Buenos Aires aka BA:
This captivating, bustling city is full of energy! The cafes, architecture and sights reflect the European heritage of the country. The old boulevards, markets and festivals make it easy to forget you’re in South America and as the birthplace of tango, BA’s vibe is much like the dance itself- seductive and enchanting. Unbeknownst to me, the dining scene in BA is one of the best in the world. It’s home to restaurants known worldwide and the exchange rate makes it affordable to visit top restaurants without breaking the bank.
We stumbled upon La Pecora Nera on our way home from sightseeing and decided it was the perfect place to return for dinner. We couldn’t have picked a better restaurant for our first night in BA. My dad liked it so much he suggested we return for lunch the following day (like usual, he was outnumbered). This classic, elegant restaurant was divine at a price you can’t beat.
We walked in around 10pm with no reservations and were greeted immediately with complimentary bruschetta points. Apparently, we give off an”American” vibe because the server handed us a menu in English. We were immediately torn in a multitude of directions because everything looked phenomenal.
We started out with a bottle of wine for the table. As wino’s we were in heaven- the wine selection was superb, featuring local Argentinean wine for a price you can’t beat. The bottle of Gascon, featured below was a mere $16!
For the first time, my dad ordered his own dish and we’re glad he did! He chose the pork with a sweet and savory glaze- the presentation was as mouthwatering as the dish itself.
I chose the beef medallions with mashed sweet potatoes. The sweetness of the potatoes complimented the rich sauce and I couldn’t have been happier with my decision.
My mom chose the butternut squash ravioli (a personal favorite of mine). The comforting, rich dish was to die for.
We decided to round out a perfect meal with after dinner drinks- after all who can turn down a Grand Marnier for $4. The greatest part of the meal was the bill: $70 for three entrees, two bottles of wine and three digestives!
BA is also home to Alfajores. These caramel or Dulche de Leche filled cookies are sold in virtually all of the bakeries and are a must-have for anyone visiting the city. I’m not particularly fond of sweets, but I can’t say the same for my mom.You can’t leave BA without trying one of their classic empanadas. We stopped into a cafe near the Sunday market to try a few! Locals were also selling homemade empanadas on the street- it doesn’t get more authentic than that.
A trip to BA wouldn’t be complete without visiting the hundreds of leather shops in the city. We took a taxi to the “leather” district 20 minutes outside of the city center to do some serious shopping. Once we exceeded our budget on purses, boots and leather jackets we decided to grab a late lunch in the Soho district. Palermo Soho is littered with tiny cafes, restaurants and boutiques. The nightlife in Palermo is some of the best in the city. It’s no wonder this trendy, creative, chic, and eclectic area is named after Soho in New York City. We settled for Viniterra- a tiny italian restaurant with great outside seating.
The three of us split the shrimp pasta and grilled chicken with vegetables. The food was made with fresh local ingredients and the extensive wine menu make this restaurant a great lunch spot. I’d definitely recommend a cold glass of Sauvignon Blanc (or two) to complement the meal.
No trip would be complete without asking the locals for the “best restaurant” in town. We asked a number of people around the city and the consensus was undoubtedly El Establo. Rumored to have the best steaks in BA, we had to see what all the hype was about — luckily we weren’t let down. The tiny, hole-in-the-wall restaurant was bustling with locals at 9:30pm on a Tuesday night. This local treasure is a no frills kind of place where all types gather to catch-up over a perfectly cooked piece of meat. For less than $2 a beer, we opted for a very large Quilmes- the equivalent of a 40 in the U.S.
El Establo’s claim to fame is the coal fired oven where they slow cook each steak to absolute perfection. The steaks are served on their own, but sides are available a la carte. Luckily we weren’t ordering anything complicated because the menu at this classic, neighborhood favorite was entirely in Spanish. Our server didn’t speak English but if there’s one word we know it’s Cerveza Por Favor!