But enough about the questionable “Academy” of experts.
One of the first restaurants I visited when I began garnering content for the website was El Baqueano, in the San Telmo neighborhood of Buenos Aires. It is currently #13 on the Latin America list and was at #20 at the time of my adventure in dining at El Baqueano in mid-2015. The location of the restaurant is the first clue that El Baqueano is not among the 50 best restaurants in Latin America. San Telmo is one of the Argentine capital’s funky, Bohemian neighborhoods, populated with lots of hostels and lots of drunk teenagers walking around on the streets late at night. The more affluent neighborhoods that are home to most of the fine dining establishments and the trendy upscale casual venues are located in Puerto Madero, Recoleta, Belgrano and Palermo, such as Gaston Acurio’s La Mar in Palermo, celebrity chef Fernando Trucco’s Sucre in Belgrano, and the much acclaimed (including here on ComaBeba) Chila and Osaka restaurants in Puerto Madero.
A picture’s worth a thousand words, right? Here’s a recent photo of the façade of El Baqueano. This is what you see when you’re looking for the front door. I note that if you want to gain entry to the restaurant you have to knock on the front door and wait a few minutes for someone in their grossly understaffed restaurant to open the door. This isn’t because it’s a trendy, secretive, place that requires a password for entry. It’s to avoid the riff-raff from the street strolling in to annoy the guests. I wish I could say the food and service were able to offset the sub-par décor. Unfortunately, of a seven-course meal, one course was inedible, and it would have been a gift if two other courses had been inedible. Unfortunately, I ate them. Or at least a few bites. Service? In a restaurant serving a seven-course tasting menu my waiter was wearing bright blue Nike jogging shoes and jeans. I kid you not.