Besos Latinos

3_half star rating 64 reviews

Telephone 09 303 0217

39 Elliott St
Shop M16, Elliott Stables
Auckland Central
Auckland City

Cuisine:
South American, Caribbean, International, Mexican
Hours:
Tue - Fri 12noon - 2pm, 5:30pm - late
Sat 5:30pm - late
Sun 1pm - 8pm
Provided by business

Overview

The First Authentic Latin American Gourmet Restaurant in New Zealand! Besos Latinos Restaurante is a dynamic new restaurant concept that is heating up the heart of Auckland CBD. Serving authentic Latin American dishes from Argentina, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Mexico, Brazil and Cuba in an unparalleled and romantic environment. Besos Latinos features market fresh produce and seafood as well as superb Mexican grilled steak. With a fine selection of Argentinian & Chilean wine and beers. Our Chef’s Awards: *Gold Medal NZ Culinary Fare 2009, New Zealand. *Silver Medal – Culinary Olympics 2008, Germany. *Bronze Medal – Salon Culinaire Mondial 2005, Switzerland. Member NZ Chefs Association

Photos

Photo of Besos Latinos
Share 'El Che Platter' with a Fresh Mojito for a real Revolutionary Experience!
Head Chef Mexican Luis Cabrera

More Information

Categories:
Restaurants
Takeaways:
Yes
Parking:
Pay & Display
Price Range:
Spendy, $25 - $35
Attire:
Casual
Good For Groups:
Yes
Good For Children:
Yes
WI-FI:
Free
Alcohol:
Beer, Wine, Spirits, Cocktails
BYO/Corkage:
No BYO
Wheelchair Accessible:
Yes
Takes Reservations:
Yes
Dietary Restrictions:
Halal, Vegan, Vegetarian, Soy-free, Dairy-free, Gluten-free
Meals Served:
Lunch, Dinner, Dessert
Payment Types:
EFTPOS, Visa, MasterCard, AMEX
Seating For:
75 Pax

Reviews for Besos Latinos

1 star rating
by James S.
23rd April 2014

First of all, let me say that the restaurant fit out is great. Front of house staff were friendly and good at their jobs as well, they came when needed and left us to decide on menu items when asked. Given this, we expected to be in for a tasty, fresh ‘Latino’ dinner.

We ordered several small dishes and one main, so we were able to try as many flavours as possible. They came out quickly and mostly together as we asked. Every single item lacked flavour, punch and generally freshness that we come to expect from Latino cuisine – the Chilaquiles seemed to be made up of the left over corn chips at the bottom of the packet, with some half melted grated cheese from the packet plopped on top of the steak – the Salsa roja that was served as an appetiser was closer to a whizzed up supermarket can of tomatoes than a fresh and delicious blend of chili, tomato and fresh herbs.

I must admit that at no point did I call the waiters attention to these problems, as I wanted to mull over my opinion and make sure what I was saying would be fair.

After my one time visiting this restaurant, I feel the owner either needs to light a fire under the chef’s arse to improve the quality of food, or replace the staff. My review score reflects the quality of food, as at the end of the day this is an eatery.

1 star rating
by Kathlyn F.
5th April 2014

We have booked a table for about 20 to 25 people to celebrate my Colombian friend’s birthday.

When we arrived, we were told we could not order from the menu, instead they gave us only two very expensive choices of Set menu. We decided to go with the cheapest option, which was already quite expensive and a friend and her family decided to go as she couldn’t afford almost $50 per person + drinks.

We were sitting in a long table and the food was being served only to the other end of the table, then I asked the waitress to distribute the portions correctly, so I wouldn’t need to get up and get my food on the other side. He then called his manager, who is the owner of the place, she told me it was not her job to distribute the food, we argued about how they should serve the food to each person, like they do when only 2 or 3 people dine there. She was absolutely rude saying it was not her problem other guests were eating my food. But how would they know it’s not theirs when it is in front of them?

When all 3 courses were served, everybody were still quite hungry and complaining about the small portions. We decided to have a look on the menu and found out they were charging us $8 more per person to have the set menu in comparison to the price on the menu.

After much discussion, they agreed to charge us the price they have on the menu, which is only fair!!! I can’t believe they charge more if you go with a group of people, it is unbelievable.

Terrible experience, expensive place, small portions, rude people. I am certainly never going back.

3 star rating
by CC
8th November 2013

Food was passable but nothing really stood out as being outstanding. Not a bad setting though, being Elliot Stables and all, I left still feeling somewhat hungry. That said, definitely pick this place over the horrible Mexican Cafe opposite SkyCity!

5 star rating
by Clayton L.
30th October 2013

The margaritas are the best in Auckland hands down. The bar tender is an artist. Go top shelf, you will not regret it. Make sure you have a designated driver.

2 star rating
by Jerry C.
1st September 2013

Visited Besos Latinos last night – cool venue and fit out, quite authentic. Sadly this was the highlight.

Chips and chipotle – salsa not as smoky as expected and lean on the corn chips.
Next was shrimp cocktail – overly saucy and we thought perhaps the sauce was a combo of bottled sweet chilli sauce and tomato sauce.
Cerviche – we love cerviche and make it regularly. This was the worst we’ve had in Auckland by some way. Finished it only because we were hungry.
Fish tacos – lacked fish and flavor.

All in all the food lacked any sort of love or attention to flavor. Service was average at best.
This place would be a prime candidate for that kitchen nightmares show!!!

5 star rating
by Liz W.
29th August 2013

I just enjoyed a really outstanding lunch here. For one, the aesthetics of the place are great – touches of brightly coloured objects here and there, but soft lit, and a lovely trickling waterfountain in the middle.
My starter was Sautéed corn kernels in butter, onions, coriander, and fresh cheese. this was excellent.

