We spent 6 weeks in Buenos Aires, eating out almost every night. If you know the name of a restaurant and want to see if we reviewed it, the best way to do that (I think) is to use the "Find (on this page)" function of your Edit Tab on your Web Browser.
If we had to list our absolute favorites, we'd say the following would be do not miss eating experiences (in the order of our preferences) in BA:
1. La Vineria de Gualterio Bolivar
3. Thymus Restaurant
4. Casa Felix
5. Tomo 1
6. Le Bistro
By the way, when we were there, the exchange rate was US$1 = AP$3.10. Okay, here are our reviews:
1. Our Favorites
1.1 Casa Saltshaker, The address in Barrio Norte/Recoleta is provided when you reserve at this puerta cerrada (closed door) restaurant. It only operates on Fridays and Saturdays. Fono: 15 6132 4146, web: www.casasaltshaker.com. AP$95 per person in cash. It’s an experience and it was fun. Dan Perlman is a talented cook. The menu was for El Ano Bisesto-Leap Year: We chose to have it with wine pairing. The 5 course menu started with Tacos de Frijoles Brincadores (Jumping Bean Tacos) with Callia Extra Brut 2007, next was an excellent Sopa con Humos (Jump Up Soup) served with a very good Quara Torretes 2007. The third course was Arrolladitos de Lechuga Lagartija Brincando (Leaping Lizard Lettuce Wraps) with Callita Alta Rosé de Syrah 2007. The main course was Cordero de Primavera Picante, Berenjenas Carbonizadas served with an Alfredo Roca Syrah 2004. The dessert was Tartas de Manteca Elefante Saltando (Leaping Elephant Butter Tarts) served with a San Felipe Tardio 2007. The group at our table of 8 was very enjoyable and Dan Perlman was a fine host with his partner Henry Tapia. Ratings:7.5/10 and 8/10
1.2 Restó, Montevideo 938 (Soc. Central de Arquitectos), Barrio Norte, fono: 4816-6711. It’s only open Thursday & Friday nights. Cash only. This restaurant is one of the highest rated restaurants in the Vidal Buzzi Restaurants de Buenos Aires, Guia 2007/2008 and for good reason. Aunque Maria Barrutia created the fine restaurant and now Guido Tassi is the head chef. It is a perfect size (only 28 seats), the service is excellent and the food is superb. There are only menus, no a la carte. We had a menu vegetarian (AP$50) and a menu with the quail (AP$65). We were allowed to mix and match starters and desserts from other menus and we shared everything. We had a Las Perdices Pinot Gris (AP$43) which was very good. The meal started with an offered glass of Argentine sparkling wine: a Chandon Brut Rose and an amuse bouche of smoked salmon on a toast. There were small tere flowers on top, which are from the onion family, and added a delicious taste and look. We started with a duck confit pate and a cherry tomato dish. The main of quail was probably the best prepared quail we have ever had anywhere. The main vegetarian dish was excellent too. We had a chocolate cake dessert and a tarte desert. We had 2 decaf coffees that came with a (too sweet) chocolate-caramel concoction. Our total bill was AP$163. Rating: 9/10
1.3 Mis Raices (de Juanita Posternak), Arribenos 2148, esquina Juramento y Mendoza, Belgrano, fono: 4784-5100, e-mail: email@example.com. AP$178 with a San Telmo Malbec (at AP$28) We ate a complete and delicious Eastern European, Jewish feast. The restaurant is in a locked, unmarked apartment (one floor up from street level). The duena is attentive and charming as is the rest of her wait staff. The meal started with chopped liver, kosher pickles, a mayonaise dip and bread. Next course was feathery light and delicious gefilte fish (and another rendition which was like bread for those who prefer that). It was served with a small apple salad and a coin-sized piece of intense, exquisite-tasting gel. This was followed by beet borcht and by potato knishes. Then there was the main course of meat stewed in a sweet & sour sauce, kasha, farfala, kishka and piroshski. The dessert was a blintzi filled with ricotta, accompanied by stewed fruit. And dessert was followed by another dessert of crunchy, buttery strudel. Of course it was too much food but a feast like this is not often available and is too good to pass up. Rating: 8/10
1.4 Cantina Chinatown, Mendoza 1700 y Arribeños, Barrio Chino, Belgrano, fono: 4783-4173. This is a very simple and popular restaurant; a reservation is advised unless you don’t mind waiting. We had one empanadas al vapor (dim sum type of thing), a kung po shrimp and a picante eggplant dish. Everything was very good and so was the service. Rating: 8/10
1.5 Tomo 1, Panamericano Hotel & Resort, Carlos Pellegrini 521 Entrepiso, fono: 4326-6698, web: www.tomo1.com.ar There is free valet parking for the restaurant at the hotel. We spent AP$238 for an excellent meal with excellent service (there's no cubierto). Ada and Eve Concaro are very gifted. There specialty is to use the best ingredients to make traditional dishes. The decor of the room is okay, not beautiful. The chairs are inappropriate for the room. We shared a bottle of wine, a starter, a main and a dessert. The portions were large and there was plenty of food for us. We ordered a Vina Amalia Malbec '06 (AP$67) and it was very good. Water was AP$7 x 2 = AP$14 -- so pretentious. There were 3 amuse bouche: a delicious tomato soup with a pesto cube, a chicken pate with a hint of anis, a croquette of corn. Our starter of fig + beetroot soup perfumed with marsala (sopa fria de higos y remolachas al vino marsala) was excellent (AP$32) and our suckling pig with grilled vegetables (AP$95) was also excellent (cochirillo asado con vegetales de estación), although the vegetables weren't creatively prepared or seasoned. For desert we had a marsala ice cream that had chestnuts and meringue in it. Also delicious. The maitre d' offered us a glass Argentine sparkling wine called Extreme Methode Champenoise which we enjoyed. The meal was nearly perfect. Rating: 8.5/10
