Food itinieary in Buenos Aires
My wife and I will be travelling to BA in December and staying for 5 nights.
What does everyone think of the following dinner list? We definitely want to sample authentic Argentinian cusiines (parillas, etc.), but also like French, Japanese and Modern/Eclectic styles:
Any good brunch alternatives (Park Hyat is US$ 70pp!)?
What should we expect to pay for a dinner at La Bourgogne?
Thanks in advance!
All good choices - though, La Bourgogne, while good food, is old style French hotel food - not exactly what people usually come to BA for - also outrageously pricey - with a decent, but not excessive bottle of wine, count on 200 pesos or more per person. I might also substitute something on the creative Argentine cuisine side for La Cabrera - not that it's not good, but it's pricey, there are better steakhouses (you'll already have a better experience at Don Julio) - maybe something like Pura Tierra, Urondo, Thymus, Maat, Almanza....
Brunch isn't a big thing here, so for the most part it's limited to hotels that deal with American tourists, like the Park Hyatt. There are a few places that offer a decent brunch - Amaranta and Sirop both come to mind in Recoleta, Novecento in Las Canitas. There's a smorgasbord type brunch, not a north american style brunch, at Olsen that's good if you're in the mood for something in that vein. Other than that, weekend lunchtimes here are usually devoted to an asado, or barbecue.
I just found out about chowhound two months ago and it was a real blessing for me and my wife when we were in BA even though we know the city very well. Out of your list i would only not recommend Sucre which is no longer known as a good food place. La Bourgogne is very expensive and a little antiquated but the quality of the ingredients was very good. Osaka we also liked, a good experience and buzzy place. Both parillas are good i hear(we did not try them)and i would like to throw into the mix a place we discovered called La Escondida in Palermo..excelent cuts and prices. We also dined at 647 Club which was excelent, they have a very creative approach and really deliver with the food. I would have to agree with the general vibe on 647 that at this moment it is the best restaurant in the city.
We tried the brunch at the Alvear which was good but to nothing to go crazy about, we actually prefered the breakfast. I believe every where mentioned is within a 15 min cab from Palermo Soho.
My wife and I just got back from a weeklong trip to BA. Here are our thoughts on a few of the places you mentioned and a few others:
La Cabrera is a very bustling place. It's a walk or a very short cab ride from Palermo SoHo. It's ALL tourists, but the food is quite good and, as with all of the parillas, very plentiful. They move people in and out of here pretty quickly, and your meal will be on your table before you know it.
La Bourgogne: We didn't go here, but most of the posters on Chowhound seem to say it's pretty good, but very expensive. It isn't open on Sundays. If you go, you can grab a drink in the very nice lobby bar of the Alvear, which offers very pricy drinks in a nice setting. This will be a solid 10- to 20-minute cab ride from Palermo SoHo.
Cabana Las Lilas is a very famous parrilla in the Puerto Madera area -- a 15- or maybe 25-minute cab ride from Palermo. We found the food very good here -- the "baby beef" was perhaps the best sirloin steak we've ever had. This was a mix of locals and tourists, some of whom arrived in tour buses. They accept and honor reservations here, which not all of the restaurants do in BA.
For a parrilla in Palermo that Portenos frequent, I would recommend Miranda. We arrived here for dessert one night after being extraordinarily disappointed at another restaurant across the street (more on that below). The atmosphere was lively and the crowds seemed to enjoy their meals. The open kitchen was fun to watch, and the dessert and wine selection was very nice and reasonably priced.
I strongly recommend that you stay away from Standard, another restaurant in Palermo. Although our hotel and one or two other sources recommended it, we found the food awful. We weren't the only ones; we spotted another couple that had dined at Standard at the same time as us also having wine and dessert at Miranda after their meal. The house specialty chicken dish was overcooked, dry and tasteless. A seafood and rice dish was fishy and just terrible. The service was very slow.
Oleson, in Palermo Hollywood, was a really fun spot to have a drink, and several people recommended the food. (We didn't eat there). The theme is Swedish, and the restaurant has very nice places outside and inside to sit and either have a drink or a meal. The bar offered a number of vodkas, including specialty shots.
Bar Uriarte, in Palermo SoHo, was a great place to have lunch. The carpaccio here was some of the best we've had, and the atmosphere was very nice -- it was a good break from the lively street action n Palermo.
In Recoleta, we recommend Piegari, an Italian restaurant located under a bridge near the Four Seasons hotel. Don't let that description of the location steer you away; this place was crowded and served very good Italian dishes. (You'll find many Italian restaurants in this city, which has a very large Italian population). If you go here, share every dish between at least two people -- they're massive and delicious. The ravioli scroffa was spectacular.
Finally, for the best brunch you will ever have in your life, make a reservation for the Sunday brunch in La Mansion at the Four Seasons in Recoleta. (Note that this is different than the ordinary Sunday brunch at the hotel's lobby restaurant -- be sure to specify brunch at La Mansion). It includes everything you can imagine -- raw bar, chef stations, carving stations, a sushi chef, a creperie for dessert, you name it. The location and decor, too, is fantastic. It was very expensive -- I believe $40 U.S. per person -- but that included champagne, mimosas, etc.
You've probably heard that everyone eats dinner late in BA -- it's true. We found that a 10 p.m. dinner reservation was just about the right time for us.
Sucre is okay, not as good as when it first opened, I'd just go for lunch. Also, go to Cabanas las Lilas, it is still delicious. I highly recommend Casa Cruz, located in Palermo Viejo, Food, wine, service, and ambience is fabulous. I had the buffalo carpaccio for my starter and it was so good I had it the next night as my entree. I agree with the other posts, brunch is not really done in BA, skip it, you'll just be eating in a hotel restaurant with other Americans and Germans.
Personally and as a born and bred 'porteña', I think that your list is mainly comprised of fancy touristy places with little relation to real Argy fare. If you want poncy gourmet food at much cheaper prices than those at home, I would definetely say you're headed in the right direction. However, these places are exactly the same than the ones you would easily find in any big city maybe serving local ingredients but with a very similar approach and outcome to what you get everywhere else. Personally, I would go where the real Argies go for good, honest, simple food. For me, the best regional food we have is the one from the indigenous Northwestern area (Salta, Jujuy and Tucumán). If you have a chance to visit Purmamarca and Humahuaca in Jujuy and Cafayate in Salta (the wine region) please do so as the scenery and local food is simply stunning. In case your visit is only limited to Buenos Aires, I would strongly recommend that you sample a good tamal, humita en chala or some good, genuine empanadas. A cheap and lovely place to do so would be Cumaná on Rodriguez Peña street (and Av. Santa Fé). Also you could try a traditional salteño spot called 'ña serapia' on Las Heras Avenue, right opposite the Las Heras Park close to Alto Palermo metro or 1810 on Guatemala street, Palermo Soho. Pizza in Guerrín or 'El Cuartito' is incredible both for the quality and the atmosphere. A great, untouristy parrilla I would also recommend is 'Don Zoilo' on Honorio Pueyrredón and Galicia streets. If you have a chance to go to a place called Carlos Keen for the day, please do so. It's a gorgeous old town with some traditional parrillas. I had a celebration there recently (at restaurant Bien de Campo) and my hardcore meat-eating friends said it was the best meat they had ever tried! Also, a personal favourite of mine is Guido's Bar on Republica de la India street, opposite the zoo. There is no menu and for a fixed price you get brought lots of small plates with what's freshly made that day (it is different every time) so you sample great pizza, starters, meat, pastas, risottos, desserts and excellent wines in a lovely, Italian-stile trattoria full of funny pictures on the walls where you are served by the owner who is a real character. Have fun!