The lunch price for the main dish of Panama style fish was only $15.50, and came with a delicious red capsicum, tomato and coriander salsa. Its flavour was scintillating, and the rice, rocket salad, and carrots were great, to balance it out. I also ordered guacamole on the side, as I’m a big fan, and the salty goodness complemented the dish beautifully.

It was generous, and I was perfectly full at meal’s end.

My only complaint was that it took 5 minutes to receive a menu, and then 15 minutes for my starter to arrive, just 1 minute before my hot fish arrived! That was disappointing, as I felt rushed to eat my corn so my fish didn’t get cold!

That said, I was very happy with the service otherwise – friendly and attentive once I was eating. Would’ve been good to get a quick ‘won’t be long’ from the staff after about 10 minutes wait though… as I was starting to get ravenous and restless for my starter.

Contemplated knocking a star off for that… but how could I? I loved the food and the restaurant environment. So 5 it is.

2 star rating
by Kristi E.
25th August 2013

My husband and I had our first date here two years ago. The conversation was great, the food was bad. The beef tacos were overly salty to the point that they were inedible.
We decided to give it one more try….maybe they were having a bad night. Well, the portion was too small for the price, the salad vinegar was so bitter that it tasted awful and the epanyadas were cold in the middle. Nice service and lovely decor but we won’t be going back again.

4 star rating
by Vania T.
27th July 2013

Went to Besos Latinos to have a family dinner just yesterday. As I am Venezuelan we had the Venezuelan menu which was absolutely good, reminds me a lot of those years that I lived in there. Staff very friendly and they did their best to serve us, food as I said amazing, good portions.

4 star rating
by Laetitia S.
24th July 2013

Lovely evening out at Besos Latinos. The staff are friendly and make for a welcoming atmosphere. We were lucky to enjoy food courtesy of the Venezuelan chef (since it’s Venezuelan week) – the arepas in particular were very morish. The portions were generous and the experience was one I’ll definitely repeat.

1 star rating
by Christina D.
21st July 2013

Yesterday (Friday night), I went out with a friend to say farewell to New Zealand. We felt like Mexican and found the Besos Latinos on Elliott Street.
We were greeted very friendly and felt very lucky to get the last table. A young waitress came to our table and greeted us with a friendly “Adios” (isn’t that “good bye” actually??!!). The atmosphere was quite nice and we liked the decoration and music in the restaurant. My friend ordered the Enchiladas and I ordered the Tacos Don Hugo (with beef). After a short wait, the waitress served our food. At first sight, I thought “Oh, nice, there’s a small salad included”, but actually, it was the actual main! So tiny!!! We were shocked! I understand that the restaurant is a bit pricey, as most restaurants in the Elliott stables are. But you could expect a little bit more…. Furthermore, the beef was chewy and not very nice flavoured at all. Two tiny little tacos for $14 (or should I say Tacitos…), which I ate in 3 minutes. My friend wasn’t very pleased either.
So we decided to leave, each one of us $20 poorer but still hungry. What a disappointment. On the way home we said “If only we wouldn’t have got the last table”.

1 star rating
by J.MAC.D.
18th July 2013

I recently visited Besos Latinos for a lunchtime meal with friends.

I went with high hopes – the other eateries I had visited in Elliot Stables had consistently delivered high-quality meals and excellent service (although they were somewhat pricey).

The doorman at Besos Latinos was friendly enough, his thick Mexican accent luring us into the dimly-lit establishment. And the restaurant itself has a pleasant ambiance – if you’re into skulls and caricatures of Christ. However, that’s about as good as it got. The staff member on till was rude, two of our group’s meals arrived half an hour later than the rest and the food was ridiculously overpriced, not to mention portion sizes would struggle to satisfy a dieting smurf.

ONE STAR.

5 star rating
by Rachel S.
12th July 2013

Have been to this restaurant a few times now, a few times for date night with my partner and once for my birthday this year (booking of 20).
Really enjoy the lively atmosphere and if we are lucky live music! The cocktails are tasty and the food is delish!
Definitely recommend this to anyone that wants to give South American food a go :)

2 star rating
by Sanjay B.
5th July 2013

Went here with a group of friends at lunch time, generally was a very mediocre dining experience.

Ordered the beef burritos which were decent (good quality beef) and went for guacamole as a $2.50 extra. Mistake. Literally about 2 tablespoons worth and tasteless. A friend ordered a $15 salad which looked like something you should get in a cafe for a third of the price. Another friend got the soft tacos for $14 which looked pretty atrocious.

Worst part was most of the food at our table came late – up to 20 minutes wait for two of the dishes, which the staff didn’t seem very apologetic about (nor did they tell us there would be a wait).

Besos Latinos apparently means ‘Latino kisses’, which is probably accurate if the latino kissing you is a dirty old man wearing y-fronts and a wife beater.

5 star rating
by Alix W.
4th July 2013

Sud America en Neuvo Zealanda
The first time I went to Besos Latinos was just after I came back to NZ from South America – and it was great! They had all the traditional cocktails, and most of the traditional cuisine – including Epanadas! I was stoked! So I went back there and had my birthday party, and it was awesome! They baked me a special birthday cake, and gave me and my table sombreros to wear – ideal. I had a wonderful time and would go back in a heart beat!

1 star rating
by Alex L.
13th June 2013

I’ve had the pleasure of dining at Besos Latinos on two occasions. The first left me wary; the second, appalled. While it may not be the absolute worst food at any eatery in Auckland (though I suspect it’s not far off), both meals were easily the worst value for money I have ever personally experienced.

