Lelé de Troya,at Costa Rica 4901 in Palermo Viejo. What a stunningly lovely place! An old, multi-story house turned into bohemian Mediterranean restaurant. Each room is a different color, and they have an interior patio room that is beautifully sunlit. You can see into the open kitchen and the made from scratch breads in process. The food was great, the service friendly and efficient. I'll go back again and again when I am in Buenos Aires.
Las Cholas, Arce 306, Las Canitas. This parrilla has a rooftop terrace as well as many streetside outdoor tables to go along with the interior dining room. It has a northern Argentine influence... and a superb menu. In addition to the meats you'd expect, they have grilled goat cheese, a large grilled vegetable platter, grilled trout, and much more. It was packed full for the late lunch the Sunday I was there -- with good reason. The food is not only delicious, it's very reasonably priced.
La Paila, Costa Rica 4848 (between Borges and Thames in Palermo Viejo), Tel: 4833-3599. This is one of my favorite "finds"in Buenos Aires. Downstairs it has a small stage where folkloric musicians perform and you can have dinner and watch the show (reservations are recommended). The music is exceptional. Upstairs is a lovely, lovely dining room that does not require reservations (nor do you pay the surcharge for the show). I prefer the upstairs room -- it's never crowded and you can hear the music, but not so loudly as to overpower the meal. The menu is largely dishes from the north of Argentina (the owner is from Catamarca). You can try things such as calabacita rellena (a stuffed small pumpkin) and even exotic things such as guise de llama (llama stew -- and quite delicious). Prices are VERY reasonable, and they have a wine-list of wines purchased directly from small bodegas in the north. Try the Tizac Bonarda for 19 pesos. Service here was done with such a pleasure and a smile that I HAD to go back... and back again. Even an Argentine friend commented on the great service -- he was wowed by it. They are open Sunday nights too -- when many places are not. Here is a photo of the upstairs dining room:
Mosoq, 5800 El Salvador (corner of Carranza) Palermo Soho. NO trip to Buenos Aires is complete for me without a trip or three to Mosoq. Not only for the delectable food (nuevoandina cuisine) - - try the ensalada langostino -- or the maracuya (passion fruit) cheesecake with fig reduction -- amazing! While they make the best martinis in town , do try one of the Pisco Sours... smooth, tangy, sweet, and deadly. They are now open for lunch. I have taken a number of friends to this restaurant, and everyone raves about it (locals included). The owners do speak fluent english, so if your castellano is horrid, you will still do well here.
Gout Cafe, Juncal 2124 (corner of Junin), Tel: 4825-8330. While they should have, perhaps, looked up the english meaning of this word before naming the cafe, don't let the name throw you off. It is lovely, the food delicious (I had a to-die-for cream of onion soup), the coffee excellent, and the service impeccable.
Mitico Sur, San Lorenzo 389, San Telmo, Tel: 4362-4750. This little patagonian food cafe serves up the best take a rest from the San Telmo Sunday craziness I've had. A beautiful platter of rolled venison and cheese, patagonian berries, garlic cream cheese, and dipping strips of bread will set you back 12 pesos! Here you can try a variety of teas, and even have Mate served properly -- in the gourd with the bombilla including a refill of the yerba mate and plenty of hot water for.. 4 pesos. Here is a photo of the platter:
San Cayetano Parrilla, Arenales 3100 (corner of Sanchez de Bustamante). Tel: 4821-0820. This is my favorite little parrilla -- and from its crowded status, others seem to be equally happy there. It's reasonably priced, the service (and the locals) friendly.. and the food nicely prepared.
Restó (Sociedad Central de Arquitectos), Montevideo 938, Tel: 4816-6711. This a tiny, starkly lovely restaurant set in the back of the building of the society of architects. Open for lunch and soem nights for dinner, they serve up from a very creative menu. I had the ginger and mussel soup.. nice, but you will need to salt/pepper your food here as at many restaurants because the foods have been prepared for the blander Argentine palate. Don't skip trying this cafe for this reason, just go knowing you'll have to ask for "sal y pimiento negro".
La Bodeguita, Sarmiento 1594, Tel: 4375-3388. I stopped in for an afternoon bottle of wine (I can't stop raving about it either: a 2003 Altocedro Malbec Reserva that was smooth and thoroughly luscious) and picada with a friend.. we both agreed that we'd love to go back for dinner.
Plaza España, Avenida de Mayo 1299 (corner of Santiago del Estero). If you happen to need a good dinner at 4 or 5 a.m. (this seems to happen to me rather often), ths is your place. Unlike other places that serve up mediocre dishes at 4 a.m. (think Madeliene's on Santa Fe), you can get a tender and succulent Bife de Lomo or lovely bowl of Sopa de Verduras that will make you go "yum yum". Service is pretty good at 4 a.m. At least it was for me the few times I went -- including being greeted with a smile.
