My trip to Buenos Aires - reviews of La Cabrera, Cafe San Juan and Tegui
I thought I'd share my experiences from dining in Buenos Aires when I was there in February. Had just a couple of days so I've only reviewed the major meals.
Friends of a friend booked this place for dinner. They'd been living in BA for a while now and wanted to try this place, located in Palermo. Reservations were for 11pm on a Saturday night and when we got there, it was still packed and there were others waiting for tables as well. The atmosphere is very trendy, low lighting, lots of glass everywhere. Very modern and polished looking. I should have picked up on it right away, that the food would also be along those lines. The one redeeming quality of the night was the fun company. I can't remember specific dishes but I do remember my impression from the meal. This was hoity toity food, they were trying very hard to be modern in their cuisine and techniques and it just didn't work for me. The DP's agreed, no one was super impressed with the food and the bill was not cheap either. Disappointing for sure. I apologize that I can't specifically refer to any particular dish but that's what happens when I procrastinate.
Café San Juan
Finding a brunch spot on Sunday is a little more difficult than we thought but a friend of ours recommended Cafe San Juan to meet up. Located in San Telmo, it was perfect as it gives you an opportunity to check out the antiques fair and then sit down and have a nice meal just a quick walk away. Reservations are recommended as the place was packed the entire time we were there, they did manage to accommodate some walk-ins but it's luck of the draw. Note that the door is locked and the staff will open it when you knock. The menu is written up on a chalkboard and looks like it changes all the time. As there were 5 of us, we managed to try a few things. We decided to share a bunch of appetizers to get us going. Now that I'm sitting here a month later, what we had is lost in a fog. I do remember that they were really good. The one that does surface in my brain is chorizo in a tomato sauce, I do remember using the bread to soak up all that delicious juice and oil afterwards. I admit it, I'm a sucker for sausages. I do remember my main course was a grilled octopus. The DP's ordered ojo de bife. All the platters came out and yes, they were platters. You will not leave hungry! I think I managed a third of my plate before throwing in the towel. The octopus was wonderful. Nice and charred and smoky from grilling but super tender and juicy. There were bits that were a bit burnt but overall, if I had more stomach space, I would've kept devouring the rest of my plate. The steaks were completely polished off and everyone thought it was perfectly cooked and exceedingly tasty. Suffice it to say that there was no desserts, just some coffees. Overall, I'd definitely recommend this place. I can't remember the price but it was definitely reasonable.
I admit, it seems like the tourist spot. But the hotel concierge still recommended it. It was a Sunday night, they don’t take reservations for after 8:30pm. We arrived closer to 9pm and only waited about 10 minutes. We were seated in the off-shoot location which was fine by us. The service was excellent, extremely professional and prompt. Our waiter was extremely gracious and spoke English as well so we didn’t have to try and massacre Spanish. Being as it was my last supper in Argentina, the DP and I went whole hog on ordering. We started with the ½ order of chorizo, followed by an arugula and parmesan salad, small ribeye steak and a 1/2 order of lambs intestines washed down with a bottle of Nieto Senetiner 2009 Malbec. We were gluttons, the main course orders came with a mixed salad and 4 small plates of sides. The chorizo was a large link of porky goodness. Grilled but still moist and with a nice snappy skin. The arugula and parmesan salad was nice (and our concession to good health) but nothing spectacular. The ribeye steak was ordered jugoso and it came out wonderfully jugoso, juicy and rare to medium rare, it was a magnificent steak. I will admit to being very partial to Argentinian beef, it tastes to me “beefier” than US meat but I can understand people who don’t like the flavor. The lamb intestines were creamy and juicy and very well done. It’s a delicious offal item and I am saddened to not see it on more menus. Having completely polished off the steak and the intestines, we were done. Dessert was skipped, but we were offered the lollipop tree which was a nice touch. With a large bottle of water, the bill came to less than $70USD for 2 people. Would definitely recommend it.
Overall, I had a fantastic time as usual, being my second trip to BA. Now if only I can convince my company to open an office and move me there.