On my first visit, I was looking for a snack/light meal and so opted for the beef tacos ($12) with a small side of guacamole ($6). The tacos weren’t unpleasant – the tortillas, though chewy, were at least freshly made, and the beef was tender – but were essentially flavourless, and only about three bites each. The $6 side was a tiny saucer that could not have contained more than one or two tablespoons of guacamole (tasting only of onions and halfway to rancid), accompanied by a couple of corn chips. Probably the single biggest ripoff I’ve encountered at an Auckland restauant. Nevertheless, this was only a light meal, and I departed disappointed (and hungry) but hopeful that the full-priced meals would offer better value.

I returned a few weeks later as part of a small group. Upon arrival, we were told that we would have to order from the set menu ($45). This was “set” indeed, with only a couple of options for each course, none of which sounded especially appealing. I ordered the beef empanadas and the beef main, with the only salad available that day. All of it was woeful. The entree (a single empanada) was very obviously reheated and was cold enough in the middle that my fellow diners worried aloud about the possibility of food poisoning. It was bland and flavourless. The main was a slurry of reheated meat, gooey cheese, rice and mixed vegetables. A ring of chili powder around the edge of the plate provided the only kind of flavour in the entire dish. It took a full minute of vigorous shaking of the crusted-up salt shaker to impart any kind of taste at all. The salad (which was made to look like a full course on the menu) was a handful of oily leaves. I washed the whole unpalatable lot down with a glass of equally unpalatable wine (the set menu provided an ample choice between one red and one white).

Our waitress was disinterested at best and rude at worst. Fortunately we were all too distracted by the awful food to be bothered by it.

I’ve never been to South America, but I have eaten at well-regarded South American resaurants in North America. The food knocks your head off with its intensity of flavour. I can tell you right now, authentic this is not. It’s not even a passable imitation. There was no spice, heat, freshness, flavour or texture to anything I was served. A twelve year old with an Old El Paso burrito kit could produce considerably more exciting food than the bland, overpriced rubbish served up at Besos Latinos. I’m sad to have to write this review (my first ever), as there is already a dearth of South American cuisine in Auckland, but eating here has only made me angry and embarrassed for the visitors to our city who might unknowingly wander in. It clearly relies on its prime location in the Elliot Stables to attract customers, but is completely out of step with the generally excellent (and excellent value) food served up by its neighbours. Avoid, avoid, avoid. If you do have to go, because one of your friends reads the glowing reviews here and is misled into making a booking, resist the pressure put on you to go with the set menu. Let me be completely clear – what you get for $45 at Besos Latinos is inferior in both quality and quantity to what you get for $12 at any casual “Tex Mex” joint in Auckland, and our Tex Mex was already pretty bad compared to the rest of the world.

If anyone from Besos Latinos reads this, I would love to hear an explanation for that $6 tablespoon of guacamole. I’ll consider eating at your restaurant again when it’s priced at $2 like it ought to have been.

1 star rating
by mark
4th June 2013

We popped for a meal after a show and I have to agree with Simon W…where are all these good reviews coming from.
The meat was tough and had to be returned and rest of the meals was just average….they are over priced and not worth their asking price…we will not be going there again

Comment from Luis C. of Besos Latinos 19/06/2013   
Hi Mark – thank you for taking the time to let us know your…    More »
1 star rating
by Simon W.
26th May 2013

I went as part of a group, and we had a set menu. I ordered beef empanadas for my entree. What arrived was a single empanada. It was luke-warm and obviously not freshly prepared; in fact I suspect it was reheated (or maybe even defrosted) to order.

My main was a completely unremarkable dish of stewed beef on rice (I can’t remember the name of this dish). The rice contained what appeared to be mixed vegetables, cooked from frozen. The beef was edible, but mediocre in every possible way. It reminded me of eating a frozen TV-dinner from the supermarket.

My partner had a fish dish for her main. She said it was unpleasant, and she didn’t finish it.

The set menu had a choice of two salads, but one salad was not available the night we went. The available salad was nothing more than plain, undressed vegetables.

This set menu was priced at an astonishing $45, including a pretty average glass of wine. For the food I received (excluding the wine) I would expect to pay about $10-12 at any other food court.

The atmosphere is nothing special. The service was dour almost to the point of rudeness.

The toilets were so filthy that I found myself too disgusted to use them. To be fair, the bathrooms aren’t part of the restaurant per se, they’re outside in Elliott Stables.

All in all, this restaurant is a complete rip-off. It would still be a rip-off at half the price! The only reason I didn’t send my food back at the time is that I was worried about embarrassing my friends.

The owners should be ashamed to call Besos Latinos a restaurant. It’s nothing more than a tourist trap.

Comment from Luis C. of Besos Latinos 19/06/2013   
Thanks for taking the time to share your comments. We appreciate…    More »
5 star rating
by Rwvista
17th April 2013

Had an excellent lunch at Besos Latinos on a Sunday. I had the ceviche as an entree, which was very good with right amount of garlic and lime juice I had the Bendeja Paisa as a main. It was like a Colombian steak and egg, but with fried banana, avocado and beans thrown in. It was very tasty and too much food to finish. My partner had the taquitos, which were literally little tacos ( and not the taquitos we were used to). He said they were excellent with marinated chicken charbroiled but still juicy. More casual dining than fancy, the prices were not more or less than other comparable restaurants in central Auckland. Service was prompt and attentive. Good meal!

1 star rating
by Sia T.
1st April 2013

I have covered many many restaurants in Auckland and would have to say Besos Latinos was the most disappointing I have been to.
Definitely over priced which we wouldn’t mind paying normally if food tasted even half good. Very plain food no flavours, even the fish special was drowned in too much sauce. Out of 8 of us only 1 enjoyed her meal. They forgot my salad and two at our table waited 15 minutes for their fish meal after the rest of us had been served our meals. Most disappointing to what started as a great birthday night for me.

