We make an effort to try as many amazing restaurants as we can in Buenos Aires -- but we can't help but fall back on our old favorites, too.
by Mandan Lynn on November 27, 2012
I don't normally like to review restaurant chains, especially those that have locations in numerous countries, but I am making an exception here for two reasons: good service and good prices. Finding one or the other is hard enough in Buenos Aires, but finding both of them together is worth writing about!This is the Alto Palermo Benihana, on the corner of Coronel Diaz and Arenales. It's also the first Benihana I've ever been to. The food is good, if you like sushi and whatnot. I didn't even think I did, but I keep going back for their Shrimp Crunchy Roll, which I absolutely love. The normal menu prices are normal to high for Buenos Aires, but that's why you've got to hit the Happy Hour!Happy Hour is every day, even on weekends, from 4:00-8:00pm. If you go around 4:00 or 5:00, there won't be many people there and you will have your choice of table on the patio.Happy Hour also means the Happy Hour menu, which features half-priced sushi rolls and half or special pricing on a variety of other things -- we've enjoyed the vegetable tempura a few times. They also do half-priced drinks, and I love the Exotic Mojito and the Berries Mojito so much that I can't stop switching back and forth between the two for long enough to try something else.We've done this Happy Hour three times now, and every time the service has been excellent. The waitor or waitress has tended to us promptly and with a smile. Even though we speak fine restaurant Spanish, one waitor even switched to English when he realized we weren't from around these parts. We joked and had a great time. We love the service here.Our time in Buenos Aires is winding down, but we're planning to enjoy this Happy Hour at least a couple more times before we're done.
by Mandan Lynn on November 26, 2012
In honor of my birthday, my boyfriend took me to dinner at Sudestada -- a restaurant he has visited before. It was my first time.We had a reservation for when they opened at 8:00pm, but it was unnecessary -- we were the only ones there when we sat down, and there was only one other couple there when we left an hour and a half later.The restaurant is small and looks somewhat cafeteria-like, making the prices a bit of a surprise. They were about average for decent dining in Buenos Aires, but seemed high when you consider the restaurant style and decor. Each entree was AR$100 or a little more.I ordered a Batida de Lulo to drink -- I think it was lulo, something like that: a fruit I had never heard of. It was made with gin, ginger, and this lulo pulp, and it was really lovely. So I ordered a second one when that one ran dry. They also have artesan beer, which my boyfriend enjoyed.The menu was rather short, which is kind of nice -- makes the decisions easier!We ordered the lumpia as an appetizer, and it arrived as six large pieces with a brown dipping sauce -- plenty for two, and it made us wish we had ordered only one entree to split between us. This might have been my favorite part of the meal -- they were so good.I had the red curry, which was seriously spicy. I like spicy -- it was close to being too much for me, but I was able to enjoy it and would have finished the whole thing if I hadn't been already half-full from the lumpia. Brent had the fried fish, which came complete with face and eyeballs and tiny teeth. I tried it and it was very good, though I don't mess much with fish when i have to pick around the bones.The waitstaff was refreshingly friendly and attentive. We really liked this meal and would recommend the restaurant to anyone who enjoys Asian cuisine, or has been looking for spicy food in Buenos Aires!
by Mandan Lynn on October 22, 2012
Fili is an unassuming little bar in an older building on a quiet street near Alto Palermo mall. You have to climb a bunch of stairs, but you enter into a spacious, well-painted room with a well stocked bar.The drink menu is very complete and offers a great variety of creative cocktails. All the liquors are priced, so you don't have to wonder what you're getting into when you order something. I had the signature cocktail, a frozen drink made with Baileys, cassis, strawberry, and cream. Very nice, though I expected it to come in a larger glass than it did.Prices are decent during happy hour and to-be-expected afterward, which is when we were there. Again, cocktails run about AR$40. It was about midnight on a Saturday when we were there, but there were only a few other people. We saw on the board that it stays open until dawn, so maybe it heats up later on. The waiter was friendly and and prompt. We relaxed on the couches and enjoyed our drinks, wishing perhaps that the music had been turned down a little bit.A flyer on the coffee table between our seats informed us of independent film screenings that take place there every Thursday! Free entrance. We'd love to go back here and check out Happy Hour. Overall, it's a great, casual atmosphere, and we really enjoyed it.
My boyfriend and I met our friend at the Taco Box for dinner one evening. We arrived around 10pm on a Saturday and were able to have a table for three, but things were filling up and there were several tables unavailable because they had been reserved.Drinks were a little on the pricier side, but it's not unusual in Buenos Aires to pay AR$40 for a cocktail. I ordered the Banana Boat -- it took a long time to arrive, but it was so worth it. Banana liquor, rum, banana ice cream, and a couple of other things all deliciously blended together. I loved it, and want to go back just for that.We ordered nachos to share as an appetizer, and they were good -- just cheese, ground beef, and sour cream.My boyfriend ordered the tacos without sour cream, but they arrived with cheese on them (he can't have dairy) even though the menu made no mention of cheese on the tacos! The waitress was very nice, and took them back and replaced them promptly with dairy-free hard-shell tacos.I ordered the burritos, and loved them. There were two small, crispy, fully-stuffed tortillas, accompanied by a pile of tortilla chips. The burritos themselves only had meat and cheese in them, but were covered with sour cream and some fantastic guacamole, as well as olives. I really enjoyed them and was stuff by the time I reached the last few bites, and I regrettably had to leave a little bit on my plate.For tacos and spicy sauce, we're huge fans of Fabrica del Taco in Palermo (see the entry for that place in this journal), but this is a great second option for us, and much closer to where we live. We'll definitely be returning.