1.6 Casa Felix, cocina vegetariana de autor inspirada en Latinoamerica. The address in Chacarita is provided when you reserve at this puerta cerrada (closed door) restaurant. It only operates on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. The telephone number is 4555-1882, the e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org and the web address is: www.diegofelix.com. The six course fixed price menu is AP$95 (wine is additional) and is a triumph of taste, artistic presentation and innovative, healthy ingredients. Diego Felix and his wife, Sanra, are gracious and personable hosts. Their home is comfortable and large (although the tables and chairs could be improved). We were invited to tour the house and had the apple I, a wine drink, in the garden where Diego is growing herbs that are difficult to find. Then we moved to tables in the courtyard under the stars. We started with a halibut tirado over Bolivian lime and a burrito causa. The Bolivian lime was a delicious discovery that Diego was enthusiastic about sharing. The next course was a grilled sopa Paraguaya and iris salad with lemon verbena infused oil. Most unusual dish that is only called a sopa for historic reasons. Then there was a melon granita, followed by the main course. It was a organic ricotta, wild rice and Portobello stuffed bell pepper with fresh tomato salsa. Very good. The dessert was a dulce de leche and coconut ice cream with a chocolate cookie. We drank a Carignan Familia Cecchin ’05 from Mendoza (AP$50) that was a varietal we had never had before. It was a little light for us. Wine pairings were also possible. We enjoyed talking to the couple at the table next to us and the whole meal was a delightful experience. Rating: 8.5/10
1.7 al Andalus, cocina mediterranea y ruta del la seda (de Ricardo Araujo), lunch and dinner Tuesday to Saturday, Godoy Cruz 1823, Palermo, fono: 4832-9286. The space is lovely and relaxing. Ricardo Araujo is a terrific host. His food is innovative and delicious. We shared wine, 2 starters, 1 pastela (b'steeya), 1 dessert and a Don David Malbec (AP$48). Our starters were a delicious and slightly spicy gazpacho (AP$16) and a fresh salmon that had been marinated (AP$25). The pastela was a very good b'steeya and easily large enough for 2 people. The mousse we had for dessert was delicious as was the Moroccan tea (AP$6). There was a 10% discount for paying in cash. Our total bill was AP$151 (with the discount). Rating: 8/10
1.8 Sinclair, Sinclair 3096, Palermo, fono: 4898-0283, web: www.sinclairresto.com.ar We spent AP$203 and shared a wine, a starter, a main and a dessert. The food was excellent. On a Monday night, we were the only diners until another couple arrived at 9:30 pm. The room is cold and the service was cold too (although correct). We ordered our favorite LaGarde Viognier (AP$70) and were offered an amuse bouche of salmon in a soy sauce. The bread was better than most. Our starter was a creative and unusual "sartén de huevos de campo con langostinos, salmon y vieyras, en salsa crema de hiebes frescas" (AP$39). It was like a soup and the kitchen split one order for us into two bowls. Our main was “langostinos frescos asados a la plancha con tarrina de legumbres” (AP$73) and we ordered an additional sautéed spinach. For dessert we had a "tocinillo del cielo con crema helada de limon sutil”. Also very good. Rating: 8/10
1.9 Aire Creacocina, Bonpland 1577, Hollywood Palermo, e-mail: email@example.com, web: www.airecreacocina.com.ar We had a very good meal at this neighborhood restaurant. The room is pleasant and the service was very good even after it got very busy (and very noisy). The chef is Neil McNeil and he does a good job. We shared a wine, starter and main. We also ordered an extra side dish. There was an amuse bushe of a roll of filo filled with tomato and mushrooms. Good. The bread was better than average and accompanied by a ricotta dip. Little cheese balls were in the bread basket which was nicely original. We ordered a Tocai Friulano Esccorihuel Gascon from Lujan de Cuyo that was recommended (AP$40). It is a varietal we haven't had before and is excellent. Our starter was a cocante de masa philo relleno de berenjenas, tomatos y queso fresco (AP$14). It was very good. Our main was lomitos de atun rojo sellados con semillas vinagreta de tomatoes y paltas y reducion balsamic (AP$25). The tuna wasn't as good as we had hoped and was overcooked. We ordered an extra side of rissoto but we weren't charged for the good dish. We had one dessert (AP$11) and 2 decaf coffees (AP$8). Even with 2 cubiertos (AP$7), our total was only AP$105. Rating: 7.5/10
1.10 Azema Exotic Bistro, Angel Carranza 1875, Palermo Hollywood, fono: 4774-4191. We had an excellent meal with excellent service. The room is nice but noisy. It was packed on a Wednesday night. The food was creative Southeast Asian and had authentic flavors. We spent AP$138 and had a delicious meal with very good service. There is a cover of AP$4 x 2 = AP$8. We shared a wine, 2 starters, a main and a dessert. We ordered an Altosur Sauvignon Blanc (AP$40) that the restaurant was promoting. It was very good. The bread was very good and the 3 sauces that came with it were quite tasty. We started with nem crudo which were good Vietnamese rolls (AP$14) and bouchons which were good dumplings al vapor (AP$14). We had the fish of the day which was filet in a coconut sauce. It was beautifully prepared and flavorful (AP$34). For dessert we had a maracuya Azema (AP$16) and 2 decaf coffees (AP$6 x 2 = AP$12). Mingardise came with the coffee and were very good. Azema greeted guests and came to our table to make sure everything was okay. We like that! Rating: 8.5/10
