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“Wondering where the 'excellent' food was...”
Review of Casal de cataluya

Casal de cataluya
Ranked #743 of 4,847 Restaurants in Buenos Aires
Certificate of Excellence
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Reservations
Neighborhood: San Telmo
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Level Contributor
12 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Wondering where the 'excellent' food was...”
Reviewed April 28, 2014

Well, I should start with my expectations - having seen a friend's photos of a whole suckling pig and an overly positive review in Pick Up the Fork, a famous Buenos Aires food blog, I had to investigate for myself when my favorite Spanish-expat friend was in town for the week.

I left confused... and hungry.

I'll go chronologically - first, my dinner partner asked for tap water. A sensitive point in Argentine restaurants, but I'm assuming common enough among American diners that it wasn't the first time the waiter had gotten that request. He told her that the water would be right out.
About 10 minutes pass, no waiter returns, and there certainly isn't any water. A second waiter comes to take our order, the request for tap water is repeated, and this time the waiter curtly replies that this restaurant does not serve tap water. Ok, no harm done, we can get sodas, but..

The first tapas arrive - patatas bravas, and garlic prawns ('shrimp scampi'). The roasted potato pieces have a lot of paprika dumped on top, and other than that are served plain. Absolutely nothing special. The 4 shrimp are cooked well, but lacking any unique flavors and are swimming in a plate of oil. Charred garlic bits stick to the shrimp. Simple, reasonably cooked, and recommended to order but won't blow you away.

Now on to entrees - my friend the vegetarian had severely limited options (this place is not ideal for vegetarians at all, but you don't know 'til you try!) and ended up with a plate of sauteed red peppers, green peppers, and onions. I could have prepared it better at home myself. I ordered the chicken and saffron rice, which came out so undercooked that the white centers of the rice were visible even through the thick orange coating. It was a flavorless, crunchy disaster, and inedible.

The crema catalunya arrived a whole 20 minutes after we ordered it, but was very good. Some burnt bits I could do without but overall a stand-out on the lineup. Would recommend to try, but still short of amazing.

So I left wondering if I'd gone to the right place, happy to have a 30% discount (Thursday is their 'noche de mujeres' apparently.. at least for any mujeres who can't eat their rice), and not with any clear intention to return. The space is beautiful, but it felt like something was missing in the execution of each dish. If you've chalked my anecdote up to one bad experience and are going to dive in anyways, stick with the seafood dishes and keep your vegetarians at home.

  • Visited April 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Mel I
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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226 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    69
    107
    23
    16
    11
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
24 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Great food, nice people, superb hidden location”
Reviewed February 9, 2014

The suckling pig as well as the fish of the day were outstanding. Huge portions and cooked very simple, like the Argentinians like it. We've been there twice in our week in BA and enjoyed the waiters as much as the location, esp. the tiles on the wall. The place fills up after 10pm, like most places in South America. Prices are okay. Wine recommendation was great. The Salentein red at least.

  • Visited February 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank USMB13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Munich, Germany
Level Contributor
21 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Expensive and nothing special”
Reviewed December 9, 2013

Expensive seafood, average taste, quite expensive wines, not many guests, average service, however nice room

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
Thank Jack T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Level Contributor
31 reviews
23 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Probably best pig in town”
Reviewed April 15, 2013

Big portions, nice attention, variety of dishes... Ideal for special occasions, and located in a popular neighbourhood like San Telmo. As many other reviewers say, the pig is probably the best in town: it's so tender that the chef comes out to "carved/cut" with... plates! Don't miss it, and don't forget to order "natillas" as dessert!

  • Visited June 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Flavio S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Gunnison, Colorado
Level Contributor
190 reviews
67 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 181 helpful votes
“We went twice”
Reviewed December 19, 2012

The Casal, like so many nice restaurants in Buenos Aires, opens at 9:00. The appetizers were special (grilled assorted mushrooms, shrimp boiling in oil pots) and the salads excellent. We did try the pig, but it was not great as we only ordered a fourth. It would be better ordered whole and split among four! Prices were middle of the range for inflation driven Buenos Aires.

  • Visited December 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Y1964oung
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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