La Carniceria, Buenos Aires, 5/25/19

building
building

La Carniceria is a small place with about 10 small bare wood tables and a few counter stools.  Tables are placed fairly close together and a mural of hanging meat fills the back wall.  Opposite that is the cooking area behind the bar.   The chairs are a comfortable wire mesh and the floor is a lovely terrazzo.  Music plays in the background and windows look out onto the street.  It looks relatively new and is a comfortable ambiance.  It filled up quickly and the noise level rose with that, but it workable.  Our server was helpful and friendly and spoke great English. The menu is small and is heavy on the grilled meat.  Portions are generous and the food is simple and straightforward but seriously delicious.  Doing something simple really well can often dwarf the frilly, less flavorful options.  This place is highly recommended by me to visit. Continue reading

Cafe Tortoni, Buenos Aires, 5/25/19

line to get in
line to get in

Cafe Tortoni dates back to 1858 and moved to its present location in 1880 but has long been a part of Buenos Aires history.  A French style place where artists and scholars visited in the early 1920s it now hosts regular tango shows as well as serving up coffee, alcohol and a good variety of fresh pastries and snacks.  But this did not seem to be a place to have a meal, more just a drink and snack and people watch or to absorb some of the atmosphere.   It is typical to find a line to get in but the line moved quickly and we were in soon.  I read about a large basement room but didn’t get to see it.  There was a room more like a library filled with books and mementos.  The whole place was filled with stuff – photos, trophies, books, stained glass lamps, art and small marble tables.  There is a Tiffany glass ceiling and a collection of Tiffany lamps on top of the service area.  If you need to take some of the place with you there is a large number of souvenirs for sale. Continue reading

Tegui, Buenos Aires, 5/24/19

entrance
entrance

Tegui is a medium sized place that is a surprise inside as its building is covered with graffiti and the entrance is marked only on the door.  The well spaced tables are set with nice white tableclothes and huge napkins.  A bench seat provides the seating along one wall for the smaller tables where as the 4-tops are next to large windows looking out to an area of lighted plants.  One end of the room is a wall of glassed in wine bottles and the other the open kitchen, highlighted by a huge stainless steel bull head on the end of the vent hood.  The lighting was mostly provided by candles and pop music played in the background.  The ceiling was a shiny black wood and the wood floor was painted gray.  They have been here 10 years.  The staff was all friendly, helpful and conversant in English.  They only offer a tasting menu, for which the course listing was at the table, and wine pairings are available, however we chose to order our own wines.  They featured a number of local items in their dishes. Continue reading

Bar Plaza Dorrego, Buenos Aires, 5/24/19

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building

Bar Plaza Dorrego is good sized and right across from the plaza where tango dancers perform and vendors sell trinkets.  It has been around a long time – I found one photograph dated 1904 – and the walls and furnishings look like they have not been replaced in a long while.  It is full of character.  The large u-shaped bar is the centerpiece of the room and the tables wrap around the walls.  Windows are on a couple sides as the building as it’s on a corner.  Photos line the wall and the bar is stocked with liquors and coffee.  The staff were friendly and welcoming.  We only stopped for coffee but it came with a little bowl of delicious amaretto cookies to snack on.  They do offer sandwiches, steaks and pastires, but most people were just drinking.  It felt like history surrounded us and was a wonderful place to pass a few restful moments. Continue reading

Elena Restaurante, Buenos Aires, 5/24/19

door sign
door sign

Elena is a huge restaurant located in the Four Seasons Hotel.  Even with all the space, the small wood tables are placed closed together.  They are set with small square leather placemats and napkins embossed with their logo.  Bench seating lines several walls and there were a couple rounded booths on one side.  There was a staircase in the room and windows to rooms upstairs but I saw no one eating up there.  However there was a dumb waiter in the room that seemed to be carrying things up and down.  It is a striking room with a black and white tile floor, tons of wood and tile on the walls with metal accents.  A large open kitchen is on one end of the room across from the glassed in cabinets of meat. You could see the flames from the gas grill around the meats that were cooking.  A large domed skylight is in the center of the room and provided a ton of light during the day.  There was music in the background.  The menu was in Spanish and English and they did offer a lunch special.  Service was poor with long waits between server check-ins and they forgot to bring the potatoes with our meat.  I finally was able to flag down a manager type, as the server was not to be found, and she got them out asap.  However she also managed to splatter the wine when she poured it  and tried to charge more for the wine than was printed.   There seemed to be as many locals as tourists there but the ambiance was weird and the food average at best. Continue reading

