From a family restaurant to Latin America’s best: Don Julio

Located in Palermo district of Argentina’s capital Buenos Aires, Don Julio is crowned Latin America’s Best Restaurant 2020 by The World’s 50 Best. Pablo Jesus Rivero has been the owner since he was 23 and has transformed the place from a family restaurant to an award winning one.

Don Julio has started its journey as a small but loved family restaurant. Before they moved to Buenos Aires in 1994, the family had a butcher shop in the city of Rosario and was raising their grass-fed cattle in a small island at Paraná River. Pablo Rivero believes its history is crucial to the restaurant becoming what it is today and still is committed to this method.

With a dining room with almost 90-people-capacity, Don Julio’s most attention-grabbing part is the 10 square meter grill. In this open grill, the meat is cooked to 45 degrees, similar to Argentina’s famous rare steaks, and is seasoned with only salt a minute before being done. The fat runs to the sides and does not drip on the fire. “I want only the pure taste of beef, no smoke” says Rivero, explaining the special technique.

Don Julio was the recipient of the Art of Hospitality Award in Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018 and was located in the 4th spot in 2019’s list becoming the best restaurant in Argentina. Pablo Rivero, who grabs the first place in Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2020, is known as one of the important figures who revived the steakhouse culture in Bueno Aires alongside chefs Santiago Garat from Carte Comedor and Leo Lanussol of Proper.