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We love food and meeting people so were instantly taken by the idea of puerta cerradas where someone opens their own home as a restaurant, kind of like a public dinner party. The concept is really popular in Buenos Aires and features some of the city’s best dining. Unfortunately, most are meat-heavy affairs, but we were delighted to find some incredible vegetarian options. We visited two while in the city – Casa Felix and Jueves a la Mesa.
Jueves a la Mesa
Jueves a la Mesa was one of our favourite things about Buenos Aires. It’s exactly as we imagined and hoped a puerta cerrada would be – welcoming, friendly, tasty and interesting. It’s hosted by Meghan, a bubbly yoga teacher from the USA, who wants to show her diners that it’s perfectly possible to cook excellent vegetarian fare with the ingredients on offer in Buenos Aires. Each three-course meal has a different culinary theme and always comes with some delicious homemade chocolates.
The nights we went were themed Californian and Peruvian and included an amazing ceviche and a hearty stew. The food is tasty and inventive, but t’s the atmosphere and people that put the icing on the cake of Jueves a la Mesa. Everyone sits around Meghan’s candlelit dining room table in her 8th floor apartment overlooking the city. The cosy atmosphere is perfect for nurturing conversation and each time we left with emails of new friends. It’s also very reasonable at $100 for three courses and wine. If you’re in Buenos Aires, be sure to visit. Meghan also has a yoga school in the city called Buena Onda Yoga, which is highly recommended.
Casa Felix was a real treat that we justified as a celebratory meal for Steve’s return. In hindsight, we didn’t need any other justification than that this place deserves to be tried if ever you get the chance. The five-course meal is exquisite with wonderful attention to detail. The owners have made it their mission to re-introduce indigenous South American foods to Buenos Aires. They travel the continent collecting seeds and planting them in their own kitchen garden, which provides the ingredients for Casa Felix meals.
The night we went, we were treated to an entre of fontina cheese wrapped in chayote leaves with chanar syrup, followed by a steamed oyster mushroom empanada with huancaina, sweet lime, suicio and radish. Next came an amazing salad with camembert and spicy plum marmalade. Before the main of patagonian autumn locro with wheat berry and capers, we were bought a delicious apple granita. The incredible meal was finished off with a quince pasta frola. We also opted for the wine flight, which meant each dish came with a carefully matched wine – red, rosé, white and champagne, as well as a cocktail to start.
The setting in Diego and Sanra’s candlelit home is beautifully stylish and atmospheric. Unlike many puerta cerradas, where guests share the same table, at Casa Felix there are individual tables so you can enjoy a much more intimate meal. It’s not cheap at $200 for the meal plus $80 for the wine, but considering the quality and quantity it’s worth much more. The food is pescaterian but you can request vegetarian or vegan options. We really can’t recommend this place enough.