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Buenos Aires in October for Gluttony

Hello all,

I will be in BA for 5 nights in early October this year with my girlfriend. We will be staying at the Park Hyatt in Recoleta. I am looking for all sorts of dining experiences, money being no object. Would prefer places that are relatively close to the hotel however. Would like recommendations for the best empanadas, argentinian steakhouse, wine bars etc. Recommdations for Breakfast/Lunch and Dinner would be appreciated. Also, how is the weather around that time?

Thanks!

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  1. I just came back from Buenos Aires and definitely have some places to recommend!

    The most delicious steak we had was at La Cabrera (make sure it's the one on the corner of the street) in Palermo Soho. We ordered the Lomo y pepper concaisse and it was so incredibly tender and delicious! If you can, I'd suggest going there on the weekend, the food tastes a little better on Friday than it does on Thursday (yes I went there twice :)). Still good whenever though! And they serve all these interesting adorable little side dishes.

    Another recommendation I have is Cafe Tortoni. It's in the heart of the city, near Plaza Del Mayo. It's a famous cafe that has been open for 150 years, and has the best churros and ice cream I've ever had! So delicious!

    4 Replies
    1. re: Chew on That

      Sorry, but La Cabrera is a tourist trap. And the tables are so close that is imposible to eat your steak because your neighboor's elbow is in your plate.
      And besides it is expensive for our standards. As a local argentine, I prefer Parrilla Peña, at Rodríguez Peña 682, which is neither sofisticated, not for tourists, and the beef and the inner parts of the national sacred cow are always superb. Go there and ask for asado del centro or bife angosto.

      1. re: schuss

        I hear good things about Parilla Pena.. I am going to check it out next week..

        1. re: schuss

          Hi there,

          Been to BsAs 6 times in the last 18 months. Only been to Parilla Pena once and and La Cabrera once as well. I actually like Parilla Pena. I had read a blog by Lane Mosler whom wrote about her experience. I went at lunch solo and one of my better steak meals, besides and an Asado at a Winery ( Im an Importer ) I liked the home feeling and old world charm. Just hard to beat for the experience. I like the old school places and this is one of them The owner is hands on and works the cash register. A must try in my eyes..

        2. re: Chew on That

          We spent a couple of weeks in SA in October 2008 (Argentina, Uruguay and Chile) including a week in Buenos Aires. I have to agree with Chew on That, that while we got some great parillada all over the three countries, the best steak was from La Cabrera, hands down. Because i had read about the wait and the lines, crowding, etc., we decided to go midday, integrated into a shopping trip in the area. The resaturant was not filled, the staff was pleasant and attentive, and chatted with us about our trip and our experiences in BA. When we mentioned that we were there celebrating our anniversary, the manager insisted that we take an additional reserve bottle of wine in a fancy container with us as a gift. The bill for the two of us sharing a 2 lb, rib ey steak with all the fixings (all entrees come with 12 sides plus house baked breads), plus a bottle of wine that they had recommended for our meal, came to about $47 US including the service charge. I wish I lived closer.

          Coupon for November:

          http://www.facebook.com/lacabrerabsas

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/602001

        3. I just returned from a BA holiday,staying at the Park Hyatt (by the way-a fabulous hotel !) . There is a wonderful Italian restaurant withing blocks of the hotel called Sotto Voce. Excellent food,non-touristy, and a real Porteno atmosphere. Dine around 9-9.30,no earlier.

          1. I went to Buenos Aires on business last year in late-September and stayed until early October. My hotel was also in Recoleta so I did quite a bit of walking around in that area. I remember it being rainy, so take an umbrella.

            As far as restaurants I would recommend hands down Lo de Jesus (at Gurruchaga 1406.) You'll need to cab it as the restaurant is in the Palermo Soho neighborhood (as far as I remember) The restuarant is low key with excellent steaks. Another good place, which is mentioned in several travel books, is Cabana las Lilas (Puerto Madero about a 10-15 minutes cab ride from Recoleta). It's crowded, you'll need reservations and chances are you'll still have to wait for your table once you get there. However, the food is good and steaks in particular are great. Sottovoce (Avenida Del Libertador 1098 y Ayacucho, Recoleta) is also good.

            There is a tiny empanada shop (Posadas 1515) called El Sanjuanino which is fantastic and it's a great spot for a quick lunch or snak. The empanadas are like 2 pesos each and they only accept cash.

            Rosmarino (Schiaffino 2183, Recoleta) is so-so...it can be really good, e.g.: I had a great experience when I ordered steak, but a not so good experience when I went for their rollo de cabrito. It's a very lively spot at night; however, the street where they are can be a bit sketchy and I heard of someone who was mugged (right after getting off a cab) while I was there.

