What it's like to eat at Argentina's best 'closed-door' restaurants

Chef cooking at Casa FelixYouTube/Bon Appétit/ScreenshotChefs and home cooks operate underground supper clubs known as ‘puertas cerradas’ in Argentina.

Hidden amid the bustling streets of Buenos Aires, Argentina is a network of underground restaurants where you can enjoy curated meals from some of the city’s best chefs.

At puertas cerradas (or “closed-door” restaurants) professional chefs and home cooks alike whip up dishes in their personal living rooms, villas, and hidden gardens to offer diners the meal of a lifetime.

According to VICE, some of these secret eateries — often operating without food permits or liquor licenses — are illegal. Still, they remain one of the most sought-after dining experiences in the country.

Keep scrolling to discover what it’s like to eat at these hidden restaurants.

When you make a reservation at a puerta cerrada, the address is withheld until right before dinner. Often the location of the 'restaurant' is the chef's home.

Ring the doorbell and the chef will lead you to the hidden dining room. In the photo below, chef Diego Felix welcomes guests to his puerta cerrada, Casa Felix, which pops up in New York City two or three times every year.

Learn more about Casa Felix.

Most puertas cerradas are tiny, with room for only a dozen or so diners.

Just like in a restaurant, you can enjoy a signature cocktail before your meal. This Casa Felix drink is the chef's creation of beer, rum, burnt oranges, and herbs from his outdoor garden.

Part of the experience is getting face-time with the chefs.

You'll also be served appetizers like cheese wrapped in fresh chayote leaves and sprinkled with sweet syrup.

Meals usually take place in the chef's living room, as is the case at Casa SaltShaker, open since 2005.

Learn more about Casa SaltShaker.

However, at destinations like Almacén Secreto Club -- concealed behind a graffitied block near the Villa Crespo area -- you can dine in the fresh air of a private garden.

Learn more about Almacén Secreto Club.

Communal seating contributes to the dinner party-style atmosphere.

Here, chef Felix prepares fresh fish with vine leaves pulled from his backyard.

Closed-door restaurants are known for their use of fresh and local ingredients, often grown on premises.

With menus changing every week, there's always an element of surprise.

Each meal is served by the chef or home cook, who explains the ingredients and cookery.

This dish of homemade ravioli, grilled vegetables, and crunchy walnuts was served at Casa SaltShaker.

Courses at Paladar Buenos Aires, a candlelit puerta cerrada with generous portions, range from fish crudo and greens...

Learn more about Paladar Buenos Aires.

...to this mouthwatering roulade.

We particularly like the way they write the checks. Don't worry, though, this meal for three was in Argentinian pesos, not US dollars.

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