We spent 8 days in El Calafate. We thought that the prices in El Calafate were about AP$30/US$10 more than at comparable restaurants in other touristy towns in Argentina (such as S.C. de Bariloche) and not as good, unfortunately. In high season, it is important to have a reservation for dinner. Ohterwise, you have to wait to eat until 11 p.m. Here are our reviews: (Exchange rate AP$3.15 = 1 US$)
1 Our Favorites:
1.1 El Puesto, Gob Moyano & 9 de Julio, fono: (02902) 491 620, We spent AP$169/ US$54 and thought the food and service was a cut above the rest of the restaurants in town. We went there twice. The first time we had two regional dishes: lentejas (AP$28) and a cazuela (AP$30). Both were very good. (The second time our bill was: Cubierto 2x4=AP$8, ensalada AP$28, pasta main AP$29, pasta main AP$32, dessert AP$15, wine AP$40, agua AP$10, after dinner wine AP$15.)
2 Good Restaurants:
2.1 Casimiro Bigua, Av. del Libertador 993, El Calafate AP$175/US $55. Like many restaurants in El Calafate, the tables are packed together, bistro style. Fortunately, at this restaurant, there was a delightful couple sitting next to us who we enjoyed talking to. We all agreed that the cordero/lamb at a restaurant in Punta Arenas called Puerto Viejo (O'Higgins 1166, Punta Arenas, fono: (56-61)225-103) was much better than it was at Casimiro Bigua. (Our bill was: Cubierto 2x6=AP$12, Alamos Malbec AP$45, Agua AP$12, mix achuras AP$42, cordero AP$46, verduras grilladas AP$18)
2.2 Estillo Campo Chinese Buffet, 9 de Julio y Gob Gregores, fono: 492-440. This kind of Chinese buffet is a phenomenon we have only encountered in Patagonia. They do a good job. We spent AP$176/US $55 for a Christmas Eve special buffet. (Buffet was AP$60x2=AP$120 + wine + beer+water.)
2.3 Pascasio, 25 de Mayo 52, El Calafate The rabbit was a bit dry. AP$198/ US$63. (Our bill was: Cubiertos AP$5 x2 =AP$10, conejo asado AP$49, ravioli de verdura AP$38, puerros AP$15, Agua AP$6, Terra Malbec AP$50, helado AP$18 + cafe AP$12)
2.4 The restaurant at Xelena Deluxe Suites, René Favaloto 3500, El Calafate, Patagonia, Argentina, fono: (54-2902) 496-201, e-mail: email@example.com, web: www.xelena.com We had a very nice meal, in a large airy room. And the service was good too.
3 Disappointing Restaurants
3.1 La Cocina, Libertador 1245, fono: 491-758. We had lunch there and didn’t like the waiter’s “attitude”. (Our bill was: Cubierto 2x3=6, salad AP$12, quiche AP$9, water AP$5 = AP$32)
3.2 La Posta, Hotel Los Alamos, Gobernador Moyano & Bustillo, (9405) El Calafate, fono: (02902) 49 1144. We spent AP$189/ US $60 and we were not impressed. We told the waiter we wanted the rack of lamb rare/juicy, etc. and it came dry and overcooked. While we sent it back and got a better version the second time around, we found the service uneven, generally. (Our bill was: water AP$5x2=AP$10, Tempus Malbec AP$75, capelettis cordero AP$36, rack de cordero AP$52, verdura grillada AP$8, cafe chico x 2 = AP$8)
3.3 Parrilla Mi Viejo, Av. Del Libertador 1111, El Calafate We spent AP$161/US$51 and there was nothing special about this parrilla.