CHILA – Relais & Chateaux, Buenos Aires, 5/23/19

entrance
entrance

CHILA is a larger place that offers only a tasting menu, but they do have a vegetarian option for it.  The night we were there they also offered an additional caviar option. Wine pairings (8 glasses for about 15 courses) are available and we opted for them this evening.  Pacing of the meal was fairly quick and portion control was good.  The staff were all very friendly.  It is a place with a modern look, bare wood tables set with huge linen napkins and comfortable stuffed arm chairs, and lowered lighting.  There is a wonderful view of the city through their windows. Continue reading

Roux Resto, Buenos Aires, 5/23/19

entrance
entrance

Roux is casual medium sized place with white clothes and napkins.  There is a bar at one end of the room with a pass through window to the kitchen but no seating at the bar.  The small tables are fairly closely set and windows to the street are on two sides of the room.  The other walls are painted and decorated with art and mirrors;  the floor is a natural wood.  At lunch is was a light and airy feeling room.  American music plays in the background but sound tiles in the ceiling keep the noise level good.  The day we were there they offered a special Anniversary tasting menu but normally the menu is all a la carte.  Chef Martin Rebaudino was in the house and came out to visit with his guests.   All the staff were attentive and friendly although some had limited ability to speak English.  The portions were generous and the pacing good.  I did see an amuse bouche being served to other tables but it missed us. Continue reading

Don Julio, Buenos Aires, 5/22/19

building
building

Don Julio is a good sized place with additonal seating on a second level and outdoor tables also available.  The small tables are fairly close but nicely covered with white clothes with brown runners and white napkins.  Small service tables help with overflow on the smaller tables.  Wine bottles consumed from their cellar of over 14,000 bottles are signed by their drinkers and displayed on the walls.  The ceiling is made of bricks and old tile decorates the floor.  The open grill area is filled with grilling meats as several cooks man the fire and grill.  Windows to the street and patio area are on two sides as the building sits on a street corner. The place was packed with people but noise did not seems to be a problem at lunch.  It is a very well known place so reservations are a must but for those who have to wait for a table they offer champagne and empanadas to make the wait easier.  They offer a large menu but this place is about beef.  The cozy feel of the place is helped by the excellent, welcoming staff.  When they found we were “foodies” they offered us a tour of the kitchen and wine cellars.  This is significant in that the kitchen is down the street and the manager walked down with us to meet the chef and see some of the preparations of the kitchen that makes everything served – from charcuterie to bread to vinegars and they age their own meat.  The wine cellar was impressive with its huge collection of bottles and also had a table for special parties there.  Plates are filled with generous portions and sharing is fine. Continue reading

Aramburu, Buenos Aires, 5/21/19

entry
entry

Aramburu was a medium sized modern looking place that had been in this location just 3 weeks when we ate there.  The bare tables are of stone or wood and accompanied by different chairs.  The large open kitchen takes up one long side of the room which is opposite windows, to the alley/street, that were covered with blinds.  The painted walls are topped with a brick ceiling and hanging light fixtures.  The light fixtures are minimal as the place is fairly dark.  It has a casual feel but you have to ring the bell to get inside.  There are just 12 tables and some music plays in the background.  The staff were super friendly and welcoming and spoke great English.  They serve only a tasting menu and wine pairings are available.  There is no printed version of the menu handed out, however they volunteer to email it and they actually did.  Pacing started out quite rapid but then allowed more time between courses and portion control was good.  We ordered our own wines from the recommendations by the excellent sommelier. Continue reading

Parrilla Peña, Buenos Aires, 5/21/19

building
building

Parrilla Peña is a small place with closely spaced small tables covered with white clothes and napkins.  Windows look out on to the street but have drapes to partially cover them.  The menu is large and most plates are enough for two.  It accepts only VISA or cash.  The staff are friendly and helpful but the English is limited.  Wines line the upper parts of the walls and they have a long pole to grab yours and bring it down.  You enter into an area that separates the kitchen by a low bar and looks like a takeout area.  The other end of the kitchen is open to the back part of the dining room.  It lent a small amount of noise to the dining room but mostly it was banter of the regular customers.  This place felt “old school” serving simple but real local flavors, in huge portions.  It is not creative or the best but a perfect example of what you might eat on a regular basis if you lived here.  It was good, satisfying and an overall fun experience. Continue reading