1.11 Christophe, Fitz Roy 1994, Palermo Hollywood, fono: 4771-1155. This is a nice neighborhood restaurant. The food was very good as was the service. We shared a wine, a starter and a main. Then we had 2 desserts. We ordered the promotional wine called La Luna Malbec de Finca de Anita '06 (AP$4) and were not impressed. There was an amuse bouche of chopped rabbit liver with pesto and it was delicious. We ordered a sautéed chicken liver dish, served with a salad as our starter (AP$12). It was very good. Our main was a rabbit that had been stewed in a ceramic pot with tarragon (AP$38). It was also very good. For dessert we had one chocolate moelleux (AP$25) and one marquis (AP$19). Both were very good. We had 2 decaf coffees (AP$16) and the house offered us an after dinner glass of sparkling wine. It was very enjoyable. Rating: 8/10
1.12 El Manto, Costa Rica 5801, Palermo Hollywood, fono: 4774-2409, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, web: www.elmanto.com. Open Monday to Sunday at night. We had a very good Armenian meal with nice service in a nice room. It was a little pricey but everything was tasty and well-prepared. We shared everything and our total bill was AP$239. There was a charge of AP$10 for cubierto. We ordered a Saint Felician Malbec ’05 (AP$80) which we love. For our starter we had the mezze plate (AP$32) which included chy kefte (raw minced beef served with muchugov) peas kefte (ground peas mixed with cracked wheat and spices), sarma (stuffed grape leaves), basterma (a very good rendition), iman bayndi (thin eggplant layers filled with tomatoes, onions and peppers). We also ordered a bamia pilaf (okra cooked in rice) for AP$32, topik (fritters coated in a thin legume batter and filled with walnuts, raisins and blanched onions) for AP$12, and a manti (soup with small canoe-shaped dough, filled with minced meat and coated with garlic scented youghurt) for AP$19.80. We ordered two desserts: one galaktoburico (phyllo pastery filled with vanilla custard and semolina, drenched in honey syrup) for AP$18 and a bride’s crown (phyllo pastery crown filled with chopped walnuts and almonds) for AP20. Finally we had one Armenian coffee (AP$5.50). We ordered too much but we wanted to try all these delicious dishes! Rating: 8/10.
1.13 Mosoq, Cultura Novoandina, El Salvador 5800, Palermo Hollywood, fono: 4775-7974, e-mail: email@example.com and web: www.mosoq.com. This is a very good Peruvian restaurant and the service was good too. The owner, Nicolas Vainberg was attentive and charming. There is a cubierto of AP$4 per person. We shared a tasty tiradito aji amarillo (which is a cebiche-type of dish), AP$23, a beautifully cooked, delicious, large piece of tuna (AP$45), a tabule made of quinoa (AP$11), a Dona Paula Malbec (AP$55) and a dessert (AP$14). Very enjoyable (although the music was often too loud and raucous) and the total bill was $AP$156. Rating: 7.5/10
1.14 Social Paraiso, Hondoras 5182, Palermo Hollywood, fono: 4831-4556, web: www.socialparaiso.com.ar (martes a sabados mediodia & noche, domingos mediodia) This is a very neighborhood-y restaurant and is good (but noisy). We shared a wine, two starters, a main and a dessert. We ordered a Altos Las Hornigos Malbec ’07 (AP$57) which we liked. The bread was good and came with a pimiento cream (a pepper neither of us like much). The starter of zucchini flowers was a disappointment (AP$21). The menu did not say that they would be breaded and fried; we don’t like them that way. They may as well have been a croquette of anything for as much taste of zucchini flower as they had. The next starter was a sartén of hongos (AP$19). It was tasty with a salad of sun-dried tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, but not great. The pork ribs for our main were fabulous, however (AP$35). They had a mustard/honey flavor and were served with sweet potatoes and a delicous barbeque sauce. For dessert we had a Láminas de manzana which was good (AP$15), a copa de tardia (AP$7) and 2 decaf coffees (AP$9). With the cubierto of AP$9, our total was AP$167. Rating: 7.0/10
1.15 Bo Bo (bourgeois bohemian), Guatemala 4882, Palermo Soho, fono: 4774-0505, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, web: www.bobohotel.com This might have been the best meal we have had in BA, except we didn't like the bar area in which the restaurant is located. The food, however, was fabulous as was the service. They start with two amuse bouche: one is a sparkling wine with berries and peaches. That is followed by a beetroot soup with goat cheese floating in it. Both were imaginative and tasty. The bread and bread sticks were accompanied by a lentil cream with garlic that was very good. We ordered a Saint Felician Malbec '06 (AP$68) and shared a starter and a main course. For our starter we had dumplings of duck confit in a jalapena syrup and came with a side salad (AP$27). The lamb loin was served with lentils and nuts, a sauce of carrot and spices and had an emulsion of yougurt, and coriander (AP$44) . It was a fabulous dish. We had a tart of delicious figs (AP$22) and 2 decaf coffees (AP$10). There was a cover of AP$6. Our total was AP$177 and it is too bad that the restaurant and the bar share the same space. The people who were there were loud and made our otherwise wonderful dinner less enjoyable. Rating: 8.5/10