This was actually the second time we've eaten at Salvame Maria, near the Belgrano train station. The first time, I ordered the quesadillas, which somehow arrived without queso. I was generally displeased, because the cheese is kind of the point, but the rest of the filling was good and my boyfriend enjoyed his salad.The last time we ate there, we were in a bit of a rush, and were concerned that we might not be able to get out of there in time. To our surprise and delight, we were served very quickly.By a really horrible waitress.My boyfriend and I both speak Spanish -- not perfectly, but certainly well enough to order competently at a restaurant. The waitress first dropped off the menus without even a smile, and hardly a greeting. When she returned to take our order, she looked at us with wide eyes and asked us three times to repeat ourselves -- and all we were saying was "fajitas de pollo". She brought us the food, but without the guacamole, sour cream, and salsa that the menu claimed would accompany a fajita order. She never returned to ask how we were doing, and even though the restaurant wasn't busy while we were there, we had to ask a different waitress for the check -- but that waitress didn't get it for us, nor did she tell our waitress that we were ready for it. So, we had to wait until she came into sight again, and then we asked for the check, which she dropped on our table without a thank you.Aside from that nastiness, the food was good -- we appreciated the corn tortillas, and the chicken and veggies were good. The prices were on par with decent restaurants everywhere in Buenos Aires. We would go again, but we might turn around if we see that particular waitress again.
by Mandan Lynn on September 24, 2012
Tea Connection has eight locations throughout the city and offer a variety of teas and natural, healthy foods.I ordered a smoothie -- at the time, there were three smoothie flavor choices, all of them quite creative. I drank one that included grapefruit and strawberries, but was tempted by the one that featured mango and ginger! If I had been hungrier, I might have ordered the smoked salmon salad or the pumpkin and cheese sandwich -- I look forward to going back there to give one of those a try.They also offer a variety of desserts -- cheesecake, key lime pie, brownies and muffins -- as well as wok dishes. Prices are in line with what you would expect in Buenos Aires.Tuesday is Ladies Day, so women get 15% off their meals.
My boyfriend passed this restaurant on the way to somewhere else, so we found it again a few days later to give it a try. We arrived at 7:30 -- we left home around 7:00, not sure how long it would take us to get there (or if my boyfriend could remember where it was). To our surprise, they were open and ready for business despite the early hour. There was one couple sitting outside, but the rest of the place was empty.We took a charming table in the corner by the window. The place is decorated by native (Mayan? Aztec? not sure) designs and Frida Kahlo paintings. There was a couch beside us upholstered with a Frida design, and my chair had Frida's face on it.The menus were already on the table, so we didn't have to wait for a waitress to notice us. By the time she came by, we were ready to order.I started with a passionfruit margarita, which was a delight. My boyfriend had the Texas Margarita, which he enjoyed except that the glass was rimmed with sugar, and he would have preferred salt. A few minutes later, my veggie quesadilla arrived: two tortillas stuffed with onions and peppers -- and no cheese. The "queso" part of the quesadilla came on the side, a melted nacho-like cheese that I poured into the tortillas. It was good enough, but not really what I had in mind when I ordered.My boyfriend had the chimichanga (first Mexican place in Argentina where we've seen that on the menu!) and was also in for a surprise. The nature of the chimichanga, at least to our knowledge, is that it's fried. This one was not. So it was basically just a burrito. Again, he seemed to like it, but it wasn't really what he was after when he placed the order.He ordered his second margarita, this time the house margarita, as I was finishing my first one. It was wildly sour -- he couldn't even finish it, and he really enjoys sour things. As the waitress took our plates away, she dropped off the dessert menu. And then she disappeared. After 20 minutes, we decided, screw dessert, let's just get the check. After another 20, my boyfriend had to get up to go find someone and request the bill. So that part was kind of silly -- but, honestly, not all that surprising in Buenos Aires.The prices were pretty good -- we had three margaritas and two entrees for about AR$170. Each drink was more expensive than either of our entrees. Chips and a cheese sauce were included at the beginning, and as my boyfriend is allergic to cheese, he asked for guacamole. We both expected to be charged for this -- but we weren't! The little dish of guac (really good guac, actually) was included for free.When we left, close to 10pm, it was still totally empty!Overall, we really enjoyed the experience and the food, even though neither dish was quite what we expected. We do have plans to go back to Tijuana to try the fajitas.
by Mandan Lynn on September 8, 2012
La Adorada is a newer bar, opened across the street from La Fábrica del Taco -- and it has the same owners. It is a tiny, charming place, with some seating on the main level and upstairs on the narrow loft. It was quiet when we arrived (after having tacos across the street) around 10pm on a Sunday evening. Drinks were all about AR$40, with beers priced variably at a little more than half that. I ordered the raspberry caipiroska, and was delighted to watch the bartender mashing berries in the bottom of the glass. My boyfriend tried it and said, "That drink is like a relationship." Indeed, it was very good. They had a variety of other creative cocktails on the menu.We were given pickled spicy things to nibble on. I would have preferred peanuts, but points for originality.One of our friends ordered a sandwich from the small sandwich menu. It looked and smelled good, and came with homemade potato chips.I loved this as a casual place to go for conversation and great drinks. I don't think I'd want to be there when it got crowded, but in the meantime you will see me upstairs with a raspberry caipiroska.
by Mandan Lynn on August 1, 2012
At the end of the Retiro train line is the lovely little suburb of Tigre. We escape out here from time to time to get away from the majority of the bustle and enjoy some time by the water, dirty though it may be. On our last trip, we made a beeline straight for Tanto la Queria, the little restaurant we happened upon during our first visit to Tigre.If you cross the river and turn right, this restaurant will be on the left just a few steps away. They have a decent menu with a variety of items, but the highlight for me -- and what makes this little place special -- is their sandwiches!I ordered the 3 Relleno -- grilled red pepper, eggplant, zucchini, pumpkin and mozzarella. The most fantastic part is the bread: raisin walnut! I never imagined I would enjoy vegetables on a bread I would normally consider more for dessert, but it is absolutely fantastic. The bread would be great alone, but with those fillings it's even better.They have two other sandwiches to choose from, both of which also sound delightful. Brent ordered the salmon. It came with a beautiful green salad, and he really enjoyed it -- I declined a taste because it was not de-boned, and I don't enjoy getting fish bones in my mouth. They also have a wide selection of coffees and desserts. The prices are what I've come to expect from Buenos Aires -- my sandwich was about US$12, and it was really big -- I would have preferred to take half of it home.
