I love food. I love drinks. And I am always down for an experience that combines the two when I am traveling. Argentina is surely known for its meat and its wine. While you probably can’t go wrong regardless of where you decide to eat, I have decided to list four of my favorites in Buenos Aires that turned casual eating and drinking into an experience.
Siga la Vaca
The restaurant actually translates to “follow the cow.” Which is exactly what my friends did as I led them to this restaurant. I kid. This establishment is marketed as “all you can eat,” which I take as a personal challenge. With a price tag that converts to roughly $21 (as of January 2016), you can gorge yourself with salad, side dishes, all of the meats you can imagine, wine, bottled water, and your choice of dessert to top it all off. Because there is always room for dessert. There are three locations in Buenos Aires (and one in Miami actually!) With a stack of 8 plates on completion of the meal, I can recommend trying to get seated as far from the food as possible. You will be appreciative of the exercise gained during each trip to fill your plate. I also recommend arriving early, which isn’t terribly hard by Argentinian standards of meal time, but a place which offers such value fills up quickly. Reminiscing about this meal actually makes me want to curl into the fetal position once again.
The Argentine Experience
The name says it all! This was not just dinner, but an experience. Upon arrival, we were equipped with chef hats and aprons and seated at a family style table. The hosts for the evening were fantastic and energetic. They explained how the meal would be broken into five sections. There were three different (free-flowing) wines to pair along the way.
We started with fish tartar paired with a white wine. We moved on to some chorizo appetizers topped with gooey cheese straight from the oven. Of course empanadas had to be included in the meal. This is Argentina after all. But it would have been too easy to just have empanadas placed in front of us, so we had to learn to stuff and fold our own! We learned two different folding techniques, made one empanada of each style, affixed our names, and sent them off to bake. Our hosts then taught us how to order steaks in Spanish, which we then implemented in ordering the temperature of our steaks. All of the food (and wine) was delicious. I am a wiz with empanadas and, no offense to the other steaks who have been in and out of my life, but this was the best I have ever had. We finished the night learning about the traditional mate tea (gag) and famous alfajores (amazing).
If you would like to attend the Argentine Experience, you must book in advance as the dinner sells out each evening. You will also see the option to join the wine cocktail experience prior to the dinner. While this is an enticing option, I do recommend saving your money. I am basing this solely on the one woman at our table who was completely smashed before the dinner even began! Keep in mind, there is bottomless wine throughout the 3-3.5 hour dinner and you may be interested in actually remembering your Argentine Experience!
Who doesn’t love a good wine tasting? Anuva Wines, located in the Palermo district of Buenos Aires, offers tastings of hand-sourced wines from around Argentina. This is the perfect stop if you don’t have a chance to visit the wine-producing regions, but want to sample some incredible wines from the country without leaving Buenos Aires. They also offer a tapas pairing for each wine sampled.
We tasted five different wines with delicious accompaniments including crustini, succotash, a cheese board, and a chocolate truffle. After we cycled through each wine, the host whispered the magic words, “were there any you would like to try again?” Um, yes, all of the above, por favor. If you are looking for an indicator of the quality of wine, I can tell you my sister liked it so much that she purchased twelve bottles to have shipped home. She liked it, I liked it, we recommend it!
This joint is cool by itself, but it made me feel cool for going there. Ok, let me explain. It is one of those places you have to know about or else you would have no clue what you are doing. Luckily our host from our wine tasting at Anuva pointed us in the right direction. So you enter a flower shop. Now, get this, you have to open the refrigerator. Um, ok, I tend to open my friend’s refrigerators when I visit, you know, to see if they have anything good, but this is inside an unfamiliar flower shop! Once you open the fridge, you find a set of stairs (?) that leads you into a basement, which houses a speakeasy type bar and restaurant.
I was so giddy to be part of a secret like this! Although they serve food, my sister and I only partook in some of their craft cocktails. If you are ever look for a challenge, try explaining your taste in drinks to a bartender in Spanish. We somehow managed. The cocktails were excellent, but the atmosphere made the entire experience.
So there you have it! Photographic evidence of how much I enjoy eating! While I enjoyed SOOOOO many restaurants in Buenos Aires, these were four that have remained on my mind and still make my belly rumble.