Buenos Aires/Montevideo trip report
My thoughts on some of the restaurants we visited on our recent trip to BA/MV:
Parilla Pena: Very good authentic Parilla - not full of tourists! They give you an empanada at the beginning, which was good. Way too brightly lit! Great bife de chorizo. Best flan we had on the entire trip, but they didn't have coffee for some reason. Terrible bread, but all of the bread in AR sucks, even at high end restos, it seems. Try it for an authentic experience.
Las Doritas: Very good, but we ordered the vacio (flank steak) which was kind of blah. We probably should have ordered something else. Decor is like a Chili's or Chevy's. Meh. Ordered flan for dessert and the waiter was amazed when we didn't want dulce de leche to eat with it, so he brought some out for us. They eat dulce de leche on everything here! Also had sweetbreads, blood sausage, and chorizo here, which were good, but I had better elsewhere.
Viejo y Mar: Very good fish, nice atmosphere on the beach, full of locals, would recommend.
Mercato del Puerto: Don't know which resto we went to, but it was ok. They all seem to be the same. Go and get your bucket of meat! We went on NYE during the day - it gets pretty crowded and rowdy. Everyone throws water or alcohol on each other. Watch your pockets! Towards the middle of the afternoon it cleared out and everyone went home to their families. MV is a ghost town on NYE - make plans and don't be like us and go back to your hotel for a long nap after eating said bucket of meat and wait up to a ghost town! Make some plans!
Don Julio: A step above a regular parilla. Our waiter Fernando was so sweet. Started with a couple empanadas, which were ok, then had an arugula salad, which was great. We had a choice between two different types of olive oil and the server tossed the salad at our table. You could totally taste the olive oil - it made a difference. Good steak, overcooked, although we specified muy jugoso - seems like even if you say muy jugoso it still gets overcooked. Lighting was way too bright, which seems to be a thing in all Argentine restos. Place was filled with Americans, though. Again had flan for dessert (hubby likes it for some reason) and the waiter also was amazed when we didn't order dulce de leche! He brought us some too!
Casa Cruz: Great experience! Beautiful design, great sound and HVAC system, wonderful drinks and service. The food was good, but I wasn't amazed. Very nice sommelier who lived in SF - we got to talk about the greatness of El Farolito! He recommended a very interesting wine from Salta. We both had veal tartare, which we thought was a little blah. The hubby had baby goat, which was good, and I had sweetbreads which were fried, and it's kind of difficult to mess up fried food, so I can't really judge. Terrible bread! Didn't have dessert, but they brought us a little sampler plate of chocolates and curried sweet nuts, which we thought was ok. We loved the experience of eating here because it felt like a very updated take on a formal dining experience. It was elegant, but not stuffy, and modern without being overly cold and weird and trying too hard. Recommend for the experience.
Thymus: Waste of a night. So disappointed that we came here. Horrible, cold, echoey space. My sweetbread terrine was overcooked, my rabbit lasagne was dried out and looked as if it had sat underneath the heat lamp for too long. My hubby had beef tartare, which was ok, and quail which was not very flavorful. The skin was also not crispy enough. Sommelier (if he was one) didn't seem too knowledgeable. My chocolate cake was hard and dry. Two tables near us finished and left while we were in the middle of dinner - they did not clear these tables until we were done with dessert. Very bad. They did not bother to clear the crumbs off of our table, but they did this for someone else. Bathroom smelled like cheap air freshener - at a high end restaurant this should never be the case. Don't go!
La Cabrera: Surprised! Total recommend! Almost didn't go here because I thought it would have been ruined, but it was totally great. Bread still sucked, but they understood muy jugoso and we got muy jugoso! They only take reservations for 8:30, if you come after that you have to wait, which isn't bad because they give you champagne and sausage and you can chat with everyone else who is waiting. The sides were great, we were too full for dessert, but they gave us some lemonciello which was a great digestif. Don't miss and go early in your trip before you are sick of beef!