We passed through Salta, Argentina for a second time in 2008 driving to Bolivia and then on to Perú. The following is a list of the restaurants where we ate; our favorites are listed first (exchange rate AP$3.09 = US$1):
1. Jose Balcarce, Mitre esquina Necochea, fono: (54-387) 422-3266, http://www.cocinadealtura.com.ar/jbalcarce.swf The first time we went, we spent AP$120 + tip. This is a 1 star restaurant in the YPF Guia and it lived up to it's rating. It describes its food as novo andina and it was. The room is nice and the service was good. It is a restaurant that allows smoking, however. Fortunately, it was not crowded and no one was smoking. There was a cubierto of AP$5 per person which was waived if paying cash. A delicious liver pate was provided with the bread. We shared everything. We had a Fabre Montmayour Reserva from Mendoza (AP$45) which was good, not great. We started with mollejas, tomates y cebollas asadas y habas (broad beans), chauchas (green beans) salteados (AP$14). It was a very good dish. Then we shared a llama en pan de quinoa y aire de maiz y encerradito de coca y crema de habas (broad beans), papas oca y lisa (AP$46) which was an excellent dish. We couldn't find a dessert that we wanted. The next time we went we spent AP$102 + tip. We shared Don David Malbec '05 El Esteco Cafayate (AP$40) which we liked. We also shared the ravioles de cordero, salsa de cordero (AP$26) that were good as well as a cordero y hierbas silvestres y asserrin de mani y papines andinos y hebas (AP$36). For our second dinner only one other couple arrived around 10 pm. Again we loved the liver paté that came with the bread. We paid in cash so the cubierto was waived. Unfortunately, the cordero in the oven was dry and tough. Otherwise we enjoyed the meal.
2. In San Lorenzo (a very short ride outside of Salta) Taco de Reina Restaurante (Ricardo Saravia, Gerente), Juan C. Davalos 1580, Camino a la Quebrada, San Lorenzo, Salta, fono: (54-387) 492-2221. We spent AP$103 + tip for lunch. We happened onto this restaurant (after a lovely hike on a Sunday afternoon) 2 days after it opened and it was a wonderful experience. The building is lovely: an old home on a large lot with lots of running space for children. The dining rooms are divided into smoking and non-smoking rooms and they are elegant but simple. The service was good and the food excellent. There was no cubierto. With the bread and a creamy egg dip, came a blue liquor. We had a Filia Malbec '05 Mendoza (AP$45) that was very good and shared 2 dishes. One was a Pazorris de espinacas salsa suave de puerros y tomates (AP$15) and the other was Solomillo de cerdo con porotos, antenos y tomates confidos (AP$29). The pork was a very tender tenderloin in a sauce that had a hint of mustard. The round pastas were perfectly cooked and had a great taste of spinach. The sauce was delicious. For dessert we ordered a Sabayon con higos ahumados (AP$12). Unfortunately this wasn't sabayon; it was an ice cream cake-thing. We had 2 coffees that came with mignardise. Truly enjoyable.
3. La Terraza, Hotel Solar de la Plaza, J.M. Leguizamon 669, Salta, fono: (54-387)431-5111, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, web: www.solardelaplaza.com.ar AP$158 + tip. It's a nice room with very good service. The tables are elegant even though they don't have tablecloths. There was no cubierto. Bread, bread sticks and a whipped cream dip was brought. We shared everything and ordered 1 mineral water (AP$6), 1 Terrazas Malbec '07 (AP$55) that was good and 1 sopa de camarones (AP$25) which was very tasty but had no shrimp floating in it. For our main we had Brochette de cordero andino con cebollitas glaceados, papitas fritas el romano y suave slva de malbec especiado (AP$50). It was delicious. The meat was tender and didn't have a distinct lamb taste. For dessert we had 1 tartina de manzana (AP$12) that came warm with ice cream. All in all a very good meal. It gets a 1 star from the YPF guidebook and we would agree.
3. Restaurant at Alejandro I Hotel , Balcarce 252, (CPA4400EJF) Salta, Argentina, fono: (54-387)400-0000, web: www.alejandro1hotel.com.ar We had a couple of good meals at this restaurant. We absolutely loved the hotel, its gym, sauna and Jacuzzi. We negotiated a price for Junior Suite 1101 of AP$435 including tax, breakfast, parking and wi fi Internet and were very happy.
4. La Lenita Salta, Balcarce 802, Salta , fono: (54-387) 421-4865, e-mail: email@example.com We spent AP$114 plus tip. It was a good local food-type meal with lots of tourists. The restaurant charged AP$5 for 2 cubiertos/covers and we were given bread and 2 empanadas. We had an okay Nanni Malbec (vino Salteno from Cafayate) for AP$37, agua AP$4.50, mollejitas and rinoeitos AP$19.50, a humitas AP$5, a porcion de chivito/cabritoAP$30, 1 papas fritas AP$7.50 and for dessert 1 cayota & queso AP$6. All was good and, with the singing waiters, it was fun.
5. Dona Salta, Cordoba 46, Salta, fono: (54-387)432-921, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, web: www.donasalta.com.ar We spent AP$81.30 + tip. This restaurant is an institution in Salta and very touristy. They do a good job and the restaurant is recommendable. There was a 2 x AP$2.50 cubierto (AP$5.00). We had a delicious locro (AP$14.50) which is a stew with pumpkin, beans chickpeas, chopped veal and pork meat, and a lentil stew (AP$14.50) , a tamale (AP$4.50) with ground corn, 1 agua (AP$4.80), and a very good Mayuco Malbec from Las Valles Calchaquies, Cafayate (AP$38)
6. Jovi Dos, Balcarce 601, Salta, Tel (0387) 432-9438 This is the restaurant we discovered on our first trip to Salta and thought it to be the quintessential honest restaurant. What they do, they do well and the service is excellent. We shared Cornalitos/whitebait (AP$11) to start which were very good and crunchy. For our main we shared a conejos a la provencal (AP$23). The rabbit was on the dry side on this visit. We brought our own Humando Reserva '04 AP$50 and there was no corkage.
7. Bios Diet, Santiago del Estero 496 (esq Zuviría) Salta, fono: 421-5771. For lunch we wanted something light and vegetarian. We had the daily special of Niños envueltos de repollo con arroz integral AP$13 and shared it. It was good.
8. La Nueva China, Belgrano 1402, Salta We spent AP$31 for a light lunch. We had 1 chop suey, 1 tea and 2 cubiertos.