Asuncion - Please Let the Foodie Gods Speak!
I live in Asuncion, Paraguay - it's been about 4 months now, and while I have learned a lot about what's good and what's mediocre, in a land of deep fried anything, mandioca (yucca), and beef beef beef I am looking for some delicious goodness in my diet! Anyone with any helpful hints or restaurant or gourmet tips, are welcome to reply :-)
I guess no one really knows about food in Asuncion - I can give some recommendations, but that won't help answer my own question :-(
Il Mangiare - has the best pizza in Asuncion, hands down, I wasn't a huge fan of their pastas, but the Napolitana Pizza was really delicious
Shangri-La has the best Chinese food, though I just learned about China-Town which also has some delicious and healthy options
Don Vito's has the best empanadas in the city - try the 4 Queso and the Palmito (their meat empanadas don't add up to other local venues)
Bellini in Carmelitas has the best Italian food - well, Pasta. You can choose from 5 or so different types of pasta, (including ravioli, gnocchi, spaghetti, etc) and then you get to choose 8 ingredients and the type of sauce. It's really all delicious, as long as you know what ingredients you like!
Well it all comes down to what you want to eat, but I will give you a hand:
1) Pizzas: Zampano (Rodriguez de Francia & Brasil), El Alamo (Boggiani & Denis Roa), Astoria (Aviadores del Chaco & Senador Long)
2) Pasta (good One): Piegari, Rolandi , Il Capo, La Pergola
3) Meat : Un toro Siete Vacas, Estilo Campo, La Paraguayita, La Churrasqueria
4) Mediterranean Food: Tierra colorada, Mburicao.
5) Salads: Morado, Bellini
6) Chinese&Japanesse: Shangrilla, Felicidad, Chez Bong, Hiroshima
7) Other Places to try: taberna Española el Antojo (Best Paella Ever), Valencia (More Meat), Bolsi, Bar San Roque
Don Vito sells "pastelitos" which are very popular but are not the same as "empanadas'.
The best empanadas I remember are at the Bolsi downtown or la Pergola on Avenida Peru near Jose Berges. Don Vito "milanessas " are also good , but a better version can be found at Bar San Miguel on Avenida Espania.
Paraguayans are nor big on vegetables but places like Paulista Grill on San Martin offer a variety of salads to accompany their rodizio style meats. The best option for cooked vegetables is Chinese food. "El Paraiso" (cash only) is well known for their San Bei chicken, which suggest their owners are of Taiwanese ancestry . It has a number of green vegetables on their menu
La Paraguayita and Valencia are parrilladas which are well past their prime. Un Toro y Siete Vacas is probably the closest you will find to an argentinian style/quality grill in Asuncion
I have not been to The Preferida in years, but it was always a reliable place for a competently prepared meal. Bar San Roque is also a good standby for local stile items although their dishes are probably best enjoyed during the cooler season.
There is also a decent Japanese restaurant behind the old IPS building on calle Brasil. It is the restaurant for a "pension" that has been operating there for decades and is popular with the local japanese business comunity.
And of course there is always "chipa". I have tried many but always go back to "Las Hijas de Feliciana...".You can buy their packaged chipitas in most supermarkets . They have an outlet in the Mariscal Lopez mall where you can buy them fresh every day.
And you can get very good icecream at most places.
I lived in Asunción as an exchange student 30 years ago, before I was vegan and gluten-free. My husband (also vegan but not GF) and I hope to go back in 2011 so I've been doing a little research on what we will be able to find to eat. I heard about Bolsi from a classmate from Paraguay who is now vegetarian, living in Italy, and recently went back to visit. http://www.dementesx.com/el-bolsi-en-...
I also found out there's a new pizzeria that offers GF pizza but is apparently well regarded by people who are not avoiding gluten, doesn't look vegan to me, though. http://paratipos.com/2010/04/il-bambu...
Do you mind my asking why you're in Py?
If you come across any places with good gluten-free vegan options, let me know. I've adapted sopa paraguaya and just recently torta de pasas (I also substituted currants for the raisins since I don't like raisins) recipes to be GF, vegan. I have to admit I neither had nor heard of torta de pasas while in Py. My husband recently found a multilingual video of preparation of a vegan version of a Paraguayan dish.
Definitely the most extensive and delicious menu in Asuncion belongs to the Bolsi. And it's not expensive either compared to other restaurants of the same caliber. They also have a light menu for those watching their waistlines with nutritional info included. The Bolsi also offers many choices for vegetarians, many salads and dishes without meat.