            I also felt I could not leave without having dinner at La Bourgogne (Alvear Palace Hotel, Recoleta) I had read in several publications (Leisure + Travel, Wine Spectator, etc....) that this restaurant is billed as the best restaurant in South America. I was very disappointed in the food. My dish choices were only OK (which I felt was not OK at all at a place which aims so high and is one of the most expensive restaurants in B.A. to boot); however, my dinning companion was not so lucky, his steak was terribly overcooked and it just went downhill from there. The flambee sauce (cooked at table side) that went with the overcooked steak seemed to be the waiter's main preocupation rather than the effectiveness of the entire dish. So the steak overcooked while he put on his "show." Since we didn't have any time left to spare (we had tickets to a tango show) we didn't have time to wait for another steak--besides how can their waitstaff justify not knowing when a steak ordered rare is crossed over to the beyond well done state? Did we get a rooky? Who knows, regardless a restaurant at this level needs to train their waitstaff on their own time and not incovenience their guests this way. The whole experience was inexcusable.

            Of course the fact that I was robbed at La Bourgogne--and I don't mean the check--did nothing to endear them to me. On our rush to leave for the show we left two umbrellas behind. One belonging to our hotel, and another expensive one which was my personal property. The next morning we went back to retrieve our umbrellas...guess which one was missing? Since only their employees have access to the coat check area I felt it was their responsiblity to replace the lost umbrella; however, they did nothing and did not even try to compensate me for the loss. So what can I say, I would never go back nor recommend La Bourgogne. On a positive note, I loved the red leather chairs in the main dining room. It's too bad all the attention to detail seem to have gone to the decor rather than the food--not to mention management's blind eye to the lack of honesty of their personnel.

            1. The weather is pretty good in October but as it is there early spring it can be unpredictable. My top tip for dinner has got to be 647 Dinner Club (www.club647.com). I can only say one word...WOW! Coming from Manhattan it is not easy to impress me and to be honest i am a little worn out with so called top restaurants that turn out to be anything but that.I got the heads up from the new Conde Naste Hot Table 2008 and for once i was not dissapointed. The place looks amazing and more importantly the night i went it was not full of tourists.(my pet hate while travelling
              )The whole night was a true pleasure. The food was the best i had eaten in the city which includes a good but boring experience at La Bourgogne(good for the over 80's!) and the cocktails where almost to good. I started with a delicious Grape and Blue Chesse Tart Tatin, then moved onto the Lamb Tenderloin...incredible! and finally finished with an incedible Whisky Parfait. A really perfect experience.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ANA2008

                Breakfast is not much of a deal in BA -- it's generally a cafecito (small coffee) with a roll and maybe some fruit. But the Park Hyatt is GORGEOUS so I'm assuming you will have a breakfast buffet, which means you'll have croissants and beautiful fruit and most important, dulce de leche. If the weather is good, have breakfast outside in the garden

                Since you'll be in Recoleta, walk down one evening to Recoleta Park. There is a variety of restaurants, all outdoors, all filled with both locals and visitors who are dining, drinking and surveying the scene. (From the Park Hyatt, go out the Avenida Alvear side, turn right and just walk up a few blocks.) This is a splendid place to have pizza, which is a BA specialty.

                You also will find many coffee bars as well as ice cream shops -- another BA specialty. Try the ice cream at Freddo http://www.freddo.com.ar/ which has a branch in Recoleta as well as on Avenida Florida. And be sure to get some dulce de leche filled wafers from Havanna (there is a shop in the Galleria in Recoleta, and also in the Galleria on Florida.)

              2. Also, people in BA dine late -- most restaurants don't begin to fill up until about 10 a.m. If you go any earlier, you'll be in an empty restaurant. It's a good idea to have a snack around sixish to tide yourself over (the wafers....)

                3 Replies
                1. re: brendastarlet

                  Thanks for all this! It's been very helpful - keep the recommendations coming!

                  1. re: Cityplace

                    Breakfast - 1816 (that's the name of the cafe) a couple blocks toward the river from the Olleros subte stop. They have a great complete breakfast - media lunas, orange juice, cafe, toast with jam & cream cheese - for about 10 pesos.

                    Dinner - In Recoleta is Casa Saltshaker, a very cool experience. Look it up online (or search for it on these boards - the owner comments here every once in a while). Set menu, paired wine, reservations required, highly recommended

                    Dinner - Las Cholas. In the Las Canitas neighborhood, which is constantly jumping at night. It was so darn good we went there a few nights in a row. Argentine parilla, everything is tasty.

                    1. re: cscsman

                      Thanks for the recommendation!

                      1816 is gone, replaced by another similar spot (fourth restaurant in that locale in three years...)

                      Las Cholas - definitely a fun hot spot for parrilla.

                      La Cabrera - definitely touristy, same with Sottovoce - and both way overpriced for BA. Still, both are good, and by U.S. or European standards not expensive.

                      La Bourgogne - well, come on, it's a pricey French hotel restaurant in Latin America...

                2. I have to agree with Ana2008 about 647 Dinner Club which is still relatively unknown on the well beaten tourist track. I have eaten in all the top Parilla's and the best steak that i ate was 647's Rib Eye...amazingly tasty and cooked perfectly. In fact i would go as far as to stay that it is the best meat i have eaten EVER!