1.16 Le Bistro, Faena + Universe, Martha Salotti 445, puerto Madero fono: 4010-9200, www.baenahotelanduniverse.com. The chef is Mariano Cid de la Paz and the food was fabulous and so was the service. The food was tasty, innovative and decidedly molecular. The music piped throughout the hotel and into the restaurant is inappropriate, horrible and seriously interfered with the enjoyment of the meal (even though the staff turned the volume down). The design of the dining room (and the hotel) by Philippe Starck is atrocious but doesn’t interfere with the enjoyment of the food. The price is over-the-top, however. We spent AP$574 and ordered 6 dishes. In addition, there were six amuse bouches which we loved! (We ordered 2 appetizers: crema de lenteja (AP$46) and pejerrey (AP$40). For mains we had trillas con veduras/red mullet AP$68, pechuga de pato AP$70. The kitchen divided each dish we ordered so that we both had tastes of everything. We ordered wine by the glass and each had 2 glasses of white wine (a chardonnay and a sauvignon blanc) and 1 of malbec. Each was an excellent Saint Felician at AP$35 each. We had two different desserts one Chocolate three ways (AP$38), one Bourbon three ways (AP$34). Before each dessert was served there were two pre-desserts offered: a slice of green apple with a cruchy crust and a plastic capsule with nut milk. We had 2 decaf coffees AP$14 x 2 = AP$28 and with them, were served mignardise of a white chocolate grissini and a jelly. (Water was AP$40—so pretentious). Rating: 8/10
1.17 Shi Yan, Tagle 2531, Recoleta, fono: 4804-0607. This restaurant is one of the highest rated restaurants in the Vidal Buzzi Restaurants de Buenos Aires, Guia 2007/2008 and for good reason. The food was truly authentic and the service was excellent. We had one very good hot and sour soup, one empanadas al vapor (dim sum), one moo shu pork with crepes, one kung pow chicken and tea. The total bill was AP$93 and the portions were huge. Another night we ate a huge order of fabulous crab, stir fried in ginger and spring onion. We followed that with a Peking duck, beautifully prepared and served by the Pato Chef. With a vegetable dish and tea the total was AP$124: a true bargain. Rating: 8/10
1.18 Demetria, Ramallo 2606, Saavedra fono: 4703-0020, and Von Wernick 3065, San Isidro, fono: 4765-7634, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, and web: www.demetria.com.ar (Chef Maximiliano Kaufer). We’ve been to both locations of this restaurant for lunch and to San Isidro for dinner. This restaurant describes itself as “naturista” or “comida natural” and it is! Saavedra is set in a garden area. Both serve food that is exceptionally good and that “feels” healthy. It is not just vegetarian; it serves meat, fish and chicken. It was packed on a Sunday afternoon. Fortunately we had a reservation. The room is simple but comfortable and pleasant. Our server was not as attentive as we would have liked but we were laid back on a Sunday afternoon. We had lomitos de seitán (gluten patties) en salsa de portobellas y champignones, con puré de batatas ahumadas, envueltos de vegetabes grillados y queso de cabra (AP$29) and strudel de espinaca, quinoa y neuces sobre crocantede mijo y aruki, puré de calabaza, jengibre y crema de citricos (AP$29). While we wouldn’t order seitán/gluten again, the sauce was very tasty. The strudel was excellent. There is a salad bar that is included in the price and has lots of interesting ingredients for your salad. For dessert we had one dampfnudeln (bunuelos dulce) de ampapoloa con damascos en alimbar, helado de arandanos y crema de vainilla (AP$16) which was unusual and very good too. We returned to try other dishes at this very unusual and good restaurant. Our total, incuding 2 servicios mesas at AP$10, for our first lunch was AP$83. Rating: 8/10
1.19 Comedor Nikkai, Av. Independencia 732, San Telmo, fono: 4300-5448 (estacionamiento gratuito at Independencia 746). It’s open Monday through Thursday 12 to 15 and 19:30 to 23. On Friday it’s open from 12 to 15 and 20 to 24. Saturday its only open for dinner from 20 to 24. We were very pleased with to find a fairly authentic Japanese restaurant in BA. We had one kakiague udon and, while the noodles were not authentic udon, the taste and the vegetables were good. There was supposed to be shrimp and calamares in it but there were only tiny pieces of calamares. The Makunouchi bento box was great. The tea was included in the price. Dinner was a reasonable AP$65. Rating: 8/10
1.20 La Vineria de Gualterio Bolivar, Bolivar 865 entre Independenica and Estadoes Unidos, San Telmo, fono: 4361-4707. This restaurant provides the kind of dining experience that we dream about even though the place and the decor aren't great. The food is imaginative, creative, delicious and beautifully presented. The service is a delight and the chef, Alejandro Digilio, is attentive and charming. The space is barely comfortable enough (it is as if buses are driving through it) and would be better if curtains were on the windows. It is fun, however! All four of us are devotées now. We were offered 3 different amuse bouches: flat breadsticks to drip with olive oil and then with one of 3 different preparations to sprinkle on top of them: salt, salami and herbs, also tempura vegatables with basil and dill, and an avocado dish with onions in a small shot glass. Even though all of the dishes are served in small portions (at AP$17 each), we ordered 2 of each for each couple to share, except for the pea soup and desserts. We ordered 4 soups and were happy we did. The other dishes we ate with gusto were: papa huevo trufa con espuma de papa, bondiola, reduction de citricos y vegetales, sardines with figs, mollejas, calabazas, y aire de najanja, and carrillera, consume ahumado, cochinillo ciruelas, and bife, chimichurri, tomatoes asados, besugo y jugo. How we also ate 4 desserts is answered with how good they were. Go and enjoy a talented chef. Rating: 8.5/10
