I've had the extremely good fortune to sit down to eat at many extraordinary eateries across Latin America on my travels over the past decade or so.
Most of these fall into one of two main categories: small typical comedores of the unpretentious sort, and larger dining halls of considerable local repute cooking up notably superior versions of famed regional dishes.
Those listed here belong to a third: mid-priced restaurants where either the quality or the creativity — in combination with the atmosphere — have made the meals served one of the standout memories of any visit to the (mostly) urban spaces they grace.
Quintonil, Polanco, Mexico City, Mexico
Casa Oaxaca, Oaxaca, Mexico
Catedral, Oaxaca, Mexico
El Mural de los Poblanos, Puebla, Mexico
Bangcook, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico
La Palapa de Tio Fito, Campeche, Mexico
Mezzanine, Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Pata Negra, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Waoo, Vedado, La Habana, Cuba
La Cocina de Pepina, Getsemaní, Cartagena, Colombia
Donostia, Bogotá, Colombia
El Cielo, Leticia, Cololmbia
Al Frio y Al Fuego, Iquitos, Perú
Restaurante César (Formerly Mi Causa), Miraflores, Lima, Perú
Cevicheria El Cebillano, Arequipa, Perú
Mestizo, Vitacura, Santiago de Chile
Aqui Está Coco, Providencia, Santiago de Chile
Bar Liguria, Providencia, Santiago de Chile
Café La Poesía, San Telmo, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Asador La Estancia, Buenos Aires, Argentina
The list is undeniably personal, clearly non-definitive, and arguably a bit idiosyncratic, and it might have been longer, but sadly a handful of establishments that would almost certainly have featured have since closed their doors (e.g. Nina Yaku in Arequipa, La Carmela in Mendoza, Cha Cha Cha in Cahuita) and others, such as our very own Welten here in La Antigua, are sadly not quite what they used to be.