by Mandan Lynn on July 25, 2012
I have eaten at Demetria four times. If I would have written this review after the first visit, it would have been overwhelmingly glowing. The food is lovingly prepared and beautifully presented, and there are lots of vegetarian options. Unfortunately, every time I've been there I've liked it less and less.Let's start with the first visit, a dinner. There were three of us. We were promptly served and started in on the salad bar, which is included with all meals. It was fantastic! I had to stop myself eating more salad so I would have space for my entree. The food was fresh, there were lots of options (vegetables, beans, seeds, and more), and there were some lovely surprises, like pumpkin. We shared a couple of bottles of an organic Argentine wine, and I really enjoyed my meal.The second time was during lunch hour. The salad bar had seen better days -- what was left was wilty or cold. I had a smoothie that was fresh and delightful.The third and fourth times, there was a big group of us. One time, our order was screwed up: I had ordered risotto and my boyfriend got the fish, and we were going to share -- but they brought us both risotto. The last time, I had the Asian-inspired meal, and it was nice, but not up to the caliber my first visit would have led me to expect. We all ordered dessert, and I tried a few of them. Someone got an apple tart with ice cream, and it was the most disappointing ice cream I'd ever tasted (and I've tasted a lot of ice cream)! Really bland. The chocolate volcano was chocolately, for sure, but it was sort of like eating a giant brownie that's not that good to begin with: it quickly feels like too much, and like it wasn't worth the belly ache. The prices are very reasonable, and I wouldn't hesitate to give this another go -- I still think back fondly to my first visit, and I believe I can have that kind of dining experience again!
We generally avoid the restaurants around Recoleta Cemetery for at least one of the reasons I will not be going back to La Biela.My friend from out the country was in town for a couple of days, and she suggested meeting here for a quick lunch before she left. The menu is pretty thorough -- complete with coffee (and specialty coffees), desserts, salads and sandwiches, plenty of meat, and more. But the prices were high. Very high, in some cases. We sat outside, and noticed that by doing so (it was such a nice winter day!) we would be charged more for the same items: there are two prices listed in the menu -- an indoor price, and an outdoor price. The correlations between these two prices were not consistent: coffee outside was one peso more than coffee inside, but coffee with cream outside was three pesos more than coffee with cream inside. Already a bit disappointed, I decided I wasn't hungry enough to go for anything here, and I settled for coffee with cream.In all, we ordered a water, a diet soda, my coffee (AR$19: the cup was tiny, and the coffee not even very good), and french fries, and our total came to AR$187! I have had full dinners with my boyfriend at nice restaurants for less than that. The service was acceptable, but it wasn't very busy so the waiter didn't have to try very hard for "acceptable".It's true that, in general, I'm not a fan of expensive food, unless it's incredibly good. We didn't have much on which for me to form an opinion, I admit,, and the French fries were fine -- but they were nothing extraordinary. You can get food at least this good for a much better price. I won't be giving La Biela a second chance.
by Mandan Lynn on June 6, 2012
Granted, I don't have much to go off of here, as my friend and I stopped in for one drink on a quiet Tuesday night, but I like Oasis.It's an unassuming little place on Callao, between Santa Fe and Arenales. We were walking and it was cold, and we had already decided that we would just go into the first place we saw. I had resigned myself to the idea that that would probably mean one of the many restaurant bars that line Santa Fe and that are all more or less the same.However, there was a red light, so instead of crossing the street, we walked down Callao. And we saw Oasis.It's small -- as the sign says, "El lugar es chico, pero el corazón es grande" -- the place is small, but the heart is big. There were only a couple of people there, and one waitress who was playing with her phone. She came over right away, though, and left us the menus.They had quite a bit of food, but I didn't spend much time looking since we had already had dinner. I went straight to the drink menu and was pleasantly surprised at the very reasonable prices. My friend ordered a piña colada and I had a strawberry colada. The first thing she said was, "Well, there's rum in this." It was definitely strong! But absolutely delicious, and girly drinkers everywhere will love the sweetness and appreciate the kick. Sometimes with drinks like that, you can't even find the rum if you were a pirate -- so we were appreciative that although a colada is often considered a "girly" drink, it was still a DRINK.I want to go back here and see what everything else is like. If you beat me to it, let me know.
by Mandan Lynn on May 28, 2012
My boyfriend and I passed this place almost every day when we lived in the neighborhood, and often commented that we would have to go in and try it one of these days. That day finally came for me when I went to dinner with a small group of friends. I ordered the Pollo Agridolce (sweet and sour chicken). It came on a bed of sauteed vegetables. The chicken itself was okay -- it was a little bit bland, and I would have preferred a crispy chicken. The honey taste was a little too strong.Everyone at the table seemed content with their food, but no one really raved about it. The girl who ordered the salmon salad was exceptionally pleased with her choice. One friend ordered ravioli that had been fried or baked, so it was crispy rather than the normally soggy boiled ravioli -- such a nice touch. I did try it, and it was pleasant and certainly preferable to the typical ravioli, but overall the dish was nothing to write home about -- again, a little bland.We ordered dessert. I had the dulce de leche mousse which, as one friend commented, looked like a core sample. I think of mousse as being a pile of fluff. This was conical. Again, sad to say, kind of bland. I tried the apple tart with ice cream that someone else had ordered -- not bad, but I think I could do as well in my own kitchen. I also tried the flan, but I'm never really a fan of flan, so I can't really tell you how that rates. Good food. Not great food. Prices were on par with other places, and they do offer half off on Sunday and Monday on pastas and fowl dishes. I probably won't go here again, and I would recommend you try some of the other restaurants I've reviewed before you bother with this one.
