In recent years the restaurant Tegui was the best-kept secret of Buenos Aires, a true culinary temple for the most demanding palates in the city. But now the secret is out. In 2017, the restaurant was included in the prestigious international list “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.”
Tegui was opened in 2009 by the renowned chef Germán Martitegui, and is now considered—by critics and chefs alike—as the best restaurant in the city.
At the tender age of 19 years Martitegui began his gastronomic career as a disciple of the prestigious Beatriz Chomnalez, who immediately identified the talent of the young chef and advised him to travel to Bariloche to refine his style and acquire experience abroad in the kitchens of five-star hotels.
In the early 1990s, after a few years of hard work in Argentinean Patagonia, Germán moved to the city of Los Angeles, where he had the opportunity to work in different establishments distinguished by Michelin stars and in a culinary environment dominated by Mexican and Asian influences.
With this experience in tow, he returned to Argentina to perfect his style with the best local chef of the moment, the charismatic Francis Mallmann. Martitegui was fortunate to be part of the team that would help his mentor win the coveted “Grand Prix de l’Art de la Cuisine.”
Chomnalez’s traditional French style, combined with the regional cuisines of the United States and the infinite creativity of Mallmann, made Martitegui a chef with a strong identity, who expresses the delicious variety of his country in his dishes.
It seems odd to think that until 2002, Argentina—one of the main food producers in South America—did not have a restaurant on the list of the best 50 restaurants in the world. This is mainly due to the fact that, rather than express their own vision, gastronomic entrepreneurs in Buenos Aires tend to copy dishes imported from France, Italy or Peru.
The only restaurants that manage to be part of the prestigious list are those capable of creating authentic recipes that express the chef’s personal history and origin, such as Francis Mallmann’s 1884 in 2002 and Martitegui in the latest edition of 2017.
Tegui is hidden behind a mural of graffiti and a small black door that goes unnoticed by passers-by. Inside, a simple yet elegant ambience is decorated by a long living room with antique wood floors, black-painted ceilings and picturesque lamps. All the beauty resides in the central garden of the building and the kitchen, both visible in the background. Each month, the restaurant offers a new eight-course menu that invites the customers to experience the chef’s personal interpretation of the different regions of his country.
Tegui is the personal vision of a creative man, something that is always recognized in the course of time. In this case, the reward came when it was named 49th on the famous list of the best 50 in the world. ■