Comment from Luis C. of Besos Latinos 10/04/2013   
Hola Sia – we appreciate you taking the time to voice your…    More »
5 star rating
by Al K.
1st April 2013

Awesome place.. Must visit. I called Besos and left a message for a booking the same morning. They called me back when it was open to confirm. Visited Besos with my wife on a lovely Saturday evening of the Easter weekend. Located right at the back of Elliot Stables. Nice lively atmosphere inside. great latin décor. The young team of staff were all very friendly and also very helpful to suggest to us a few favourites from the Latin American menu. All meals from entrées to mains were very delicious and full of flavours we asked the chef to make it hot and it was great. The serving size is very good as well, we couldn’t finish our mains. Must try the prawns and fish of the day. Had the Mango Chilli Margaritas…that was rocking. Overall we had a wonderful experience at Besos. Will definitely come back again with friends. Keep up the great service.

3 star rating
by Jandina T.
31st March 2013

My friends took me here for my birthday for lunch. Great time, service was great. Even got a free slice of cake! Food was average but staff were very friendly. I would go back again.

Comment from Luis C. of Besos Latinos 31/03/2013   
Hola Sally, Thank you for your feedback! It’s extremely helpful in…    More »
5 star rating
by Andrea H.
9th February 2013

Fantastic!!!! Everything just great – menu, food, atmosphere, friendly helpful staff.

We can highly recommend this restaurant and will be back for sure. Had an absolutely enjoyable and relaxed evening!!!

Thanks a lot!!!!

4 star rating
by Turaa H.
3rd February 2013

This little gem is hidden behind a discrete black door alongside many other little restaurants, Which made it quite hard to locate initially.
Nevertheless, this was the first Latin-Americana restaurant experience that my partner and I have had and let me tell you, It was definitely a positive experience. The atmosphere was bright and energetic, the ambient lights set the mood quite well. In addition, the staff were great and even took a lovely photo of my partner and I, something we quickly uploaded to facebook.

The food was great and something we’d usually never choose to eat whilst out. We ordered the “Mexican platter for two” totaling $38.I preferred the Angus beef tacos, whilst my partner loved (LOVED) the enchiladas and all the side dishes. We didn’t order any drinks purely because we were going to the movies and late night skating afterwards so needed to be sober LOL, nevertheless they looked wonderful and we’ll definitely indulge next time.

The only awkward part of the whole experience, which truthfully upset the rest of the night at no fault to the restaurant was when a “hen’s night group dared the [to-be-wife] to come and casually flirt with my partner whilst I was in the bathroom”. This alone left us both feeling somewhat embarrassed and awkward, luckily we both saw the humor in it and walked away smiling.

We’ll return again, provided the “hens-night wife isn’t there again”..lol.

5 star rating
by Giles P.
21st January 2013

The best Guacamole I have had outside of Mexico – enchiladas like home cooking from the gulf of Tehuantepec.
love it, love the restaurant’s title and ambience – very romantic :)

Cant wait to come back and try more :)

Viva :)
and thank you for bringing your talents from Mexico to share it in New Zealand.

at last :)

yum

5 star rating
by Siets A.
30th November 2012

Dinner at Besos Latinos last night was a wonderful experience. I had a perfect Pisco Sour cocktail (and trust me I have had many in my life) at the start while perusing the menu. I picked the Mexican Alambra de Arrachera as main course. This was a perfect prepared beef dish. Tasty, cooked correctly and the portion was sufficient to fill my tummy. During the dinner I/we were entertained by a couple dancing the tango. Very professional (I’ve seen many and danced it myself) and they were amazing to watch. To finish the meal I had (the by my friend recommended) Brazilian coconut pudding, a delicious dessert. The atmosphere in the restaurant is wonderful and the waiting staff was friendly, professional but not too formal. For $100 for 2 people it was a well worth experience and I’ll be back with other friends.

5 star rating
by Ruth V.
27th November 2012

Besos Latinos was superb! The service was fantastic always smiling when served and everything was out in a timely manner! Nice portions too – not too big and too small. Loved every bit of it from the music to the decor…I felt like I was in Mexico or somewhere exotic and homely! Great vibe and I would recommend Besos Latinos to anyone who wants to try authentic cuisine!! Definitely a great place if you want to be alone with your loved one or party up with a group of girlfriends! EXCELLENTE!

5 star rating
by Francesca d.
20th November 2012

This restaurant is fantastic. From the food through to the service and atmosphere, I couldn’t recommend Besos Latinos enough.

Yes, it is quite pricey, but that’s what you get for food this amazing, and this is a top notch Auckland restaurant serving authentic cuisine, so I’m unsure why people are so shocked at the prices. (It’s not a cheap tex mex place which I think others reviewers have been confusing it for.)

So I say if you’re looking for something different, that won’t disappoint and you’re willing to spend a little extra for a a great experience, then Besos Latinos is where to go.

4 star rating
by Diego P.
28th August 2012

We had the Restaurant of the month menu which was very good!!
Entree: good – veggie humitas very popular around the table.
Mains: were a great size and very yummy.
A great introduction to the menu and the cuisine.
Service was fantastic- very friendly, chatty,accommodating and made us feel very welcome.
Definitely recommend to anyone interested in trying some Latin food.
I am going back for the Colombian Bandeja Paisa :-)

1 star rating
by Rod S.
13th August 2012

Went there Saturday night with anticipation of something pretty special – ordered the Mexican Tapas for 2 – $19 each, $38 total & got very average food – we will not recommend to anyone.

We expected a decent amount of food for $38 & something quite special but it was only just warm, looked like came from a packet & didn’t strike us as authentic.