My friend Adam and I stopped for lunch at La Cholita. This was our second attempt, having struck out the first time because we stopped by at 1:00pm on a holiday Friday and the place was packed. This time, it was busy, but there were still tables available.La Cholita sits between other popular restaurants owned by the same person, Cumaná and El Salto de las Ranas (both of which I have reviewed in this journal). La Cholita is the parilla -- the place to get your steaks, or any other part of the cow you wish to eat.I was impressed with the menu options, as I wasn't in the mood for a giant piece of meat. I went back and forth between the chorizo on the appetizer menu, the grilled vegetarian quesadilla, or the build-your-own salada -- which I ultimately chose, and it was lovely. Adam went with the platter listed near the quesadilla offerings -- I can't remember the name, but it was a full meal (could have been enough for two people; he took some of it home with him): a huge piece of meat, mashed pumpkin, rice, grilled onion, red peppers, and cheese (so good, that cheese, which you can also find on the appetizer menu), and french fries with a fried egg on top.The two of us ate for just about AR$100, which is pretty good considering the huge amount of food he had! The menu is, over all, very reasonably priced. If you're looking for some good steak, do consider this local favorite.
by Mandan Lynn on May 23, 2012
My friend came to visit us from Boston, so we marked the occasion by gathering some ex-pat friends and dining at Casa Mun -- our first Puerta Cerrada (closed door) restaurant experience.(For more on Puertas Cerradas, see Puerta Cerrada in the Doin' Stuff in Buenos Aires journal.)We had heard fantastic things about this place, so we were very excited -- and it didn't disappoint.We were greeted with champagne at the door, and we chatted as we waited for dinner to be served. There was seating for about 30 people, and every chair was full. Our group took up nearly one whole table, but there were two seats left and a lovely Brazilian couple joined us.Chef Mun came out to greet us, introduce his staff, and speak to us about the food he was going to serve. Usually, the wine expert also speaks about the wines being served, but he was on vacation.It's impossible to describe all the food, because I'm not much of a chef myself. It was Asian fusion and came in five wonderful courses -- each with a glass of wine.The first he called the "lunchbox" course; we were served four little appetizers similar to what his mother made for him to take to school when he was growing up. Delicious. The second was won-ton soup.The third was sushi -- spicy tuna, crab handrolls, and salmon. I'm not a huge sushi fan, but I really loved the handrolls. I ate half of my spicy tuna, and gave the other two as well as the salmon to my boyfriend, because he loves sushi -- and I knew he'd be giving me his dessert later! I also enjoyed the sake that was served with the sushi. Chef Mun is a sushi chef, so even though the menu at Casa Mun is constantly changing, he always includes a sushi dish.The fourth had a name I can't remember, but it was a variety of vegetables in a bowl with rice, and was served with a truly spicy sauce. Again, wonderful, and beyond my ability to accurately describe.The final course was dessert, my favorite. This was a traditional Argentine pastry whose name I don't remember -- it was several layers of a light round pastry with dulce de leche in between each one. It was served with an edible flower and a sip of a Malbec port.The meal lasted about three hours, and was an absolute joy from beginning to end. Not only was it the best meal I've had in Argentina, it had such a cool atmosphere about it. It's a little pricey -- with the tip, we each paid AR$300 -- but worth every centavo. I can't wait for the next special occasion.
Buenos Aires tunes into its Italian influences and does ice cream right. Like alfajores, you can find an ice cream shop on nearly every other corner. The major chains include Freddo, Persicco, Volta, and Victoria, but you will find numerous independent stores, as well. The experience is more or less the same wherever you go, and the ice cream is good everywhere, but when you talk to Argentines you will discover that everyone has his or her preference.(Mine is Freddo. More specifically, the Dulce de Leche at Freddo.)At each store you will be faced with a major decision: what flavor? There are always 10-30 flavors to choose from, and each one looks and sounds fantastic. If you're really curious, most places will give you a free taste of one or two before you make your final decision.Sizes range from a tiny joke of a little cone up to a full kilo. It's kind of expensive -- I usually opt for a cup that costs about AR$25, or just about US$6. I guess it's on par with stores like ColdStone Creamery and Maggie Moo's in the United States.If you're a budget ice cream eater, go on Mondays -- many of the chains offer specials, like 2x1 kilos or a 1/4 kilo of a certain flavor for maybe 40% off.If it's busy when you go in, you'll wait your turn in line to tell the cashier what size you want, and you will pay up front. Then you will hand your ticket to the server and tell him what flavor you want. If you're the only person waiting to order, it's a little more relaxed and you can just place your order with the first person who acknowledges you, and pay as the server is dishing it up.Argentines love their ice cream, and after that first bite, you will, too.
by Mandan Lynn on April 25, 2012
We've been looking for an excuse to go to Milion for the last few months, and finally we had a chance when we agreed to meet up with a passing-through friend for dinner and wine.We arrived early, by Argentine standards, and got a seat upstairs on the outdoor patio. It was a lovely evening, and it was quiet and beautiful out there. Brent had a gin and tonic while I sipped a drink whose name I don't remember, and we ate an appetizer while we waited for our friend to arrive.After she got there, we ordered a tapa -- spinach croquettes, which I really liked. Our friend chose a wonderful white wine, and we went through three bottles before we called it a night.Brent and I shared the white salmon -- very good -- and our friend ordered a Greek salad that looked fantastic, and she seemed to enjoy it.This has to go in our list of special occasion restaurants, as it gets a little pricey when if you're lingering over several bottles of wine. The service was friendly and fairly prompt, and the atmosphere was fantastic. I think if you go later you should get a reservation.
