While we'd love to be able to recreate authentic Mexican dishes at home, we could simply never capture the intricate flavours and layers experienced Latin American chefs can capture in a mouthful – Not to mention the margaritas we usually order to accompany those dishes.
As we're always on the search for new spots to elevate our dining experiences in Auckland, there's one particular restaurant group we head back to time and time again.
From head chef & owner Luis Cabrera, Besos Latinos has been bringing Aucklanders the taste of Latin America since 2010. Luis has created a status for himself in Auckland, notably cooking for Barack Obama on his visit to New Zealand, as well as previously working in the iconic Non Solo Pizza and Waiheke's Poderi Crisci (and as of late, is the mastermind behind the mannequinned-restaurants of lockdown 2020).
With two venues in Auckland Central, people travel from near and far to get their hands on Besos Latinos' authentic flavours. Translating straight to "Latin Kisses," it's easy to tell each dish comes from a passionate kitchen.
Most well-known for their flagship venue in the iconic Elliott Stables, Besos Latinos generates a larger-than-life dining experience.
Entering the colourful joint, your eyes are immediately drawn to the decor, including a real water-fountain front and centre of the restaurant. The staff are ecstatic to see you, ready to exceed your expectations with their outstanding service and some of the best Latin American dishes this side of the world.
After a good effort working our way through the menu multiple times, the standouts include their Coxinhas (fried dough bread with a creamy chicken filling), the Garlic Prawns with Guajillo Chilli on a bed of giardiniera rice, and their Mexican Machete – AKA their foot-long taco with your choice of chicken, beef, or veggies.
Each experience in Besos Latinos Elliott Stables has treated us to a warm uplifting atmosphere, excitement in the air as another table celebrates a birthday or an engagement or an anniversary, and bang-on flavours with each and every dish served up.
After their everlasting success in Elliott Stables, Besos Latinos gifted us with a second location – with a twist.
Their Wynyard Quarter spot on Halsey Street secured them real estate in one of Auckland's best up & coming dining precincts, but this time bringing us something a little different to match the waterfront scenery.
Besos Latinos Halsey Street is a ceviche bar bringing an air of fine-dining to the Besos Latinos empire.
The venue is beautifully decorated with light walls, pops of vibrant colours, and contemporary art, acting as a beautiful setting for a memorable meal by the harbour.
As well as a few favourites from the original Besos Latinos menu, Ceviche Bar by Besos Latinos offers a daily-changing ceviche dish, freshly-made and cooked to perfection. They also serve up specials such as their cactus quesadilla, tuna tostada, and Angus Beef Steak with Chipotle Butter. Perfect for the adventurous eater looking for traditional flavours you would find in the restaurants of Latin America.
Pairing heavenly with a salt-rimmed Patron margarita or perhaps a pint of their range of Mexican beers, it's a whole new experience from the Besos Latinos we know and love.
Both venues have something different to offer for certain occasions, but we guarantee the service and food you receive at each is unbeatable in the Auckland dining scene.
Whether you're diving into the gorgeous cuisine for the first time or looking for a spot to impress your guests with more developed dishes with adventurous ingredients, Besos Latinos will act as your go-to and holy-grail in times of uncertainty.