Another business trip to Montevideo. Another sojourn across the river to Buenos Aires. Another round of restaurants. Okay, in no particular order . . . . just the good . . . perhaps even the great.
Kensho – vegetarian restaurant out in Chacarita at Zárraga y Estomba. I think my pals called the specific neighborhood Bodeo? Neat ‘hood and a good walk-about that day. The chef is Máximo Cabrera (of Bio fame); while I occasionally frequent vegetarian restaurants, my friends were somewhat hesitant to check it out (carnivores exclucivo!). But after eating there, all they could say was, “Incredible!” The meal was exquisite and explosions of flavors rippled over our palettes as we sat back on our cushions and soaked it all in. Pretty good service to boot. Definitely a food experience no matter what your particular taste is. Highly recommended.
Bella Italia – fantastic, classy Italian restaurant at Republica Atrabe Siria 3285, near the botanical gardens. We ate at their little café, across the street, a few years back and loved it, so this place has been on my short list for some time. Let me just say - this is one of the best meals I’ve eaten in Buenos Aires, and a new member of my top 5 picks. Pastas are delicate, sauces have layers of slow-cooked flavors and the bread and the wine list and the service and the atmosphere . . . simply a charming evening. Highly recommended.
Sarkis – Armenian restaurant out in Villa Crespo (easy walking distance from Palermo SoHo or Hollywood), located at 1100 Thames. For some reason I’ve passed on this joint over the years. It’s a lively place (in need of a face lift) with a lot of locals keeping the staff hopping – I really liked the food – and it was surprisingly spicy for BsAs. Only Sudestrada has served spicier food in the 50+ restaurants I’ve eaten at in BsAs. Recommended.
Sipan – Peru meets Japan at this interesting bar/restaurant located at Paraguay 624 in the heart of the city near San Martin Plaza. The Pisco Bar is a mixologist’s delight, serving up interesting cocktails in a functional environment. The restaurant felt a bit buttoned up as well, but the food was fresh and clean. (there’s not much a chef can do to mess up fresh fish) Ceviches and an interesting interpretation of Chifa, (a fusion of Creole and Chinese foods dating back to when the Chinese cruised the Peruvian coastline in the mid- to late 15th century) were bright, fresh and lightly nuanced with herbs and spices. Bravo. If you aren’t in the mood for pizza at nearby Filo, this is a good fallback position. Recommended.
Puratierra – chef Martin Molteni has it all goin’ on at this Belgrano food shrine, located at 3 de Febrero 1167. Locally sourced, classic Argentinean dishes with clever twists and turns that are meant to showcase the traditions of the various rich cultures that have come to define the modern day Portenos experience. I can’t say enough about this place. Unbelievable food, expertly prepared and cooked, and presented with true front-of-house professionalism. This is what it’s all about when it comes to being a great chef and restaurant team. I will definitely be back. Highly recommended.
Baqueano – Okay, deep breadth. This was the most hit-and-miss restaurant we ate at (others fell below the minimum review curve, but this one was interesting enough to report on). It’s a cute little spot in San Telmo. Can’t say I’d ever heard of it before. I typically don’t like dishes that have too much going on all at one time – I like small portions that are focused and refined when it comes to tasting excursions. But, there were a few things I ate at this ambitious restaurant that were really quite good. Some too busy for my palette, but everything was well prepared. I’d recommend this if you are adventurous and want to experiment – let’s just say they put the ‘fun’ back into dysfunctional.
Overall, good eats in the good city of Buenos Aires. More food, less attitude. Eat well. Peace.