El Atino & Co
Say it now: El Atino & Co. Not El Latino, though it’s a logical mistake, given the cafe and grocer specialises in foods from Latin America.
Since 2015, owners Alfredo Pimienta (a Mexican) and his brother-in-law, chef Martin Zozaya (an Argentinian), have been out to improve our understanding of Latin American food, which is anything but a homogenous cuisine. The name is a nonsensical play-on-words with a Spanish verb meaning, “to hit the bullseye”.
Inside the spacious Büro Architects-designed space, there’s a large grocery section, where El Cielo tortillas sit alongside fluorescent Inca Kola soft drink from Peru, manioc flour from Brazil and tinned chipotle chillies from Mexico.
El Atino imports (or makes) many of these products itself, which explains the reasonable prices. There are also fridges full of vacuum-packed meals, which Zozaya cooks on site.
At cafe’s chipboard-clad stools and primary colour chairs, you can deliberate over dishes including bolillo bread (Mexico's take on the baguette) with beans; dulce de leche jaffle; pisco-and-salmon salad; and one-hour sous-vide beef with chimichurri. There’s also the requisite avo on toast, because (fun fact) avocado is native to Central America.
Nights see tacos, ceviche, empanadas and other compartidos (shared dishes) matched with beers, wines and spirits from across Latin America, while degustation dinners are held once a month. If it all takes your fancy, enrol in one of El Atino’s cooking classes, which are held in the kitchen up the back.
El Atino's kitchen closes from 3:30pm to 5pm each day.