by Mandan Lynn on April 13, 2012
As soon as I arrived in Buenos Aires, I heard talk of La Cabrera as one of THE go-to steakhouses in the city. It took us awhile to get there, but we finally went last week with a group of co-workers.We arrived without a reservation at about 10:30pm -- there were nine of us, so we had to wait a little while for a table. There are actually two buildings housing this restaurant -- the first, on one side of the street, is rather small. As La Cabrera became more popular, they added the second location across the street. That is where we got our table after about 15 minutes.The atmosphere is casual, but the waitstaff add a formal flare. They are prompt and polite, and take their job seriously -- sad to say, that's not always common in Buenos Aires!We enjoyed a few appetizers -- the chorizo was fantastic, as was this other thing. Sorry, wish I could tell you a bit more, but I have no idea what it was. Someone else ordered it for all of us to share, and I never got around to finding the name. It was covered in cheese, and there was chorizo and tomato in there. A+.The cheese sticks were so-so. If you're a fan of mozzarella sticks, you will be disappointed -- because I don't think it was mozzarella. It tasted good -- it might have been provolone -- but when I bite into a cheese stick, I'm expecting it to goo and ooze with flavor. These didn't do that. You could make a straight cut with your fork right through the cheese and none of it stuck to your fork. Major let-down.The main menu has more cuts of beef than you knew existed, as well as some salads and pastas. Everyone ordered something a little different, and everyone was happy. The highlight at the table was the beef that was rolled around sundried tomatoes and cheese -- absolutely fantastic. Again, I don't know what it's called, but you could request it by description and the waiters would be able to help you out.I had to leave before the desserts arrived, but I did get to glance at the menu -- nothing too out-of-the-ordinary, kind of what you expect on your basic Buenos Aires dessert list: ice cream, chocolate mousse, etc. My co-workers raved about them the next day, though.The drawback: it's expensive. Quite expensive. The bill that night -- with drinks (just water, soda, and a couple of beers that we shared), six appetizers, seven pieces of meat, a couple of salads, and four or five desserts -- came to about AR$300-400 per person. For a big chunk of meat, you can definitely find a better value elsewhere in the city. The atmosphere is cool, but to me it's not worth a return visit. There is plenty of steak in Argentina, and I don't believe that the steak at La Cabrera is so much better than what you could find at another steakhouse.
by Mandan Lynn on April 2, 2012
Tandoor has been on our go-to list for awhile, and just the other day a colleague of mine was raving about it. We went for lunch a few days later.We were there at about 1:00pm on a Sunday and the place was completely empty. As we ate, two other couples came in, but it seems the evening is really the happening time at Tandoor.We loved it, though -- the waiter was incredibly friendly and attentive. I think it's some of the best service we've received in Argentina. We skipped the appetizers, expecting (correctly) that we would have plenty of food with our entrees. We ordered the cauliflower vegetarian dish and a lamb and rice dish. both of which were absolutely fantastic. We were too full to try any of the tempting desserts, but I had two glasses of the ginger mint lemonade. It wasn't as good as Delhi Mahal's ginger mint limeade, but it was still worth drinking two glasses. More, if I'd had time. When we got the bill, it came with a comment card! This is the first one we've seen in Argentina, and we gave the restaurant and the server a glowing review. It's also worth noting that I loved the naan -- usually, this bread is not my favorite part of an Indian meal, but the naan here was light, not greasy, and full of flavor. I loved the peanut and the mint cilantro dipping sauces. I had to stop myself from eating it all so I could save room for the real meal.Tandoor is reasonably priced, compared with other nice restuarants in the area. The entrees and vegetarian dishes all hover around US$10-12, with the meat dishes going up to about US$20.
by Mandan Lynn on March 20, 2012
Delhi Mahal has three locations in Buenos Aires, and we have eaten at the San Telmo location (near Bolivar and Chile) on two occasions.We were there both times for lunch and ordered from the set lunch menu, which includes pakora, an entree, and dessert.We realized the second time that we had ordered the same thing the first time -- it was really good! The first was the pork dish, the second was a vegetable option. There are a couple of meat options, a couple of vegetarian options, and a few "light" choices. The first time I ordered a mango lassi -- they are two for one during lunch, but it was so big that I sort of regretted the second one. It was a little too sour and yogurt-y for my taste. I had the mango version, but passionfruit is also an option.During our second meal, we enjoyed another two-for-one beverage: the Ginger Break. Lime juice, mint, and ginger, it's a little bit fizzy and both sweet and sour -- absolutely delicious. It was exactly what we needed after a long walk on that hot day.On our first visit, we were not served our dessert -- be on the lookout! I've actually had this happen to me at more than one restaurant in South America. Many set lunch menus include a dessert, but I've had to remind the waiter to bring it on more than one occasion. The second time, it came right out after our plates were cleared -- gulab jamon, a favorite of mine since I visited India.Both times during lunch, there were only a couple of other diners there when we were. The waiters are pleasant, the food is good, and we'll be going back there for sure.
Barrio Chino is full of Chinese restaurants, and choosing this one was basically like throwing a dart at the restaurant list. I can't say from dining experience, but they all seem to be about the same. The food was okay. I was disappointed in the sweet and sour chicken -- we were expecting what you might find at home: crispy chicken covered in sauce, served on rice, maybe with some vegetables. Instead, we got a giant plate of crispy chicken and a dish of sweet and sour sauce.I ordered the pumpkin tea. I loved it because it was really sweet, which is why my boyfriend did not like it. It was a cold tea and came in a tall glass.They have a lunch menu with a few entree options available during the week, which is a reasonably-priced option that includes the always-delicious spring rolls (or wontons, or another appetizer of your choice).If you're in Barrio Chino, this place is probably as good as the next. It's not that it's bad food, it's just a letdown if you're used to eating Chinese food in the United States. For Chinese food in general in Buenos Aires, we like Garden in Recoleta.
by Mandan Lynn on February 27, 2012
Romario is a restaurant serving pizza and empanadas with 12 locations scattered throughout the city. We stopped by the one at Ayacucho and Arenales on a quiet Monday afternoon.We were served promptly, which should be expected since there were only a few people there. I ordered a pizzeta (personal-sized pizza) with mozzarella and pepperoni. My boyfriend got a sandwich of steak and sundried tomatoes. The cool thing about sandwiches here is that they're made using thin pizza crust -- so it's like a pizza with a lid, except with ingredients that might not normally be on pizza. It was a good choice for my boyfriend, who doesn't care for cheese.I thought the pizza was really good, and my boyfriend enjoyed the sandwich. Pizzas also come in small and large sizes, or you can order by the slice. You can also have calzones, salads, desserts like chocolate mousse or ice cream, and picadas (meat and cheese platters).The prices weren't bad -- my personal pizza was under US$10. Our lunch total came to less than US$25.It's certainly not a bad choice if you're hungry for pizza, but there are a lot of good restaurants in this city -- many of which also serve good pizza. If everyone in your party has decided that pizza is the meal of choice and you're not near Cumana (I love the pizza there), then give it a try.
