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Mar 25, 2010 01:38 PM

Bs.As. Like locals

My wife and I are headed to Buenos Aires and Mendoza for a couple weeks. I've seen lots of postings about the best restaurants, but they seem to be skewed towards the white table cloth set.

We love the "best" restaurants, but there are plenty of postings for those. We'd like to know where locals eat. What are the best little out-of-the way places? Where are the dives with the best food? Great places to grab a rink? Best markets to stock our apartment?


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    1. re: nasv

      Definitely on the agenda! Are there specifics? I'm looking for the off-the-beaten track gems.

      1. re: JDN74

        We were just in Buenos Aires! We got back a week ago after spending 10 nights there.

        We went to 3 puertas cerradas (Casa Saltshaker, Almacen Secreto and Casa Felix) and I'd recommend them all.

        For best food, it would be a tossup between Almacen Secreto and Casa Felix.

        Almacen Secreto seemed to be all locals, except for us. They have 3 regional menus, and you can mix and match. We both chose our appetizers from the northern menu - one was a humita, the other was tamales, both really tasty. My husband had Patagonian lamb (melt in your mouth tender, with fabulous potatoes) and I had locro for our mains, both wonderful. I think my dessert was better - it was this amazing chocolate ice cream with quince. At the end, we were served a little liqueur and an interesting tea made with big leaves (not sure what it was!).

        Casa Felix was a fixed menu. Diego explained every dish as it was brought out. It was all very good, with an emphasis on local products. After a drink in their garden, we started with a purple corn empanada stuffed with apple, goat cheese and something called burrito (an herb). Then we had a fabulous spicy salad, with something like yucca (the name escapes me right now), peanuts, etc. After that we had a lemon verbena granita. The main was a firm fleshed white fish from Patagonia with a wonderful tomato sauce and zucchini. Dessert is a quinoa cookie with plum served with coconut ice cream. You can choose a wine pairing or order a bottle or glass of wine. At the end of the meal, he served something that he called burnt mate - quite tasty.

        Casa Saltshaker was a very nice, friendly experience, like having dinner at a friend's home, and we enjoyed it. The wines were great, the dessert was excellent and I also really enjoyed the fish course. The menu changes every week, depending on the theme that Dan has chosen. The other diners were all tourists from US, Australia, Colombia and Austria (and Canada - that would be us). There are 2 tables (one of 8, one of 4) and you're encouraged to sit with people other than the ones you came with.

        We only got to San Telmo once (for the market on Sunday). but we really enjoyed our lunch at Territorio. They had several 'tablas' - like a charcuterie platter, with a great selection of sausage, ham, etc. Really good and the tabla para dos was definitely more than enough for the 2 of us. It was served with really good bread and a kind of hummus made with lentils.

        We also had a very good lunch at Juana M, not too far from Recoleta. I haven't seen a salad bar in a long time, but they had a really good one. We shared ribs and a provolette there. They served a basket of really good bread and crackers, nice withthe provolette. I liked the decor in that restaurant and it was packed with locals.

        Both Territorio and Juana M were not planned - we were hungry and happened to come across them.

        For an inexpensive lunch in Palermo Soho (where we were staying), we went to Club Eros - it's a restaurant attached to a soccer club. Basic food, but my husband said that the steak was pretty good. Again, packed with locals.

        A couple of nights, we went to jazz bars in Palermo. Thelonius had really good inidividual pizzas - the capresse was really good. Actually the other bar (Virasoro) also had pizza, quite good as well.

        Another restaurant we liked in Palermo Soho is Mundano. My husband had an excellent stuffed pasta, I had lamb. Appetizer was salmon rolls (like sushi) and dessert was a totally decadent chocolate thing - all really good. Service was excellent there.

        Can you tell I really enjoyed my time in BA?

        1. re: SusanB

          Thanks! This is great. We'll check these out!!!