A “closed-door” restaurant, or “puerta cerrada”, topped my “must do” list when planning our trip to Argentina!
What is a closed door restaurant you may ask? Is it safe? Why a puerta cerrada? Based on my experience and research, closed door restaurants are part restaurant, part private dinner party, typically hosted in the chef’s home. Some are legal, some or not (apparently to save on taxes), but most are rumored to be delicious!
Doing research on Argentina, I came across the “closed door” idea in a number of food blogs and knew I must to try one. Next question, how do I make a reservation at a private restaurant in Argentina? Well, some are difficult to find and make reservations I am sure, but there are a number that are touristy friendly and highly rated on travel websites (TripAdvisor, food blogs, etc.). Some of these have online reservation systems. Others you can call a few days before and make a reservation.
We ended up choosing Casa Coupage in Palermo, primarily based on its ability to take online reservations. We booked our reservations about two weeks in advance online and arrived the night of at the “restaurant,” which was not in the chef’s home but rather what seemed to be an apartment-turned-large dining room. Casa Coupage was more restaurant than dinner party, but it was delicious nonetheless.
Besides the easy online booking, I appreciated the hosts’ attention to wine pairings. The dinner menu was a set 9 course tasting menu – all enjoyable! While set, the hosts did come out and ask about allergies, dislikes, etc. and were happy to tailor the meal to our palates. The dinner also had a optional add-on of a 5 or 7 course wine tasting. We went with the 7 course wine tasting. Brilliant choice! Like the menu, the hosts asked us why types of wine we liked and gladly exchanged any that we did not like at no cost.
Now on to the food!
Here’s the “closed door.” Not that exciting, although there is no sign and we did have to ring the bell.
First course: Appetizer – something foie gras based. I can’t remember exactly what it was, but I do remember loving it! And it was so pretty!
Second course: confit rabbit wrapped in Param-style ham with dehydrated cherry tomatoes. Rabbit confit is surprisingly tasty!
Third course: baby squid stuffed with ground corn and red sausage, with a red hogao tomato sauce. My least favorite course.
Fourth course: deer tartare, crispy egg yolk, hazelnut cream. Side note – deer tartare must be all the rage in the culinary world, as I just had another deer tartare on a tasting menu in Stockholm!
Fifth course: marinated sirloin beef, peppers and onion marmalade, potato fritters OR sautéed trout, pasta salad, asparagus and string beans, strawberries. We both chose the beef, and YUM!
Sixth course: Argentine cheese tasting. I love Argentine cheese! And the accoutrements that come with it!
Seventh course: pre-dessert. Who doesn’t love a pre-dessert !? This was more of a palate cleanser than a dessert.
Eighth course: tasting of suspiro limeño, lavender, orange, chocolate and aguaribay. The lavender was my favorite!
And it ended with another dessert:
This came to a total of $490 AR per person, not including the 7 course wine pairing.
STEAL OUR DINNER
Casa Coupage, Soler 5518, Palermo, Buenos Aires
T: 54 11 47779295
NOTE – Know that many closed door restaurants are only open a few days a week, most often Wednesday or Thursday through Saturday, with only one or two seatings a night. That being said, this is definitely something you will want to look into before arriving in BA if it tops your “must do” list.