Olsen, Gorriti 5870, Tel: 4776-7677. This is a visually stunning restaurant with a soaring ceiling, wood burning stove set in the middle of the room, and a minimalist garden that you stroll through on the way to restaurant. I was brought here by some Argentine friends, and our meal was sumptuous. I had the trucha (trout) with seared pears. Heavenly. Really. This is not an inexpensive restaurant, but one well-priced when you convert to dollars. Service is efficient, but not overly warm.
Piacere, Corner of Bustamante and Las Heras (and other locations throughout the city). They serve up a GREAT coffee (if you ask for the colombian). Nothing special otherwise (unless you count good company -- then it's great!), but if you long for great coffee stop in here (or at the Cafe Gourmet on Charcas between Coronel Diaz and Guise).
Las Molinas, I had a late (very) lunch at, I think, Las Molinas on Santa Fe.. a place I had passed by many times before and which I noticed was still serving food at 5 p.m. 20 pesos or so bought me a HUGE (I ate off of the leftovers for 2 more days!) picada (really, more of a tabla) of assorted meats and cheeses including fresh roasted turkey breast, blue cheese, salami, sausage, jamon crudo, etc PLUS ensalada rusa and olives.
Hollywood Almacén, Dorrego 1879, Tel: 4777 4281/4776 6482. This is another of my favorite places in Buenos Aires. Situated in a former neighborhood grocery store.. it's filled with character and great food. Another place where you will see more locals than not (and at that, those informed about food). I hadn't been in since April, but that didn't stop them from remembering me and greeting me with a smile.. even though I was dining "sola". As always, the homemade italian food was delicious (you HAVE to try the roasted and then marinated morrones agridulce -- truly exquisite). They serve up pasta with a mind boggling selection of sauces and a selection of tasty stews (such as ciervo -- which is venison ).
Anastasia, Bulnes 2593 (on the corner of Cabello ). Tel: 4802-8640 / 4808-0499. This is an upscale parrilla.. quite lovely, and with very tasty (but, not inexpensive) food. I found the service to be quite good... and ended up making friends with the couple at the next table and their two children. I talked with them all so much that I pretty much forgot what I ate and drank (but I remember liking it). Ha.
La Despensa, Isabel la Catolica 310, Barracas: With many thanks a local hero of mine, who most graciously escorted me to what was the best parrilla I've visted in Buenos Aires, I had the most delectable provoleta EVER, a very tasty Bife de Chorizo, and a yummy homemade flan for dessert. I think we had ensalada rusa too.. the nice malbec that shared the meal with me made me forget a few things. The service was nice. I loved the simple, clean, warmly decorated, decor. This was NOT in any way a tourist place.
El Establo, Paraguay 489, Microcenter: I had lunch here my last day in Buenos AIres.. very well prepared Mollejas (sweetbreads) from the parrilla, a provoleta, and batatas fritas . Service was impeccable.
Cantina de los Amigos, Loyola 701, Villa Crespo. I like this parrilla enough that I have been a number of times. It's a corner place, very casual, filled with friendly locals, has friendly service, and serves up great food. I had the Lomocito Brian (with asparagus, mushrooms, and a nice sauce) among other things. Wine by the bottle is very inexpensive here. They make homemade pastas (which according to the way I watched one friend slurp up a huge portion of lasagne, are delicious). The flan was excellent.
Desde De Alma, Honduras 5296 (at Godoy Cruz) in Palermo Viejo: This is a casa turned restaurant, complete with fireplace. Small, beautiful, and with extremely attentive service. I had the Cordero Patagonia.. very, very tasty. And the only bottle of syrah of my visit (I'm a malbec girl). It was good for a syrah (Escorihuela Carcassone Syrah).
Paté, República Dominicana 3382 (which is really just the pedestrian side of Charcas) between Guise and Bulnes. They consistently have very nice lomo with a variety of presentations. I've eaten there a few times, and continue to go as I enjoy the variety and the quality of the meat. I had a peppered lomo, and hmm.. well, I don't remember what... But, it was all tender and tasty.
Heiwa on Guise at Charcas, phone 4827-3860. They have delicious, very fresh, beautifully presented sushi take-out (no eat in). I usually stop in, place my order, go to the corner to Munchis and grab some ice cream, come back and pick up my sushi.
Cloe, on Sarmiento, El Tigre. This was recommended by a local, who apparently did not have anything close to a discerning palate. It was not bad, it was just not GOOD. Service was efficient. I fed most of my meal to a street dog who seemed to need the food far more than I wanted it.
Adann, José Hernández 2345 (one half block from Cabildo), Belgrano: Friendly, super attentive service. Very tasty food. I'll eat there again when I am next in Belgrano.
Gourmet Cafe on Charcas 2 doors from Coronel Diaz (2 doors from the chain coffee shop that has such horrid strong coffee). It's a tiny cafe and they serve up a delicious cup of coffee.. smooth, but not weak at prices pesos less than the chains (cappuccino was like 3.50 pesos) . They have sandwiches and salads and baked goods.. all freshly made. The owner speaks english, if needed. And he is a friendly source of of local information.