by Mandan Lynn on February 24, 2012
We love El Salto de Las Ranas, but we were over the moon when we found out about La Fabrica del Taco: Mexican food by Mexicans! Hot sauce that is actually spicy! Really, really spicy!The place was packed on by dinner hour on a Friday night, and we enjoyed a few drinks at the bar while waiting for our table. I ordered a margarita, which came out delicious but far from traditional. It seemed to include passionfruit, though I can't be sure.There are a variety of appetizers -- we ordered guacamole and a fried cheese roll. The guac was good, but for there weren't very many chips. We split it between five people; I think I ended up with two chips. The fried cheese was ridiculously good, and I can't imagine why I never thought of that before.The tortillas have about a six-inch diameter, and the order consists of one -- so it's easy to order a few different types. I enjoyed a few bites of my boyfriend´s pulled pork tacos (he ordered three and was full enough), but I stayed pretty busy with my chorizo quesadillas. Fantastic! They come in an order of three, but I didn't mind filling up on that one taste. There are also a variety of chicken, beef, and even a vegetarian option.Go early or leave your name at the door right away. If it's nice out and you have a choice, request a seat on the lovely patio.
by Mandan Lynn on February 5, 2012
I stumbled across this place on my way home from another restaurant, so Brent and I went back the following week to try it for ourselves.The restaurant is small and cafeteria-like. We were there early in the evening, so it wasn't very busy yet. For AR$39, you get a bowl and fill it with your favorte meats and vegetables. Choose from beef, pork, chicken, spinach, onions, peppers, carrots, pumpkin, mushrooms, noodles and more. There are four sauces to choose from, but the workers recommended the combination of one scoop of all of them -- and they were right, it was awesome.You hand your full bowl to the man at the grill, who cooks it up for you and hands it back to you on a plate. You can add hot sauce -- which is actually very spicy! -- and sesame seeds. This is a little different than the Mongolian grills I've been to in that it's not an all-you-can-eat situation -- one bowl is $39. You can fill it as full as you want, of course, but the bowls are kind of small and mine was overflowing. It was plenty of food for me, though, you won't go away hungry.The employees were so nice, eager to help and offer suggestions.Bottled drinks are available -- water, beer, flavored waters, and sodas. Their sign also says they offer coffee, and I saw one woman with a cup, but we didn't try any.The restaurant says this is the first Mongolian grill dining available in Argentina. How lucky it's in our neighborhood! It feels more like a lunch place to us -- quick and delicious. If you're looking to linger over an evening meal with a bottle of wine, this isn't really the place to do it. But if you just want some good Mongolian grill, whatever the time of day, I would recommend this place over and over.
by Mandan Lynn on February 3, 2012
Even though it's tempting, you can't eat all your meals at a restaurant. Well, I guess you can. But if you're spending an extended period of time here, you probably will want to make your own food at some point, at least in part because there are very few places where you will find anything for breakfast aside from a medialuna (croissant) and coffee.Your major grocery stores include Disco and Carrefour, among others. Disco regularly tends to be more expensive with less selection than Carrefour, so I lean toward the Carrefour. I go here for eggs, toilet paper, tortillas, vanilla, cleaning products, wine (the selection is enormous), and little else these days. It's summertime now, and with so many porteños vacationing out of town, it´s possible to check out without a long wait in line. During the winter, when I first starting shopping here, I experienced waits of up to an hour. It was horrible. This is what made me start looking outside the grocery store for my kitchen needs. If you're a one-stop shopper, you can get most of what you'll need at these big stores -- but if you're a bargain shopper like me, you won't want to. The verdulerias -- vegetable markets -- are consistently cheaper than the store, and they're everywhere. I pass three of them on my walk to the Carrefour, and there are a couple more in any other direction. I buy all my fruit and vegetables here.The prices at these stores vary randomly: for example, on the corner, cherries are AR$15 for half of a kilo. Down the block, they're AR$20 for a fourth of a kilo! You won't always find such wide variance, but on berries of all kinds I have noticed differences, so I check all the nearby places before making my berry purchase.These markets also tend to to carry eggs, mushrooms, fresh cilantro and mint, and sometimes bottled drinks. They carry what's in season and what's available, so occasionally you might get there and discover they have no broccoli or something. I base my cooking on what I find, rather than planning a menu and shopping to match it.It can be hard to find hot peppers like jalepeños, but when I do find them, it's at a verduleria.The fresh-baked bread at the bakery costs about the same as the packaged loaves in the store, so when I want bread, I go straight to the bakery and choose a wholesome loaf.Rice, beans, nuts, granola, dried fruit, spices, chocolate chips, and much, much more can be purchased in bulk at New Garden, which has several locations throughout the city. Most products here are cheaper than in the grocery stores. They also carry various sauces and condiments, noodles, cookies and sweets, natural soaps and cosmetics, and honey. I have found that sauces -- like soy and Tabasco -- are a little cheaper at the grocery store, but it varies. I shop here about three times per week. I love it.Grandiet, another store with several locations, also has some nuts, spices, and granola in bulk, but the big attraction here is the dried fruit: kiwi, melon, pineapple, grapefruit, papaya, mango, apricots, and more. Melon and kiwi are my favorite, and stopping here is an absolute treat. They also carry other nutritional products.For empanadas, skip the grocery store version and go straight to one of the empanada shops. They offer more variety and the products are fresh and delicious. Many places will warm them up for you if you want to eat right away.Cooking in another country can be a challenge if you can't find the ingredients you're used to, but if you shop around you will usually be able to find sufficient substitutes, at least -- and you´ll probably encounter a few new favorite foods.
