Just returned from a 2 week visit to Buenos Aires and am reporting on restaurant experiences. A word or 2 of explanation first. We have visited B.A. several times before, we have friends and family there (sometimes eat at their residences or at restaurants in neighborhoods they favor,) and usually stay in hotels in the Retiro/Recoleta neighborhoods, leading us to choose many restaurants geographically close by.
In La Recova mall on Posadas, under where the highway merges into 9 de Julio, and across from the 4 Seasons Hotel: Sorrento (has a couple of other branches around the city, including in Puerto Madero,): shared a salad with husband, then had a delicious fish (chernia) Basque style with a scrumptious sauce of pureed peppers and garlic. Cant remember what husband had, but we were both very happy with meal. El Mirador: Parilla type. only had lunch there this time, and it comprised a salad (with avocado and egg added to various greens) and an empanada de carne. Have had a full dinner there in the past, with good meat and a memorable salad (which is what led me to head there when I wanted a luncheon salad.) (El Mirador also has a branch in P. Madero.) Sarkis: Middle Eastern food. Again, just lunch this time, but with husband. We shared a few small dishes. Portions here, as in most B.A. restaurants, are more than generous its easy to overorder. We have also eaten in this restaurant before and like it a lot. There are a couple more Italian restaurants in this mall, as well as a Spanish one that Ive heard is very good, and one with Asian overtones, but Ive not eaten in any of them. Ive put mall in quotes because its basically a collection of restaurants lining each side of a block on Posadas.
Estilo Campo in Puerto Madero. Its another parilla restaurant, possibly newer than Cabana las Lilas (which we didnt eat in this time but have a few times in the past, happily.) We were taken here by locals, overate and enjoyed it.
La Cabana on Rodriguez Pena between Posadas and Alvear. This is a rebirth of an old B.A. classic steak house. We had eaten there last year as part of a big group with a mostly fixed menu. I suspected at that time that it might be better than the other (good) restaurants wed eaten in and was determined to try it again this visit by ourselves to test the theory out. As was more or less pointed out in the discussion below of swanky restaurants, the atmosphere here is more restrained and subdued than in Cabana las Lilas. We ate here toward the end of our 2 weeks and ordered according to some rules we worked out during that time: we did a lot of sharing. We started with grilled sweetbreads. My husband was commenting that hed eaten more sweetbreads during this period than for years before. La Cabanas were thin, tender and not greasy. Then, a salad (salads are plentiful and very good in Buenos Aires,) their signature creamed spinach with Parmesan (delicious) and souffleed potatoes, and one small bife de chorizo (not much under a pound, but their larger one is 38 oz or some such thing.) We chose the bife because Id eaten several other versions of that during the past couple of weeks and wanted to compare it to a known experience: it held up extremely well.) This was a terrific meal and, even with sharing, was more than we could finish.
Rabelais: on Libertad, a couple of blocks from the 4 Seasons. French. I knew nothing about this but had passed it a couple of times while walking around and thought it looked interesting and would be a change of pace from the parillas. We had a terrific meal there. Sweetbreads (again) with a restrained reduction sauce and salad and a pate with salad as appetizers, coq au vin and pork chop with mustard sauce as mains (veg also included.) Portions were a more reasonable size.
Bo-Bo: on Guatemala between Borges and Thames in Palermo SoHo. This is near some of our local contacts, one of whom had been wanting to try it. It has a small innovative menu. 5 of us shared 3 appetizers (various degrees of success, but I didnt note down exactly what they were and now cant remember precisely.) Then 2 had bife de chorizo with flan de choclo (corn) and sautéed spinach, 1 had lamb cooked three ways but with the same wine sauce, 1 roast salmon with beet sauce and couscous, 1 pasta with asian flavors, chicken and shrimp. Overall a good meal, but its out of the way for most visitors and not SO good it merits a big trip.
Hereford Grille: on the Costanera Norte. Its a bit out of the way from downtown, but not an unreasonable trip by taxi. We went with local friends. Its sort of a variation on the tenedor libre restaurants popular around town (basically all you can eat buffets with some things cooked to order as you stand over them.) This one had an appetizer and salad bar, then you can order any meats or potatoes or veg you want from the waiter, as well as dessert. Its a set price with extra, I think, for drinks. If you happen to have a gold or platinum Amex card, its a real bargain: 4 eat for the price of 3 and they give you a bottle of wine to take home. Its a nice place, and we took advantage of the situation to try some cuts of meat that were new to us and that we could share all around. The meat quality was quite good.
This is awfully long, so Ill stop now. These were the highlights. If I feel inspired, I might add some more later.