1.21 Thymus Restaurant, Lerma 525 esquina Malabia, Villa Crespo, fono: 4772-1936, e-mail: email@example.com, web: www.thymusrestaurant.com.ar We had a lovely dining experience on a calm Monday night. We sat downstairs in a room by ourselves amongst the art work of Martín Vegara. It is comfortable but not lavish. (The terrace is used only by special arrangement.) The front room had tables of large groups so we were glad to be separate. We shared wine, a starter, a main and a desert and everything was delicious and served well. The bread and the dips were a cut above most other restaurants. We ordered the Lagarde Malbec (AP$60) and thought it was excellent. For our starter, we ordered the terrina de conejo; the rabbit was very good with a mustard sauce (AP$30). For our main we shared the magret de pato (AP$50). It was beautifully cooked and the one order that we shared was too much for us to finish. We had a maracuya mousse for dessert and it was delicious (AP$22). We had 2 decaf coffees and delicious mignardise were served with it (AP$6 x 2 =AP$12). The total bill with the cubierto of AP$6 x2 =AP$12 came to AP$186. Rating: 8.5/10
2. Good Restaurants
2.1 Tandoor, Cocina de la India, Laprida 1293, Barrio Norte, fono: 4821-3676, web: www.tandoor.com.ar We were surprised and delighted with this restaurant. It is pretty from the outside and pleasant inside. There were several tables of Indians too. We didn’t order much but it was plenty for the two of us. There was a cubierto of AP$8 for us and they served naan bread with a mint dip. We ordered vegetables tikka (AP$13) as a starter and that was a bit disappointing. The main of bhuna ghosh (AP$34) more than made up for the starter. It was appropriately spiced and quite tasty. The arroz basmati (AP$9) was good. The apam (crepes) were unusual and were good for sopping up the sauce from the bhuna ghosh. The dessert of gajar halwa was quite good. We ordered 2 masala chai (AP$14) and they were good too. Our total bill was AP$94. Rating: 7/10
2.2 Eshel Resto & Café Kosher, Tucuman 727, Centro, fono: 4393-2442. Only open for breakfast and lunch. The potato knish was authentic and very good. We didn’t eat enough to rate it but we would go back.
2.3 Lotus Neo Thai, Ortega y Gasset 1782, 1st floor, Las Canitas (de Cecilia Carena), fono: 4771-4449, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, web: restaurantelotus.com.ar This is a very good rendition of Thai. The food was tasty and the service was good. We liked the decor too. We shared a Pad Thai that used ordinary basil and lemon instead of Thai basil (easily found in the markets in Barrio Chino) and limes (also easily found). We also had a lamb in green curry that was good. The chili heat was appropriate. With cubierto and tea the bill was AP$97. Rating: 7.5/10
2.4 Muelle de Pescadores, Av. Costanera Norte (Rafael Obligado y Av. Sarmiento), Las Canitas, fono: 4773-1181, e-mail: email@example.com This restaurant says that it is “un lugar único en Buenos Aires” and it is; we never saw another restaurant right on the water like this one! The building is really attractive and it is sitting in the river. The people who work there are lovely and the salad we had was good. Based on the salad alone, we really can’t rate the food, however.
2.5 El Jaial Oriental Kosher Food, Tucuman 2620, Once, fono: 4961-0541. We luckily stumpled on this small take-away restaurant that also has a few tables. The dish of the day was pastrami which they described as “incredible”. It was the best pastrami I think I have ever eaten. It was served with farfel (ususual and good). This was an amazing place. We tried the falafel, tahini and houmous, as well as the kibbeh and a knish. All very good. The rating is for the food only, not the surroundings: 8/10.
2.6 Caracoles para Da Vinci, the address provided when you reserve. It is sometimes in Palermo, Chacarita or Belgrano. Fono: 15 5463-5210, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org web: www.caracolescatering.com.ar This is a very special dining experience, one of the puertas cerradas. A couple of times a month, the chefs of this catering company open their home to guests for dinner. The meal is 6 courses, fixed price of AP$45 each person, plus a AP$2 per person cover. Water, wine and dessert are extra. The space in which they served when we went is a large living room area with a high ceiling. There are some regular height tables and chairs but many people are seated at couches with a coffee table from which they are supposed to eat. (We had asked for a regular table and chairs and were given that.) The 6 courses were innovative and unusual. Each month they are different. We ordered a Trumpter malbec which the chefs also recommended for the meal. We started with three small pots of eggplant dip like Babaganush, paté and hummos. The next course was tomato stuffed with couscous and a spoonful of marinated tongue in a green, mayonaise sauce. The third course was mexican tastes: a sundae cup filled first with a rice, then with black bean and topped with shreded meat and onions. The fourth course was a spaetzle with sun-dried tomatoes. The fifth course was a Cazuela norteña which was a stew of meat and corn from the north of the county. The sixth dish was a chicken curry in a bed of mashed potatoes. We chose to have the tasting dessert of 3 different items. It was all enjoyable. The only things that would have made the evening more enjoyable were if the chefs came out to greet the guests to explain what they were doing. Also we would have liked it if the other guests were more accessable for a conversation. It just isn’t set up for that. Otherwise it was an enjoyable evening with good food and good service. Rating: 7/10
2.7 Club Museo Renault, Alcorta 3399, fono: 4802-9626, (Walter Boaglio), e-mail: email@example.com, web: www.mrenault.com.ar. We've had two delicious (light) gnocchis/noquis de calabaza lunches. There is an assortment of breads and dips that come with the cubierto of AP$7 per person. We also had two coffees that are accompanied by tiny cakes. We spent AP$56 and thought it was a fun place for a very good lunch with the beautiful people. Rating: 7/10.