We were told it would be a 30-40 minute wait, 50 minutes later it turned up.

Compared to the other meals our group ordered elsewhere it failed to impress.

We complained but it basically fell on deaf ears. Will not be returning nor recommending..

5 star rating
by Beto F.
12th August 2012

The differential is the service, an attentive and friendly staff without over bearing makes us feel very welcome!! Always with a smile and a can do attitude, and that is what everyone expect when dining out! The food is great, as a born kiwi and never had the experience to travel to South America, it made great impression on the Argentinian Asadito, yumm! And since I can´t afford a ticket to Argentina at the moment, I will keep coming back to Besos Latinos!!!

5 star rating
by 2dobes
25th July 2012

My husband and I went to Besos Latinos for a second time late last month. Staff are very friendly & provide great service. The food is delicious and you get what you pay for. We’ll definitely be back again :)

1 star rating
by Sandra
29th June 2012

Went there tonight (Thursday night) and were really disappointed and will not recommend to anyone.

First it wasn’t busy at all; and the drinks came pretty quickly (positive and was the only positive point); then we had to wait half an hour before asking the waiter if we can order our meals; he took our order and then we had to wait more than an hour and ask about our main to 2 different waiters. We got them an hour and a half after ordering and when we finally got them, what wasn’t the disappointment ! My friend ordered the vegetarian meal and it was tiny !!! Mine (anchiladas) was flavourless !

Also, while going to pay the bill, we express our disappointment to the manager and what wasn’t our surprise when she said, you didn’t book ! (there was nobody in the restaurant !). To that my friend who came along a previous time answered she came once with a booking and the problem was the same. The answer to that from the manager was “oh well that’s your opinion….” And she took the money and disappeared with no thanks nothing ! waouh !!! Obviously we were bothering her.

Honestly, I’m French from Paris, being here in Auckland for almost 2 years (it’s the first time I’m posting a review on a place here); and I know in Paris, waiters can be rude; but at least when you complain, they do apology and or try to do something for the customer to leave happy; this one was just unbelievable ! I’ve never seen that.

And finally, it was pricey for what it is.

So, if you have time and money to waste, then it’s the place to go although I do think there are better ways to waste money and time.

2 star rating
by Starr D.
23rd June 2012

Besos Latinos. As you walk into the highly atmospheric mood lighting, you are greeted by an array of musical prowess; the strong, yet smooth, male voices, rich guitar melody, and the cha-cha-cha beat sweep you away to the sights and sounds of Latin America; forgotten are the busy Auckland streets outside.

Overcome by the overwhelming shock to your senses, you find yourself lead to the rustically decorated, candlelit tables with sparkly, black sombreros on the backs of the chairs- and of course, the waiters are gorgeous too. Wearing tango hats, they exude mystery, and with their sexy foreign accents, you begin to understand the well thought-out name of the restaurant- who wouldn’t want a beso latino?

The menus, creatively embossed with a culturally significant Aztec image, are well structured and although the prices are slightly upper-budget, the authenticity is astounding. You relay your choice of a platter for two and relax again, caught away in the euphoric intoxication of a Spanish-fever-induced reverie, anxiously anticipating the feast that awaits you.

And then the illusion shatters, like a mirror forcibly thrown from a 7th story balcony, and the dismay felt is comparable to being hit with 7 years of bad luck all at once.

The Mexican Platter, which once sounded so amazing, is but a fraction of what your overstimulated mind imagined (maybe they are hiding an experimental shrink ray in the kitchen?). While the charro beans were tasty, the rest of the meal was not, consisting of a handful of corn chips, a few slices of quesadilla, four baby-palm-sized tortillas and an almost microscopic amount of “angus beef” that was essentially flavourless. Let’s not forget the “trio of dips”; about one tablespoon each of chipotle salsa, overly-onion-tasting guacamole, and sliced jalapeños, all sitting on a useless amount of grated carrot and mesclun salad.

Now for the best part, the price… $38 ($19 per person). Yes, you read correctly. Does that not seem a bit excessive? Especially considering you could make four times the amount that was on the tray for about $10 at home.

So there you have it, Besos Latinos. They lull you in, with their awe-inspiring Latin atmosphere and leave you with nothing but trepidation. Maybe they should try and put a little more energy into making their food since, you know, it is a restaurant.

5 star rating
by Luis K.
11th June 2012

This is by far the best service and food I have ever tried in Auckland City, the atmosphere is very unique and special, I’ve been there at least 5 times and Besos never disappoints.

Looking forward to my next visit on Wednesday.

Gracias amigos!

4 star rating
by Phill D.
25th May 2012

Had a great time there last night…went with a group of 8 and shared a wide range of dishes which were all exceptional….fresh, vibrant and diverse. Really enjoyed the staff who were attentive, relaxed and really keen to make sure we had a good time.

The venue itself is superb – feels really authentic.

Hadn’t been to Elliot Stables before, but will definately be back.

1 star rating
by Peter B.
21st May 2012

Shockingly bad value, utterly substandard quality. $18 for a small plate of beans, a few corn chips, a tiny amount of salsa, guacamole, sour cream, a few bits of meat at least one of which was a chunk of gristle, and grated carrot to give it some colour is not up to standard. Places like this are the reason Mexican food has such a bad name in NZ.

3 star rating
by Matt D.
10th May 2012

Not moderate price range at all, $34 mains, and expensive underwhelming starter platters. Food was nice, but not at that price.

