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Trip Report - Buenos Aires

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Restaurants & Bars

Trip Report - Buenos Aires

Mari | Jan 12, 2006 09:49 AM

I was in Buenos Aires for a wedding a few weeks ago, so here is a round up of what I did in BA (and unfortunately for Chowhound I decided to concentrate on shopping more than eating since the deals were incredible). A Rio de Janeiro report should follow.

Empanadas San Juanino - this empanada shop was a few blocks from our hotel in the Recoleta neighborhood. Many claim that this is the place to eat empanadas, and even a cab driver endorsed it. My favorite dishes were the empanada de choclo y queso (corn and cheese) and the humita (like a Mexican tamal only a little wider). We also tried the provoleta, beef and chicken empanadas, and locro (a thick, rich stew). I didn't care much for the locro - perhaps it was too heavy for the warm day. Someone else at the table ordered a chicken breast, which was basically a grilled chicken breast. I didn’t try the beef here, but my suggestion is to stick to the empanadas and humitas.

Cabana de las Lilas – according to many, this is the place to splurge on a steak. A huge steak runs about US$12-$16, but the sides are extra. A $5 cover (per person) includes different breads, fresh mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, salmon, a delicious Roquefort cheese spread and olives. I ordered the bife de chorizo, the typical cut in Argentina, and it was well worth the $15 or so. I shared an ensalada de palmitos (about US$8). We got French fries (thin-cut), mashed potatoes and souffléd potatoes as our sides. The mashed potatoes were the best I have had in a long time because the butter they used was extraordinary. In fact, we devoured the butter with our bread because the butter was delicious. The soufflé potatoes were a bit disappointing since we expected some sort of soufflé. Instead, we received puffy potato chips. As part of the US$5 couvert, we also received a small dessert plate at the end of our meal. You can probably find equally excellent and cheaper beef elsewhere, but we thought that the US$40 per person (including wine and tip) that we spent was worth it given that we had a great view of the waterfront.

Freddo and Volta – these are both gelato shops. Freddo is everywhere, so I was weary of visiting a chain with a shop on every corner. Nevertheless, I could have had Freddo everyday during my stay – my favorite was chocolate suizo (chocolate ice cream with huge chocolate chunks and dulce de leche mixed in). Volta is on Avenida Santa Fe and Corrientes. This place has a very sleek, modern interior and also sells fancy chocolates – I forget what I had, but it was also delicious.

La Biela – this is a nice café in the Recoleta neighborhood with simple offerings for an afternoon snack. I had a decent salad and lemonade and probably paid too much for it, but it’s a great people-watching place.

Estancia San Ceferino – the wedding party decided to organize an escapade to a typical Argentinian estancia. San Ceferino is about an hour away from BA and is a working farm. They bake their own breads, make all dairy products from the fresh milk of their cows (including dulce de leche) and specialize in desserts. The US$85 per person/per night was a bit steep, but it included breakfast, lunch, a snack and dinner. The food itself was quite good – particularly their snacks that consisted of about 10 different desserts served for teatime.

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