by Mandan Lynn on February 1, 2012
I love smoothies. I blend almost every day. So it was an absolute delight to come across Pura Vida -- one of the only such places in Buenos Aires, and the best, as far as I'm concerned -- to enjoy some blended treats that I might not be able to concoct in my own kitchen.Smoothies and juices come in two sizes, Regular and Large. Prices range from AR$18 for a Regular House Smoothie to AR$29 for a Large Super Protein smoothie. Brent's favorite is the orange-carrot-ginger juice; I love the Berry Berry Good smoothie (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and more!). Wheat grass shots are available, if you're into that sort of taste torture (but it's so good for you!). It's also possible to add bonus ingredients like polen, acaí, or aloe to your drink.If you're hungry, order a fresh salad or sandwich. So far, we love the Pollo Latino wrap. For breakfast, try a big fruit salad with yogurt and granola. Also, I dig the apple cinnamon muffins.This place hops at lunchtime, and has limited indoor and outdoor seating. During the busiest time, you might be better off getting your meal to go. Much to my dismay, Pura Vida is only open on weekdays (we have walked by on many a sunny Saturday afternoon, jonesing for a juice) from 9:00am to 5:00pm. I have my fingers crossed that someday they will open a second location in my neighborhood.
In such a huge city, you can expect to find a lot of restaurants -- and you will. You also might expect to find an incredible variety of food. For this, you will have to look a little harder. Twelve million people in Buenos Aires, and they're all eating steaks.Restaurants line the streets in Buenos Aires -- go into many of them, and you will find that the menu is more or less the same. If you want variety, you have to seek out those places that have made a name for themselves by being deliciously different. You won't find international cousine on every corner. You have to dig a little deeper.Check out some of the entries in this journal. We love Mexican, Chinese, Thai, and Indian food, so we hunt those restaurants down -- and I write about them here!If you love spicy food -- good luck! For the most part, Argentines don't, so even dishes that are listed as "spicy" -- even in, say, a Mexican restaurant where spicy is to be expected -- might not be very hot by your standards. You will also notice that many Argentine restaurants charge a cover. Sometimes this is per person, sometimes it is per table. It is usually just a few dollars, maybe AR$10, but don't be surprised to see that added to your bill. This is not a tip; supposedly, it covers the use of utensils and the table service. Tips are expected, though you generally can't put them on credit cards. If you pay with a card, make sure to leave the tip in cash. Some places don't accept cards, or they might have a minimum amount for using a card, so ask in advance if you don't have the cash on you.When you enter a restaurant, you will most likely seat yourself and wait for a waiter to find you. The Argentine dinner hour is late. Many restaurants don't even open for dinner until 8:00pm, and it doesn't really start rolling in there until 9:00 or 10:00. Make a reservation at popular restaurants, especially if you're keeping an Argentine schedule. If you prefer to eat a little earlier, you 'd probably be okay to skip the reservation -- but if you're thinking ahead, make one just in case.
As you would expect from a Chinese Restaurant, Garden has a lengthy menu with all the Chinese favorites: dishes with noodles, vegetables, beef, chicken, duck, pork, tofu, and seafood. Prices range from AR$15 for some of the appetizers to $85 for some of the seafood entrees.We ate in the restaurant one evening and have ordered take-away on several other occasions. When we dined in, I ordered the cashew chicken and wasn't overly impressed. It was okay. Brent had the Pescado con Salsa Agridulce -- fried balls of fish with sweet and sour sauce -- and that's what we've ordered ever since. Brent also loves their hot and sour soup (sopa de agripicante); I'm not a big fan of it at any restaurant so I can't tell you how it rates. We enjoy their summer rolls (vegetarian) and spring rolls, both of which come as an order of four rolls for AR$15. We have not yet tried the autumn rolls -- they must be extra-special, though, because it is AR$24 for two.Every time we go, whether for our dine-in experience or to take out, it's pretty early in the evening -- before 9:00pm -- and it's not very busy in there. I usually only have to wait about 20 minutes for the take-out if we don't order in advance. The staff is very friendly and greets us with a smile as we approach the counter to place our order.Garden opens every day at 12:00pm, takes a break from 3:30-8:00, and is open again at least until midnight -- later on Fridays and Saturdays.If you're craving Chinese food (and you're in Recoleta, which is nowhere near Barrio Chino), it's worth a try.
by Mandan Lynn on January 30, 2012
As a long-time lover of stateside restaurants like Chipotle and Qdoba, we were delighted to come across the California Burrito Company, South America’s answer to the Mexican grill.They have locations in Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Panama, Uruguay, Colombia, and Bolivia, but the location we frequent is on LaValle in Buenos Aires. Quesadillas, nachos, and cookies are options, but we go right for creating our own giant burritos. I tend toward the vegetarian ingredients – rice, beans, peppers and onions, guacamole, salsa, cheese, sour cream, lettuce, carrots, and cucumber, but there are also several types of meat available. Complete your meal with a margarita or beer like Corona or Otro Mundo.The workers tend to be friendly, and also tend to speak English if your accent slips enough to make it obvious you’re not from around those parts.We love that they’re open on Saturday and many holidays – we stop by on our way home from a weekend stroll through the nature reserve. During lunch time the place is packed, but during off hours you might have it all to yourself.
We went to this popular Vietnamese restaurant to meet up with friends, so we made a reservation for eight people a week or so in advance. We were seated at a table where you sit around it cross-legged. It was fun and the pillows were pretty comfortable, but for a lengthy, lingering meal, it got a little uncomfortable to have your legs folded up for that long. If you’re going to do this you will want to warn the ladies to skip the skirts. Also, be considerate of the age of your friends – if you’re traveling with your grandmother you might want to request a regular table.We started with reasonably priced cocktails as we waited for the rest of our party to arrive. My favorite by far was the first drink on the list, named after the restaurant. We had an early reservation, so there weren’t many people there at first, but it quickly filled up.The menu is not extensive, but offers a fine variety of fish and meat dishes. I had the vegetarian Xao Nam: rice noodles, tofu, vegetables, and mushrooms. It was pretty good, though I was jealous of some of the other dishes that showed up at our table, all of which looked fantastic.You should really order desert – I had the Nham Le, and it’s one of the best desserts I’ve had in Buenos Aires.Green Bamboo is expensive enough that it’s more of a special occasion restaurant for us, but we really enjoyed it and are looking forward to our next special occasion.
