20: Parador La Huella, Uruguay (Best Rest. Uruguay)
#19: Criterión, Bogotá (Best Rest. Colombia)
#18: Tomo 1, BsAs
#17: La Cabrera, BsAs
#16: Mocotó, Sao Paolo
#15: La Mar, Lima
#14: Fiesta, Lima
#13: Rafael, Lima
#12: Pangea, Monterrey
#11: Maido, Lima
#10: Roberta Sudbrack, Rio de Janeiro
#9: Tegui, BsAs (Best Rest. Argentina)
#8: Boragó, Santiago (Best Rest. Chile)
#7: Malabar, Lima
#6: Biko, Mexico City
#5: Maní, Sao Paolo (Best Female Chef)
#4: Central, Lima
#3: Pujol (Best Rest. Mexico) (Chefs’ Choice)
#2: D.O.M. (Best Rest. Brazil)
#1: Astrid y Gastón (Best Rest. Peru)

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