Tia Elvira, Ushuaia
We went to this restaurant on the recommendation of our tour guide the first time, and the second time we went because adult son wanted a repeat. The restaurant is located on the street that runs along the harbor/waterfront in Ushuaia, Argentina and has large windows that provide diners with up-close views of the canal and the pier.
Although it has a big sign, it is really a very small restaurant. Lunch theoretically begins at noon, but when we got there at 11:45 customers were already seated. By 12:30 people were waiting out front for tables. Argentinians eat dinner late, so when we arrived at 7 PM we were the only people there. . .by 8:30 there was a que. Tables downstairs are VERY close, so if you have the option choose a table along the wall or window to avoid having to get up to let waiters and other guests through.
The walls of the restaurant are adorned by antique photos of the region and various artifacts collected by the owners during their 35 years in business. The menu features fairly straightforward Argentine dishes such as grilled meats (steak, pork and chicken) and several veal dishes, but the restaurant serves mostly simple seafood preparations, including king crab, scallops, squid, mussels, salmon, trout, sea bass, hake, pollock and cod in a variety of sauces, such as Roquefort or Parmesan. Homemade pastas include lasagna and stuffed cannelloni. There is an extensive wine list.
We had the king crab both times we visited. Somewhat disappointed that I could not get a nice whole boiled king crab with drawn butter, or even whole king crab legs with drawn butter (my favorite way to enjoy king crab) I settled the first time for the King Crab in oil, butter and garlic and the second time for the King Crab in a Parmesan cream sauce.
Dinner starts with a basket of very good bread, a crock of crab spread and a crock of butter. The crab spread was quite delightful on the bread, and we found ourselves knife dueling for the last bits. Soon after the crab arrived. Both times the crab was served in a medium size casserole dish that was chuck full of crab. Because the oil was a bit much for me (though it tasted wonderful) I took the crab out of the casserole and drained it on my plate. The crab is a much tastier version than its Alaskan cousin. Both dishes were very filling, though I must admit I personally liked the one with oil and garlic somewhat better. If you plan on having appetizers and side dishes, I would suggest getting one dish for two people. As with most restaurants in Argentina, side dishes are sold separately. The servings are quite large: we had one order of French Fries and it served all four of us. Both times we had very nice local Argentinian wines that complimented the dinner. Service was attentive though some tourists did not understand that they should signal the waitress when they were ready to order. In all dining at the Tia Elvira was an enjoyable experience.
Cost of dinner is highly variable depending on what you order. The most expensive dish on the menu is the King Crab at around $25 to$27 USD but some fish dishes as little as $6 USD. So no matter what your price range, go, enjoy the view and the ambiance of an Ushuaia institution.
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