puerto rico COA restaurant

COA is both the name of an indigenous digging stick and the star restaurant at Dorado Beach. (Photo: Rick Lew-Marriott International)

Eat + Drink

These 5 Restaurants Are Next-Level Local in the Caribbean and Latin America

From Mexico to Chile, Latin America is a foodie paradise for those with a preference for ingredients harvested in nearby orchards, fair treatment of the region’s producers and dishes with local flavor. If this speaks to you, look no further because you’ll find the perfect destination for your next vacation right here.

And if the hotel kitchens follow your same philosophy—in addition to preparing mouthwatering dishes—your sustainable vacations become complete. At the end of the day, who doesn’t want to know where and how their food was sourced?

As always, check for travel restrictions or closures before planning your trip.

Smoked Sea Bass in Puerto Rico

The Taínos (Caribbean indigenous people) called the tool used to develop agriculture in Puerto Rico the “COA,” which is also the name Dorado Beach, A Ritz Carlton Reserve, chose to call their star restaurant.

Mi Brasa, an exclusively designed Spanish grill, takes center stage here; capable of temperatures so high, it imprints a delicious smoked flavor to the sea bass. The fish, of course, is fished locally and responsibly.

Open early every morning, this restaurant also offers bread, yogurt and jams made in house.

Catch of the Day in Mexico

Punta Mita sea breeze
Try the catch of the day in Punta Mita. (Photo: Mark Knight-Marriott International)

Every Friday at 11:30 am, on the beach fronting the Sea Breeze Restaurant & Bar at the St. Regis Punta Mita Resort, a “fishing ritual” takes place.

During this ceremony, fishermen from the La Cruz de Huanacaxtle market bring in the freshest morning catch and chat about each product while guests select their lunch or dinner, decide on its preparation and find a spot where to eat it.

Guests taste ceviche freshly dressed with vegetables including star fruit, pumpkin and different types of chilies —all harvested from the property’s garden.

Unique Roasted Coffee in Costa Rica

Hacienda Kitchen
Hacienda Kitchen conquers palates and captivates hearts. (Photo: Paul Aragon-Marriott International)

In the heart of a coffee plantation, located in the country that discovered Pura Vida (Pure Life), sits the Costa Rica Marriott Hacienda Belen, a hotel with colonial architecture and a restaurant that stands out.

Hacienda Kitchen not only conquers palates, but it also captivates hearts with vegetables from La Huerta de Chus, a farm named in honor of gardener Don Jesús who’s resided at the hotel since its foundation.

Like many of his fellow residents, Mr. Chus shared his family’s recipe for local dish gallo pinto with the restaurant. The kitchen staff blends rice, beans, sweet chili, onion, and oregano into a unique version of the national dish.

Visitors can also sample two types of unique roasted coffee. But best of all, through an alliance with Organikos Coffee, 100% of coffee sales are invested in the conservation of Costa Rican birds.

Regional Ceviche in Peru

Qespi restaurant
The concept at Qespi is from Mother Nature to your plate. (Photo: Al Argueta-Marriott International)

From Pachamama to table or, in other words, from Mother Nature to your plate, is the concept used by Qespi restaurant at the JW Marriott El Convento Cusco to pamper its guests.

A few feet from the kitchen, muña (Andean Mint), chamomile and other flowers with lovely names like flores del pensamiento (flowers of thought) are sublimated together with external items from Valle Sagrado (Sacred Valley) producers.

Once mixed, these ingredients arrive at the dining table in various emblematic Peruvian dishes such as lomo saltado (a beef and rice dish) or ceviche caliente (hot ceviche), made with rainbow trout in that part of the country.

Sustainable Tuna in Chile

ritz carlton santiago
Estró will transport you to the shores of the South Pacific. (Photo: Christopher Joe Cypert-Marriott International)

The Ritz Carlton Santiago, strategically located in the El Golf district between the mountains and the beach of the southernmost capital city in Latin America, is home to Estró. This sustainable restaurant took a gamble on farm-to-table meals.

Dishes such as spice-crusted tuna tataki made with artisanal fish from Rapa Nui or Easter Island, quinoa grown by the Mapuche of Araucanía (indigenous Chilean community), avocado from the town of Tongoy and aromatic herbs harvested in situ prove this.

If the waiter asks you to close your eyes while taking the first bite to feel what it’s like to walk along the shores of the South Pacific, listen to him —maybe he’s on to something.