We love that this is just down the street from where we live, and it’s actually one of the only Arabian restaurants we’ve come across. It’s nothing unusual for people who love shwarma and falafel, but if you do love shwarma and falafel you will be thrilled to find this place.Falafel, my new favorite, costs AR$12. Shwarma is $18. If you like hot sauce, they have a very spicy one, but make sure you request it. Argentines don’t usually go in for spicy foods, so it’s not a regular addition to your sandwich. Beers and baklava are also available.There are a few seats available inside, but we tend to get ours to go. It’s closed between 4:00 and 8:00pm, like many Argentine restaurants, so make sure you’re hungry before or after that time frame.
This little vegetarian Oriental take-away restaurant doesn’t look like much, but the lunch crowds make it obvious that by not going, you’re missing something. We aim for a little later in the day, since it’s kind of miserably crowded when the masses are on their lunch break.Just to the right inside the door are plastic containers. Pick one and start filling it. The salad bar is full of fresh fruits and vegetables. The counter to the left, where I spend most of my time filling my container, has noodle dishes, vegetables, and fried goodies, like what I might describe as a pumpkin cornbread ball. Really good.These foods are sold by weight, and it’s not very expensive. There are other options, like quiches, soy milanesas, and empanadas that are priced by the piece.There are a variety of canned and bottled drinks available. I go straight for the coconut milk, a luxury I miss desperately from home.Considering price and quality, this is easily one of my favorite places in the city for lunch.
One of the few Mexican restaurants we’ve seen in the city is also our favorite – and right down the street. Like many Argentine restaurants, they charge a cover for the meal. Ridiculous to me, but you’ll get used to it.The menu is full of Mexican favorites, although you won’t find them as spicy as you would in Mexico. Or the United States. We go straight for the fajitas every time, ordering vegetables and lomo for two people. The food usually arrives pretty quickly, and you can snack on the chips and mediocre salsa they serve you beforehand. Besides the tortillas and sizzling fillings, fajitas come with rice, beans, tomato, guacamole, sour cream, and "hot" sauce. If you’re serious about your hot sauce, though, you’ll want to ask for Tabasco.The margaritas are pretty good, and I have recently taken a liking to the frozen peach margarita.It opens at 8:00pm; go between then and 9:00 and you’ll find a table no problem. After that is anyone’s guess; we’re usually out of there by then, but walking by I have seen it get quite busy inside as the evening wears on.The service is friendly, if a bit slow on the upstart – sometimes you’ll sit there for quite awhile before anyone acknowledges you.
This place is somewhat legendary in the neighborhood; everyone talks about it, and there’s a line into the street later in the evening. The food is good, traditional Argentine fair, and more than one person has told me it’s the place to try your first cazuela.The kitchen is closed in the late afternoon, so even though it’s open, don’t expect to order any food until 7:30pm. In the meantime, you can share some mate!This is one of the better pizzas I’ve had in the city, and there are a lot of topping options. The prices are on the lower end of the Argentine restaurant spectrum, which makes this place even more appealing.The highlight is the brown-paper tablecloths, which you can draw on with crayons as you wait for the food to arrive.
For us, this started as a simple go-to for NFL games, but it quickly became our favorite hangout. Not only can you catch all the football games – as well as soccer, basketball, hockey, UFC, and more – they have one of the best-stocked bars I’ve come across in the city. Not that I usually care about well-stocked bars, as I don’t drink that much and am usually content with an amaretto sour, but I have been to too many bars here where it’s not even possible to get an amaretto sour. At the Casa Bar, I can.On Sunday, Bloody Marys and mimosas are popular choices. I’ve had the margaritas here, and even though they taste nothing like what you’d expect a margarita to taste like, they’re still good, if a bit sweet – which I love, of course. Quilmes and sometimes Stella are on tap, or you can get a liter bottle of Stella or Heineken. If you have other beer tastes, they have a dozen or more types of imported bottled beer to choose from. You can even get an apple martini.As far as food goes, the wings are the big draw. I’m not a fan of chicken wings, but I’ve heard over and over that this is the place to get them, and the many orders for them that I see around me are a testament to that. The pizza is good, with thin crust, and they have real pepperoni! I love the complete nachos – my favorite part of football season – which come with four cheeses, beans, ground beef, jalepeños, black olives, pico de gallo, and sour cream. For big sporting events, you can expect it to get packed in there. Sometimes the kitchen gets backed up and you have to wait a bit for your food, but it’s worth it. At that point, you might also have to wait a while for your drink if you order something that requires a little more preparation.Prices are ridiculously cheap, even though they just increased slightly at the beginning of 2012. Hours vary, so call ahead or check online just to be sure.
Another special occasion restaurant, too expensive for regular use, we went here for Brent´s birthday on the recommendation of several friends who said that for good sushi, this is the best choice. I’m not sushi fan, but I was confident that I could find other things to eat.We made a reservation a week in advance. Reservations are definitely recommended, though we didn’t have trouble because we booked our table for 8:00pm – early by Argentine standards. The service was prompt and professional, and both the hostess and the waiter wished Brent a happy birthday.I ordered the lettuce wraps, which were awesome. Brent had salmon rolls, which he really enjoyed. The drink menu was extensive and creative; Brent had a beer and I ordered a grapefruit-y drink. I can’t remember the name, but it was very good.When we finished, the waiter asked us if we would like to see the dessert menu. Since it was Brent´s birthday, of course! Instead of coming back with the menu, he returned with a delicious chocolate cake with a single candle – another of the best desserts I’ve had in Buenos Aires.
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