1 star rating
by Adi C.
29th April 2012

We went to Besos Latinos last night to celebrate my birthday, I had seen photos of it online the place matches every pic we saw, it is beautiful made me feel as if I was in Mexico! How ever, the service was shocking!! We were seated imedietly but waited 20 minutes before we were even asked what we would line to drink! And this was only beacuse we had asked for a waiter ! Drinks took another 20min and the food took an extra hour ! Beacuse according to are waitress they were busy ! Still not good enough ! Startes were over over priced and extremely small ! Salsa was tasteless I would get a better one from a store! We ordered the pandeja paisa a Colombian dish a d coming from a Colombian backround letme just say, did no justicie ! Their platter are small and you have to order a minimum of 2 people , but really is only for one person , bit Hey How Will they make money if they dont convince you it’s for 2 people big dissapointment!!! We were offered water at the end of our meal but no water glasses ! Service was horrible!!!! Manager didn’t seem worried about it, we would get better service in McDonalds ! Food was average and experience was extremely dissapointing ! The only thing in their favor is the decor and atmosphere ! I will never go back there and will make sure know one I know will spend their money there !

4 star rating
by eve
30th March 2012

Service was a bit slow, had to remind waiters of drinks ordered a couple times, but the food was great!!!

4 star rating
by Kathryn
28th March 2012

If you are looking for a great Latino American restaurant with atmosphere to match,then Besos Latinos is “The Place” where you should go.
As soon as we entered the restaurant our table was suitably set for the birthday celebration along with sombrero’s for each of our guest to participate in the joyous occasion.
Cecilia our waitress welcomed us with the traditional greetings “Buenos Dias” and attended our requests all evening , always with a beautiful smile.
The Argentinean empanadas and also Argentinean red wines and beers! suitably fitting with the atmosphere of the night.
I would recommend anyone wanting to be taken on this journey to “The Latin Americas” should go have the experience because you won’t regret it.. from the very beginning till you leave you will be enchanted by the dancing on a Thursday, music, atmosphere, traditional food, wine & beer and the customer service.
Well done Louis & Cecilia on your achievement’s in making this experience to life in New Zealand! I will be back soon
Gracias!Chau! Kathryn Lovelidge

4 star rating
by suny6
29th January 2012

The food was amazing and service excellent. All the atmosphere in the restaurant is very good.All the best for the owner and chef

5 star rating
by Marie
26th January 2012

Wondering where to celebrate my friend B-day around the city I found the unimaginable! Inside of the well know Elliott Stables is a fantastic hide space where is set a Latin restaurant.
As a 1st impression you can really feel the Latin style. My friends and I decide to explore more and try a different option this time. We’ve been sitting beside a rustic fountain at the center of the floor the place is quite big, colorful and I believe is a casual cool concept, service was great, we try a Mexican Platter for 4 (19p/p) and then we all try different Latin dishes from Argentina, Cuba and Chile, I choose a tender and tasty Cuban style prawns that were amazing! We sip a big glasses of Margaritas and finish the night with a impressive Happy B-day in Spanish sung by the staff. Highly recommended if you are looking for a great and different experience. * no easy to park you have to look options at sky cinema or Victoria car park.

5 star rating
by Gary H.
3rd January 2012

Just fabulous! If you are looking for authentic (not tex mex) southern american food then this is it. The restaurant is in the back corner of the Elliott Stables and the service is pleasant and not too fussy.
The food is created with the real passion that only comes from a committed professional; chef.
Well done. I hope you are as successful as your food is good. AAA

5 star rating
by Werner M.
2nd August 2011

This is one of the best places to eat. i enjoyed the food, service and the decor of the place. They need a 5 star rating. Luis and his entire team take care of you from start to finish. i will recommend this place to anybody who wants to try different food.

4 star rating
by Peanut
10th July 2011

*Romantic settings. It was a beautiful restaurant.
*Live Latin music was fantastic (Friday night only, apparently) *The best Margarita Ive ever had in my life! *food tasted great

*Serving size is too small!! Over priced. They should either put down the price for the size or make them bigger. We had 3 prawns sitting on some rice for $34. We would love to go back there for Margarita and some nibbles.

3 star rating
by Adeline
6th July 2011

We came here with a group of friends last month and tried the menu that offered a little taste of every country in South America. Service was great – we found the staff to be both friendly and helpful. However, I felt that the food was pretty much average. I’ve only been to Mexico, so I can only speak with limited knowledge here. To me, the dishes had the same ‘base flavour’ – so despite it being Cuban or Argentina or whatever, it didn’t matter to me as they tasted the same. Perhaps I’m a bit of a Philistine when it comes to food appreciation, but this is my experience.
The quantity was so-so, I’ve observed that they reduced the price of the menu that offers a taste of every country. So I think price-wise, you shouldn’t be judging your experience based on quantity but taste.
Despite the food being an average experience, the impeccable friendly service made up for it – so that’s always a crowd pleaser.

2 star rating
by Peter G.
5th July 2011

I find a bit unfair that a lot of obviously friends of the owner gather here to write good reviews to level up the average rating of the restaurant. However I am going to write my own critique to give people an idea of what to expect from this restaurant.
I am going to start by presentation, my experience started with very nice and friendly staff ready to take the order as soon as I sat down. First thing I noticed was that the place is very nice, it is comfortable and very authentic. They had hired a live duet that sung authentic latin music while i was there. The menu came, I started doubting the experience when I saw the fact that the menu had very poor presentation, however I told myself it is not important since It is all about the food. I ordered the entrees, ( I must say that I’ve been to Mexico, Argentina, Guatemala and Chile and tried all of these dishes before) I ordered the chilean tamales, and the empanadas. The first thing I noticed when they came was presentation, they were very beautiful and look delicious, however I couldn’t believe my eyes on the size. I basically paid 12 dollars for almost a supermarket sized bite. The empanadas were not what i expected since I have tried empandas in Mexico and argentina and they are totally different from each other and they never specified this on the menu. I must say I got really scared since everything was so tiny that I stood up paid and went to eat at another place. I had 2 drinks and two bite size samples for 50 dolars. With all the regret I must say it is not very pleasant to pay so much for simple food one can achieve at home for an eight of the price.