2.8 Croque Madame, Av. del Libertador 1902 (Museo de Arte Decorativo), Palermo, fono: 4806-8639, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. We had one brusquetta hongos saltedos AP$18 and one jugo naranja AP$9. The place, the service and the food were very good. We had a pizza there for our second lunch. Also very good. The setting is special and really delightful. Rating: 7.5/10
2.9 Sarkis, Cocina de Medio Oriente, Thames 1101 esquina Jufre, Palermo, fono: 4772-4911. We had many of our favorite Middle Eastern dishes at this Armenian restaurant and DM enjoyed them. Some of the dishes like the basterma and the sesos al provencal were outstanding. I thought that the stuffed grape leaves needed more seasoning and rice. The kefta was very good, the hommos needed more lemon and garlic, but overall the dining experience was pleasant and very good. We ordered lots of little dishes, a bottle of wine and 2 desserts (which were also very good). The total was AP$113. Rating: 7/10
2.10 El Trapiche, Paraguay 5099, esq. Humboldt, fono: 4772-7343 (estacionamiento sin cargo Humboldt 2217). This is a traditional restaurant and while the menu is extensive, it is probably best for meat and chicken. The service was excellent. We were advised not to order too much because the portions are large (and they were). We shared a Trapiche Malbec, an appetizer, a main and a dessert. We started with an order of asparagus in lemon and butter. Then we had the medium-sized portion of conejocito (small rabbit) and a dessert of zabaglione with raspberries. The asparagus weren’t fresh but were good. The rabbit wasn’t juicy but was also good. The zabaglione was fabulous. The total was AP$106. Rating: 7/10
2.11 Standard, Fitzroy 2203, esquina Guatemala, Palermo Hollywood, fono: 4779-2774, e-mail: email@example.com The room is casual and pleasant. It was packed on a Wednesday night. Even so, our server was very good. We shared a starter, a main and a half bottle of Trapiche Malbec (AP$31). There is a choice on the menu of medium sized portions and we chose a medium sized starter and the daily special of lamb cooked in the oven (AP$46). The starter was a very good ravioli of lamb (AP$20) and the main was excellent. We also had a side order of vegetables (AP$7). There was a cover of AP$3 per person. Our total bill was AP$110. Rating: 7/10
2.12 Sudestada, Fitzroy & Guatemala, Palermo Hollywood, fono: 4776-3777 (cultura palito). We had one fixed price lunch which consisted of a dumpling appetizer and a noodle dish. Both dishes were tasty but the lunch took forever to be served. We like to share but the wait staff said we couldn’t so we didn’t. Oh well. If you don’t mind the wait the food was very tasty. AP$23. Rating: 5.5/10
2.13 Restaurant - Confiteria Jardin Japones, Av. Casares 2966, esq. Av. Berro, fono: 4800-1322 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (open 12 to 16 for lunch and 19:30 to midnight for dinner) . We had an udon soup and, although the noodles weren't authentic, the taste and ingredients were excellent. AP$33. The tea was made with toasted rice and was very good too. AP$14. Rating: 7/10
2.14 La Marisqueria, Av. Las Heras 2745, Recolata, fono: 4804-6400. We chose the oysters and fish from the market area and ate upstairs. It was unusual to find this kind of assortment and to be able to eat there as well. The oysters and the trillas/red mullet were very good. We had them with olive oil, garlic and parsley and they were not overcooked on the plancha/griddle. Rating: 7/10
2.15 Piegari Restaurante, 1042 Posadas, La Recova, fono: 4326-9430, web: www.piegari.com.ar, The Four Seasons was able to get us a reservation on a Saturday night for a less than desirable table. It was full but not just of English speakers. The waiter warned us that the portions were large so we shared a Famiglia Bianchi malbec, a cannelloni bolognesa, an escalopines marsala and a zabaglione. We couldn’t finish any of the dishes except the excellent zabaglione! We thought that the food was very good and the service was excellent. We were surprised and delighted that the cannelloni bolognesa was filled with spinach and contained no meat. The cheesy cream sauce was a little too rich but good. The escalopines marsala were not made with veal/tenera but was good, if a little chewy, nonetheless. The total was AP$320 (about double what we usually spend.) Rating: 7/10
2.16 Ciudad Exquisita, Arribenos 2278, Belgrano, fono: 4706-1857. We had one hot and sour soup which was authentic and very good and one noodle soup which was also good. But we didn’t eat enough to rate the restaurant.