                  1. Am in BsAs for a month from mid Sept to mid Oct, with trips away to the wine country and Patagonia. Based in a condo just aroung the corner form Park Hyatt.

                    I am in town Oct 4-9, if you're interested in another foodie joining you for lunch or dinner(means we can test more wines!). I'm a 65 yr old retired exec from Toronto. Unfortunately my wife is probably not joining me as one of her family members has developed health issues, so I'm up for dining companions. Can do some scouting before!

                    1. We just got back and stayed at the Park Hyatt - the photos don't do it justice, it is fantastic! They have an enoteca and cheese room (open at 6:00). Do go as it's great. The only drawback to the room was that we would go to Al Queso Queso (a chain of wine and cheese restaurants) and buy wine and cheese and pate and just sit in our room and enjoy it, They bring ice to your room at 6:00.
                      But in the nabe I loved La Cabana - it's an Orient Express owned restaurant and while the steaks weren't measurably much better than the other fantastic steaks we had, it's a lovely place. Cafe Biela is a must for breakfast and La Chicrita a couple of blocks away is AWESOME - we stumbled upon it and had a fantastic meal. Also Cafe Victoria is very pretty and we'd hang out with the locals and eat milanesa with a fried egg on top (along with the mandatory bottle of malbec) many a time. Oh, you'll love it!

                      1. If you stay at the Park Hyatt, the Sunday brunch is FANTASTIC. Those of us North Americans living in Buenos Aires, like to come there on Sunday to get an uncommon brunch.
                        I agree with Ana on 647, it is a must see....albeit a 10 min taxi ride from your hotel.
                        La Cabrera and Sottovoce are tourist traps to me.
                        For empanadas and porteño style pizza, I recommend the very authentic El Cuartito on Talcuhuano, popular with the local jocks and university students. Bring your appetite and cash, they don't accept credit cards.
                        For steaks and parilla, I like another place not too far from your hotel, El Yugo on Ayacucho. You likely won't hear English being spoken in the place, have been going here ever since I moved here....I recommend the bife de chorizo (NY strip) and the papas provenzal (garlic fries). Welcome to Buenos Aires, a true foodie city!

                        1. Not sure if Sucre is still live and well, but i was there in fall of 2006 - we loved it so much we went twice in 5 nights. I think it's in Palermo.... also there is a Lebanese place (name escapes me) that is on the second floor of the Argentina-Arab Club...bellydancing; good food!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: foodie08

                            I have just returned from my latest trip to Buenos Aires(i have been going for the last 5 years) and tried quite a few of the latest recomendations that i found on this site with varying degrees of success to say the least. My philosophy is not to trash places so i wont go into the ins and outs of the experiences that where not so great but i will give some gentle direction. I tried among others Purra Tierra, La Vineria Gualterio Bolivar,Casa Cruz(again...) all of which have recieved varying degrees of praise but i was underwhelmed to say the least.
                            The good experiences i had among others but these two stand out where at 647 Dinner Club and Resto. Resto i ate lunch at and had been wanting to go over the last couple of years, finally arriving and not being dissapointed. A well appointed small place that delivered great food for lunch. The other was 647 Dinner Club where i ate the best food of my trip in lavish surroundings.Two experiences i would definately recommend!!

                          2. Cityplace: did we miss where you post the trip report?

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: kel

                              Well, turns out that we didn't up going at the time of the original post - but, my girlfriend at the time is now my wife, and we're going to Buenos Aires for our honeymoon from Nov. 15 - Nov. 20 and looking forward to trying all of these recommendations!

                              I'll definitely report back after we get back!

                              Thanks again for all the recommendations!

                              1. re: Cityplace

                                You should probably check some of the more recent threads on this topic. I didn't read the whole thread but restaurants open and close quickly here and things change quickly.

                            2. I was just in Buenos Aires this past March and absolutely loved the city. The food is excellent and sooooo cheap. Here are some of the places that we dined at:

                              -- Bar Abierto - Had empanadas there a few times. It was by far our favorite spot for good empanadas. It's open early for breakfast, so we would grab a little table outside, have our coffee and order our empanadas. It's located in a plaza in Palermo Soho. Don't have the address, but I'm sure you can get it online.

                              -- Gran Bar Danzon - AMAZING!! If I were to go back, this is a place that I would definitely go to again. The ceviche was absolutely delicious. Their ravioli dish was to die for. Plus, the ambiance is very romantic and cool at the same time. It's candle lit and cozy.

                              --647 Dinner Club. The Ribeye was to die for. The veal carpaccio for an app was pretty darn good too.

                              --Freud & Fahler - Located in Palermo Soho - Another good choice. Both their pork & chicken entrees were great. It's very casual, but you could tell that the ingredients that they use are very fresh.

                              I hope you enjoy your trip!