5 star rating
by Jacqueline F.
24th June 2011

It is a nice and exclusive latin american corner.

I went to Besos Latinos with my brother last night and my first impression was that it felt I was in a colonial street somewhere in latin america. The environment was amazing. Good music, friendly staff and colourful decorations.
Then… we sat down and ordered. The service was efficient and the food was great! good serving size, fresh ingredients and very nice wine selection.
The restaurant must be advertised more, because it is really good..!

4 star rating
by Felicity S.
22nd May 2011

We had a great night here before a show. Lovely atmosphere, great service and lovely Malbec and Pisco Sours! Only two of the food items were disappointing.
For $16 the Queso Asado al Sésamo is a rip off with very tiny pieces of haloumi being served on a small salad.
Also having been to Bolivia there is nothing really Bolivian about that salad.
The rest of the food was great! I’d just suggest the entrees are too expensive for what you get.

5 star rating
by Tomas T.
16th May 2011

What a good place, I loved the decoration, music and excellent service, not to mention the food, they serve the best ceviche in town and the arracheras are fantastic. This is probably the only place in NZ that cooks the tortillas just when you order them. My wife order the latin american culinary tour, highly recomended, very tasty and affordable. I am definitely coming back!!

3 star rating
by Annie
9th May 2011

I went with my husband on a Friday night. The restaurant is in a hidden corner and it’s a bit hard to find. However it is a beautiful place with nice settings. We ordered the ceviche and pato taco for starters. The pato taco was really yummy. For mains, we ordered the fish and the prawn. My fish was cooked nicely with delicious rice. The prawn dish was a bit dear for it’s presentation. Overall, I liked the presentation of all dishes. They were clean and creative. It is not a cheap place to eat though.

1 star rating
by Mike S.
7th May 2011

I would struggle to give this restaurant even one star but I had to to put this review in. I was very surprised to see such positive reviews on here at all!

I had the unfortunate experience recently of being part of a large group that dined at this restaurant – I have never felt compelled to write a review but the evening was so bad I felt I had to warn other diners.

Once we were seated at 7.30pm, it took well over half an hour to even get some water to the table or be even given menus, then over another half an hour to get any drinks ordered or our food orders to be taken. Other diners came in while we were waiting and were seated and fed and had left before we were even allowed to order our meals!! There were no table nibbles available to order during the wait, breads, corn chips or anything like that would have at least filled some time in but no, and when it took another hour or so to serve entrees alone, you can imagine we had a pretty hungry frustrated (and somewhat bored!) lot of people. When we finally got the mains after literally hours of sitting there, the food was less than ok so was very disappointing. I had the fish and it was half cold and didn’t taste very fresh so I was nervous about eating it despite being starving at this point.

We were the only customers in the restaurant by 9.30pm and we still hadn’t eaten and were still getting no service. Needless to say when we finally ate it was about 10.30pm and noone was interested in sticking round to order dessert! All in all an absolutely appalling night, would have to be the worst experience I’ve had dining in Auckland, AWFUL service, dubious food, lacking menu and I would never ever return to this restaurant and I doubt the other 20 or so people I was with would either, ruined what was meant to be a great evening out. Very disappointing.

Comment from Luis C. of Besos Latinos 5/08/2011   
The purpose of this is to convey to you my sincere apologies for…    More »
2 star rating
by Wolfie
4th May 2011

With such great reviews on here I expected more than we got on Friday night. We had a deal voucher which entitled us to a $50 spend and were really looking forward to something a bit different. As per the norm with these vouchers we mentioned it when booking and then again when we arrived. We were seated in what I would describe as a very nice space – great ambience, with a pretty lighting and a central fountain. The music was a good level for conversation and added to the atmosphere, and the service was smiling and attentive. Menus were fetched along with a Special Deal which gave one a selection of entrees, mains and a salad with a glass of wine for $35. It was pointed out to us that if we were to order it however it would be $45 because we were using a voucher. My husband ordered the empanadas for his entree which clearly stated on the menu consisted of 2. When they came out there was 1. We watched a nearby table receive their’s – and they got 2. Clearly they were not using a voucher! As mains we ordered the two steak dishes on the menu. My husband had Alambre de Arrachera – Traditional marinated Flank Steak Grilled with, bacon, peppers, onion, field mushrooms and Kapiti Edam Cheese. It was priced at $34 on the menu. When it came it was a very small serving of what was mostly rice, with a tiny amount of steak finely chopped through it and the salad which was extra. He thought it tasted ok but was left really feeling hungry as it was such a small serving. I had the Arrachera Norteña y papa horno – Mexican grilled flank Steak marinated with oregano, thyme, garlic and salt served with oven stuffed potato, artisanal handmade corn tortilla and Charro Beans which was $32 on the menu. The meat was very tasty but again not much of it – although more than my husband got for sure! The accompaniment was some chopped panfried potato – not the stuffed potato on the menu and the beans & corn chips were a tiny dish on the side – about 4 chips and a smattering of mild flavoured beans in a light tomato sauce. We ended with desserts as we were still quite hungry and these were fine but I suspect bought in. All in all, I feel that it represented terrible value for money – and there were deliberate attempts to “level the score” regarding our use of the voucher – hence the lack of one empanada and the tiny amount of steak. This is crazy! Establishments offer these vouchers to tempt diners into their restaurants – clearly something that has really taken off in the city – it’s just like spending money on advertising – and then to deliver substandard fare and tell you you have to pay a premium because you have a voucher is ridiculous. They have a chance to impress and gain a regular client but instead, as in this case, only succeed in assuring we won’t be back. So silly. We have been to other restaurants that have really wowed us with their service and food when using a voucher – restaurants new to us – and we are now regulars. THAT’S how the vouchers work – the restaurant takes a hit the first time – gets you through their door and IMPRESSES so much you tell all your friends and you return again and again! Not really rocket science.