3. Restauants We Would Not Recommend
3.1 Cua-Cuá, Pedro Goyeno 51, Caballito, fono: 4926-1933, e-mail: email@example.com and web: www.cuacua.com.ar We went with the Ex pat connection It was AP$70 per person for a parilla with too much food that was only okay. Rating: 5.5/10
3.2 Oviedo, Beruti 2602 y Equador, Barrio Norte, fono: 4822-5415, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, web: www.oviedoresto.com.ar. This is supposed to be one of the best restaurants in town but we were under-whelmed. We didn’t look at the prices because we were being hosted. But it was expensive. Because our hosts knew the staff, our service was attentive and our table was good even though the place was packed (with Francis Ford Coppola no less). Our hosts ordered starters for the table to share: a specialty of the house—a tortilla (not tasty) and a salad (served undressed, without putting oil and vinegar on the table for us to use ourselves either). Three of us ordered the atun rojo which was dry even though it was rare inside. It was served with what was supposed to be wasabe but tasted like mashed potatoes colored green. Under the tuna was a sauce that tasted strangely like a meat sauce. Not a successful dish. For dessert we had a zabaglione with figs which was very good. Rating: 5/10
3.3 Sucre, Sucre 676, Belgrano, fono: 4782-9082, e-mail: email@example.com, web: www.sucrerestaurant.com.ar (Chefs: Fernando Trocacca and Gonzalo Sacot, Pastry Chef: Pamela Villar). Our second dinner in BA was at Sucre. We had asked the concierge at the Four Seasons for a recommendation for a restaurant with creative, modern food and they got us a reservation on that Sunday night at Sucre so we went. The space is large and modern, with a high ceiling. Although most of the tables are very close together, we enjoyed talking to the couple next to us (who spoke English). Our first impression of the restaurant was not auspicious. The woman "at the front of the house" seating guests was speaking to a colleague and kept us waiting at the door. She did not apologize for the delay. We like to share a bottle of wine, an appetizer, a main and a dessert and we did that at Sucre with no problem. The food was very good (but not great). Unfortunately the timing from the kitchen and the co-ordination with the wait staff was terrible. The kitchen was too fast and the wait staff was too inattentive. The appetizer was a cold, seared tuna in a sweet-soy broth (sellado atun rojo). It had crunchy green mango and papaya cubes on top. It a was very good but it came before the wine did. We had a salmon rosado for our main and it was good but not as flavorful as we would have liked. Again, it arrived before the wait staff had put silverware and plates for the main on the table. Oh well. For dessert we had something described on our bill called “Budin tibio” but which neither of us can remember. Our wine was an excellent Lagarde viognier (for AP$52/US $16). There was a cover charge of AP$12 for the 2 of us. The restaurant was full and almost entirely with English speakers. That is kind of off-putting. Together with the bad service, it is probably a once in a lifetime experience. The total bill was AP$183/US$58. Rating: 6/10
3.4 Haiku Sushibar, Congresso 1618, Belgrano, fono: 4789-0911, web: www.sushihaiku.com.ar. The Restaurants de Buenos Aires Guia 2007-2008 by Vidal Buzzi gives this restaurant a 24/30 rating for food. We would give it a 20/30 or less. They charge cubierto of AP$3.50 each and provide a small salad to start. We had 2 miso soups (AP$10 each) which were good but not hot enough. Then we had 2 mains a teppan de verdura/vegetable stir fry (AP$27) and a salmon haiku sakana (AP$42). They were good. For dessert we had one mousse de maracuya (AP$15). There was a 5% discount for paying in cash. Our total was AP$115 (after the discount). Rating: 5/10
3.5 Bio, Humboldt 2199, esquina Guatemala, Palermo Hollywood, fono: 4774-3880, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, web: www.biorestaurant.com.ar While it says it is open all day, the complete menu for dinner is not available until 8:30 p.m. There is a cover charge of AP$2.50 per person. The space is small and cute. Inside the uncomfortable wooden, straight-backed chairs have a cushion on the seat. The service for the whole restaurant was done efficiently by one young woman. The food, unfortunately, is not tasty. The best dish that we ordered was an appetizer of blini with pumpkin purée, a little spinach, a little goat cheese and a walnut on top. The canolones for the main were not good and neither was the wok tofu. We ordered the house special tea (AP$11) and it had too much lemon taste. The total bill was AP$94. Rating: 5.5/10.
3.6 Dashi, Fitz Roy 1613 esq. Gorriti, Palermo Hollywood, fono: 4776-3500, e-mail: email@example.com, web: www.dashi.com.ar. There was a cover of AP$5 per person. We could only get two stools at the sushi bar because we arrived without a reservation. We had an udon tempura which we thought would be a soup. It had a little juice, lots of julienned vegetables, no tempura that we have ever seen (just a crackly, deep-fried cracker type thing) and wasn’t made with udon noodles. We also had merluza negra which came with a creamy marisco sauce and rice made with cheese. We also ordered a yasaitame vegetables that was a large plate of (yet more) julienned vegetables. This came with a good plain rice. We had one beer. The fusion didn’t work for us. It was neither good Japanese or good nouvelle cuisine. The total bill was AP$119. Rating: 5.5/10.
