RESTAURANTS YOU CAN'T MISS IN BUENOS AIRES
What do you think of when you think of Buenos Aires? Personally when I think of the countries capital, I think of the night life, wine, tango music, wonderful football (Boca and River Plate), very passionate people, a strong history, beautiful sights, and I also think of a beautiful mix of Spanish and Italian foods.
Some of you may know that in our province of Alberta, Canada we take our beef pretty seriously. In fact it is actually somewhat renown in the world, but not nearly as much as the steak haven that is Argentina.
Third highest in beef exports behind only Brazil and Australia, and second in the world for consumption (depending on certain data). These South Americans obviously know how to cook but also, most importantly, how to eat and dine. Every restaurant feels like a 5-star establishment so it is easy to see why Argentinians love the night.
Going for a huge mid-day lunch or a late night dinner is always a treat when you're on your travels, but in Buenos Aires it seems more like a requirement. Whether you're in the mood for an asado, some pizza, or maybe even some delicious empanadas there will always be something on the menu that suits everyone.
Buenos Aires is another city that I would claim doesn't sleep as the Argentinian people like to enjoy dinner out many nights of the week. Because of this, restaurants are even more competitive with one another and, for consumers, this is some of the best news we could hear.
The first restaurant I would like to bring to your attention is a located in the area of San Telmo called Don Ernesto. A perfect place to stop when you want a broad menu for lunch or dinner. The outside is a very neat looking building with a strong red colour so it stands out a bit more than the surrounding buildings beside (this has changed since I went in 2012, and, in fact, it looks a lot nicer).
The inside of this restaurant is what really stands out with the checkered flooring and the graffiti walls with the flags of all the nations strung around. A couple televisions help set the mood, especially when the local football is on.
Aesthetics are as important as anything, but nothing means more in a restaurant than the food they can deliver. Don Ernesto can deliver.
When I went with my dad we had to try the their house Parrilla which is a kind of meat platter with all the famous meats of Argentina such as bife de chorizo e vazio which is a cut of the cow that is closest to the stomach, and is overlooked in most countries (I don't really understand why because it is delicious). It also came with a simple salad of lettuce and tomato with a balsamic vinegar and olive oil. We both got it rare (the only way I think steak should be) and it was absolute perfection. It had that melt in your mouth kind of greatness that we had already come to expect by then.
The wait staff are also excellent and very professional, but the setting is nice and relaxed even though it was a packed house. In my mind it was easily a memorable dinner and one I wont forget, so if you're heading down to Buenos Aires this is a must do.
One of our last dinners was spent at a fancier Spanish outlet called Palacio Espanol in Puerto Madero. Even now, I don't think I am doing it any justice by just calling it fancy.
The building looks a little more rustic on the outside but is actually pretty massive, and was apparently a casino before the renovations. With high ceilings and gold chandeliers the mood that was set was one of those you would see from a 1950's movie.
To be completely honest, I think this was the most proper dinning experience I have ever experienced. The waiters were in red suits and had towels draped over their arms. All the guests were in there finest dress as well. It was a suit and tie and dresses environment.
Then there was my father and I, both in regular shirts and pants. We didn't look horrible, but were obviously nowhere near what the dress code seemed to be. We went a little earlier (around 9:00pm) than the usual rush, which would occur just a bit later than that, so we were one of four tables in there at the time. Our waiter was grateful for that fact when he accidentally broke his cork screw while trying to uncork our bottle of wine. We considered it a minor deal, but he seemed so embarrassed and had to send over another waiter to take care of the bottle before he came to take our orders.
We had lots of time to decide on what to eat and I ended up going for the pollo al estragon (chicken in cream), deciding against the restaurants specialty of seafood. After we ordered we we served our first course which was again a simple kind of salad that had lettuce, tomato, cucumber and shredded radish with the same balsamic and olive oil dressings.
The second course came out and it was a platter of mixed meats and cheeses. Of course it was delicious. Our main came out after about an hour. We were very happy with our choices, so much so that we didn't realize how full we were before finishing our meals.
That being said, there is always room for dessert! I ordered a vanilla and chocolate ice cream with hard bits of toffee in it dashed off with chocolate sauce... I know right? All in all it was a fantastic dinning experience and it easily makes it's way on to my recommendations.
DON JULIO PARRILLA
One restaurant that I wish I went to was Don Julio Parrilla. Hiding in the Palermo area and sitting at number one right now in Buenos Aires, this restaurant seems to know exactly what they are doing.
Don Julio Parrilla has that old-school charm. To me this means that they will know exactly what to suggest for your preference, and you won't leave disappointed.
It has been claimed claim that they have the best meat in the city, so I'm kicking myself for not getting to try this. But, for this kind of glamour you know you'll have to pay a pretty penny to get in there, and reservations will almost be mandatory. I would advise to phone ahead before you go to make sure you get to try one of the best steaks in the southern hemisphere.
No matter where you go in Buenos Aires you will eat well. Whether it's a street vendor or a dine-in restaurant I don't think you can get a bad meal. It sets a high standard of dining, even with the smaller venues, and it makes me feel like maybe we are a bit behind here in Canada. The prices were very reasonable, but more importantly for the service you received it was truly excellent. You shouldn't have to walk into a second tier dinner and have that feeling that you are not as important or that you should be paying over the top prices for good service. I will definitely go back to Argentina because the country and people are absolutely beautiful, but the food and service is just icing on the cake.