5 star rating
by Wendy
19th March 2011

I went there for the first time last night. It was amazing, the atmosphere, the outlay of the restaurant, the staff….

The food was amazing….the service 5 stars….The staff were amazing.

Thank you for the great evening.

4 star rating
by Gaston P.
5th March 2011

Besos Latinos is “The Latin-American Restaurant in Auckland”. I have worked along side with Chef Luis Cabrera and I can say He is an enthusiastic chef in pursuit of excellence when designing a dish. you don’t need to worry about food when Luis is in charge of the kitchen. I am 100% sure he is going to overtake your expectations!!
This restaurant got the warm atmosphere similar to the one you can get in Latin America, and for me this is the touch and difference from Other Latin restaurants.
Service is very friendly and almost personalized, always with a smile and good service attitude.

Thanks for the lovely food and service.
this restaurant is 100% recommendable.

Saludos!!

4 star rating
by Benjamin F.
27th February 2011

Besos Latinos is a true Latin restaurant, owned by Latin American people that want to share our culture.
I just got to NZ three days ago after a long trip from Mexico, and some Filipino friends told me about this place and took me to the restaurant. I would never have found it by myself… It’s a bit hidden, but once you know about it you’ll feel like never going anywhere else.
The food is great, the price is reasonable and the staff is very friendly.
My comments:
The restaurant seems a bit exclusive and expensive, which is great, but during lunch times there should be some “student meals” with affordable Price’s. This might attract students that like southamerican culture. I will definitely come here if it had student meals at lunch time, and if I had a date, this will be the perfect place to spend my money at dinner time.
The food can easily be compared with the great food made in southamerica…! in my case, I’m Mexican, I know about Mexican food!!
I’d say next time you eat on a southamerican restaurant outside latinamerca, compare it with Besos Latinos, if it’s as good as Besos then you could say it’s southamerican food. If it wasn’t as good as Besos Latinos then it was “tex-mex”… which is cheap and just OK food.
Overall, an excellent restaurant with possibilities to be even better.

5 star rating
by Andrea M.
17th February 2011

I took my mum to Besos Latinos for her birthday. We are both Mexican immigrants in NZ and have been waiting for 5 years to find an authentic Latin flavour at a a restaurant. Moreover, the quality was excellent; not your usual Californian version of Latin food, the one that makes us think of take-aways and cheap meals. This is a restaurant that is here to show NZ that Latin food can be an all-rounded experience. That it can be gourmet food. My mum and I ordered a dish from the Mexican selection and another from the Cuban selection- and we got more than value for money! Even though we were full and extremely happy with our meal, we found the strength to squeeze in some dessert: flan. A Mexican custard dish that had us filled with nostalgia for our country. Thank you, Besos Latinos, not only for giving us a piece of home, but for doing so with style.

5 star rating
by Belinda F.
17th February 2011

We thought the food was EXCELLENT! We had a wonderful evening. Friendly and efficient staff, hot cocktails and delicious food. The atmosphere was lovely and the Latin dancing set the mood. A wonderful Valentines – thank you so much!!

5 star rating
by Gina
17th February 2011

Had a dinner special at Besos Latinos for $28!! It included a glass of spectacular Argentine wine, a beef dish, salad and an appetizer. What a great deal for dinner and to top it off it was truly delicious; lots of flavor yet simple. Finished the meal off with a mouthwatering Flan (Mexican Custard with Caramel dessert).
Very authentic food from the heart and the decor is spot on-really takes you back on a journey to Latin America.
Can’t wait to go back and try their lunch specials.

Finally some proper South American food in Auckland!

Gracias por todo!
Muchos besos!

5 star rating
by simon m.
16th February 2011

WOW ! what a fantastic place. The decor is superb and the food even better. Cant quite remember the name of the meal i had, but basically it was mexican style beef and it was awesome. With a couple of glasses of some superb Argentinian wine, an outstanding ceviche, the night was a winner. Fantastic hostess in Ceci, and Chef Luis make for a friendly, relaxed place to sample some authentic South American cuisine. (i’ll be enjoying that bottle of wine shortly!) Two Thumbs Up !

4 star rating
by Adele
13th January 2011

I was recommended to try this restaurant because I was looking for an authentic Latin American restaurant in Auckland. Besos Latinos did not disappoint. They have an interesting menu with authentic dishes and the decor fits perfectly as well. The staff were friendly, enthusiastic and helpful.

5 star rating
by Carolina T.
11th January 2011

just a fantastic place where to go! the food and service is amazing and the atmosphere great…
expect me to be coming back soon!!

thanks so much for a great evening.

5 star rating
by Maria P.
10th January 2011

My partner and I were looking for a real latinoamerican place where we could enjoy the same food we have at home, yes we are latinoamericans and we are from Argentina!!!
As soon as we entered the restaurant Cecilia welcomed us with a big smile and these two beautiful words “Buenos Dias” we sat down and started to read the menu and wine list… they had all we needed..homemade Argentinean empanadas and also Argentinean wines and beers! We also had taco pato and Arrachera nortena both Mexican plates and it was delicious! For dessert we had flan which is like a cream caramel and for whoever know what Dulce de leche is… believe it they have it!
As a latinoamerican person I hardly recommend you to come and try it because you won’t regret it.. from the very beginning till you leave you will be enchanted by the music, decoration, food and customer service!
Hope you like it! Gracias chicos y volvere!!! Chau!!!

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