3.7 Green Bamboo, Costa Rica 5802, Hollywood Palermo, fono 4775-7050, web: www.green-bamboo.com.ar. There was a cover of AP$4 per person and we were told that we couldn’t have any of the tables we wanted by the window (although we were the first ones there and we had made a reservation). We hate to be told that a table we want has been reserved but we didn’t quiz the “front of the house” guy as to why our reservation was for a worse table than the others. We were given a table on the aisle next to the bar. And, when the place filled up, the people on the bar stools were in our faces (literally). We ordered a Vietnamese roll (not fried), a marinated fish cube dish and, when we thought we were still hungry, a Thai curry that came in a coconut shell (without rice). So we ordered rice separately. None of the dishes had authentic tastes (they all lacked fish sauce, for instance) and all were too bland. We asked for chili to spice up the curry. The marinated fish was lightly breaded, which surprised us. It came with two sauces, neither of which was particularly tasty. The green tea was a bit bitter but we added hot water until it was acceptable. Another once in a lifetime experience. AP$131. Rating: 5/10
4. Bad Restaurants
4.1 Keum Kang San, Comida Tipica Coreana, Mendoza 1650, 1er. piso, fono: 4784-1313, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, web: www.keumkangsan.com.ar This is by far the worst Korean meal we have ever had. The menu is almost indecipherable. We wanted to have the traditional bibimbap with all of the small dishes that ordinarily are offered. At this restaurant the bibimbap comes with nothing else. In order to have the small dishes, we figured out that you have to order a "menu". So we ordered a menu with "dak" that was described by the waiter as chicken. The bibimbap was not hot enough and the rice wasn't crispy. It did not come with the traditional hot paste that you add and mix. But we eventually got that. The chicken wasn't tasty but we added it to the bibimbap and it was adequate. The menu came with a dessert and we chose the red bean. The cubierto was 2 x 3 = AP$6 and the tea was AP$8.50. The total cost was AP$92.50. Rating: 2/10
5. Cafes y Ice Cream Shops
5.1 La Biela, Av. Quintana 596, Recoleta, fono: 4804-0449. This is a large, traditional café and restaurant with a beautiful patio on the park. Unfortunately, the smokers dominate. We had one salad and it came promptly, as requested. AP$23.50. Rating: 6.5/10
5.2 Jeronimo San Telmo, Paseo Colon 839, San Telmo, fono: 4307-4840. Nothing special
5.3 Gran Cafe Tortoni, Av de Mayo 829, Centro, fono: 4342-4328, web: www.cafetortoni.com.ar . This is a tourist must. Founded in 1858, it's beautiful and traditional—from BA’s belle époque era. We had a spinach tart that wasn't seasoned enough but the experience was perfect anyway. With coffee and a churos, it cost AP$42. Not rated for food.
5.4 Las Violetas, Av. Rivadavia 3899, fono: 4958-7387. It’s a beautiful, old-fashioned café. Unfortunately the sweets we had were awful. Not rated for food.
5.5 Persicco, Juramento 2360, Belgrano The location was great, near a plaza and on Saturday afternoon it was very pleasant to sit outside. The tartinnes special with cheese and tomato was good and cost AP$18. The ice cream is supposed to be the best in BA but it was not too good--couldn't tell what the flavor was. Rating: 5/10
5.6 Victoria Cream, Las Heras esquina Aguero. The ice cream didn’t taste like the flavor was supposed to taste. Rating: 2/10
6. Barrio Chino Supermarkets
(We have been looking for a place to buy fresh fish that we can prepare at home because what we’ve had in restaurants has not been satisfying. We were told to look in Chinatown and we found nice whole fish.)
6.1 Nueva Casa China, Arribeños 2257, fono: 4706-0408. This is an excellent supermarket with great looking (whole) fish and fresh crab. It has stuff from all over the world.
6.2 Another supermarket, Mendoza 1661.This large supermarket also has a large selection of fresh fish.
7. Traditional Markets
7.1 El Galpon Farmer's Market, "Centro Comunal de Abastecimiento de Alimentos Agroecológics". It's got a website: www.elgalpon.org.ar. It's every Wed. from 9-13 and Sat. from 9-15. They have a parking area in front of the building at Federico Lacroze 4171. And they have a phone no. during the hours that the market is open: 4554-9330. It’s very limited and doesn’t have meat or fish.
7.2 Farmer's Market, Palermo at El Salvador & Medrano. It is very small but has fruit, vegetables, cheese and fish. Bought a whole besugo/red sea bream to make at home for AP$12 and it was delicious.
7.3 Mercado Central, off of the Autopista del Sur, Exit 16. It's mostly wholesale but there is a part that's open to the public. Not worth the long trip.
7.4 Mercado Progreso, Subte "A" at the Primera Junta stop - Avenida Rivadavia 5430, Subte "A" at the Primera Junta stop. www.mercadodelprogreso.com.ar Open until 2 pm in the afternoon and then again at 5 pm It’s a building with lots of small vendors.
8. Gourmet Markets
8. Valenti, Salguero 2691, Recoleta, tel 4511- 6555, Delivery: 0800-88-82536, web: www.valenti.com.ar. Nice cheeses, olives and other deli specialities.
9. Restaurant Outside of Buenos Aires
Near San Isidro
9.1 Demetria, Von Wernick 3065, San Isidro, fono: 4765-7634, e-mail: email@example.com, and web: www.demetria.com.ar (Chef Maximiliano Kaufer). This restaurant describes itself as “naturista” or “comida natural” and it is! We have been to both locations and both are delightful, as is the food. For lunch we shared one menu (which includes the salad bar), one dessert and two coffees. The total bill was AP$39. The food is creative and delicious. The service is very good. Rating: 8/10
9.2 Rosa Negra, Dardo Rocha 1918 (B1640FSX) Martinez, Buenos Aires, fono: 4717-2685, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, web: www.rosanegraargentina.com.ar. The food and service were very good. We spent AP$355 for 6 people with 1 bottle of Salentein Malbec (AP$60). The fish was very well prepared (unusual in our experience) and everyone was happy. (The detail: servicio de mesa 6 x AP$5.50 = AP$33, agua 3 x 6 = AP$18, lomito de cerdo AP$31, salmon del Pacifico AP$35, trucha del sur AP$33, Langostinos AP$35, ravioles AP$27, Pato ensalada AP$21, Sabayon AP$18, cappuccino 2 x 10 = AP$20, cafe doble AP$9, 3 cafe AP$15) Rating 7.5/10