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Help to narrow down list of BA restaurants to visit?

Help to narrow down list of BA restaurants to visit?

Old May 1, 10, 10:44 am
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Help to narrow down list of BA restaurants to visit?

My fiancee and I are getting married in 1 week! Crazy how time flies. So in just a little over a week my wife and I will be in Argentina for ~ 3 weeks (20 days). 10 days in Patagonia and 10 days in BA. I have been making a list of restaurants that we would like to visit in BA so that we don't need to spend time doing research while in BA and can instead enjoy our time. Now we can plan our sightseeing around general areas of where we plan to eat lunch and dinner. We plan to eat most of our lunches and dinners out but a few times will probably stay in and cook in our apartment. So I'm looking at potentially 16 different chances to eat at a restaurant. So far I have 38 restaurants on our list!!! 24 of those are steak/parilla places. So I need help. I have just listed the parilla places as I thought that would be the easiest to narrow down.

I did most of my research off of various websites and blogs. Some of the information was unfortunately a few years old, so that is why I was hoping to get an updated idea of which ones might be better to skip and which ones were still worthwhile to visit. The ones in bold are the ones we for sure want to visit.


1) Siga La Vaca
Address: Avenida Alicia Moreau de Justo 1714, Puerto Madero

I know it is a ¨tenedor libre¨ but I have read good reviews on it and would like to have something to compare against Fogo de Chao (Brazillian all you can eat steakhouse) here in the States. Also it will make for a good lunch at AEP before our flight to Patagonia.


2) Spettus Steak House
Address: Alicia Moreau de Justo 876 Puerto Madero

Not sure if I need to visit another "tenedor libre" or not, but I was thinking it might be nice to visit one more to compare against Siga La Vaca. These "tenedor libre" restaurants sound like they have good meats/cuts offered, and I know they will provide much better meat and bang for the buck than Fogo de Chao. Maybe I should skip Spettus and just go with Siga La Vaca since I already have so many places on my list? Or is it worthwhile to visit?

3) La Brigada
Address: Estados Unidos 465 San Telmo

4) La Cabrera
JA Cabrera 5099 Palermo Viejo Palermo

5) Club Eros
Uriarte 1609 (@ Honduras), Palermo Soho

6) Don Julio
Address: Guatemala 4691 and Gurruchaga, Palermo Soho

7) Juana M
Address: Carlos Pellegrini 1535, Recoleta

8) El Obrero
Address: Augustín R. Caffarena 64 La Boca

9) El Trapiche
Address: Paraguay 5599 Palermo Hollywood

10) El Desnivel
Address: Defensa 855 San Telmo


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So those are the ones that I feel like we must visit to get a feel for great local BA steak. The following are ones that I have read about that sound interesting or that maybe 1-2 comments have been written about.

11) El Yugo
Address: Ayacucho 1629 Recoleta

12) Las Cholas
Address: Arce 306, Buenos Aires

13) El Farol
Address: Estado de Israel, Av. 4488 Almagro

14) El Estanciero
Address: Báez 202 and Argüibel Palermo

15) La Caballeriza
Gral.I. Chenaut, Av. 1878

16) El Encanto
Address: Bonpland 1690 Palermo Hollywood

17) Social La Lechuza
Address: Uriarte 1980 Palermo

18) La Cholita
Address: Rodriguez Pena 1165

19) Parilla 1880
Address: Defensa 1665 San Telmo

20) El Establo
Address: Paraguay 489

21) La Chacra
Address: Cordoba Av. 941

22) La Bistecca
Address: Av. Alicia Moreau de Justo 1890, Puerto Madero

23) Pichi Huasi
Address: Uriburu 1687 Recoleta

24) La Dorita
Address: Humboldt 1911 esq. Costa Rica Palermo

So are there any on the 1-10 list that I should take off? Any on the 11-24 that should go on it? There are probably 3-4 non "steak" restaurants that we will probably visit (Italian, Pizza, vegetarian...etc.) to mix things up a bit. We are both hearty eaters but enjoy great quality food. Not a big fan of overly artistic food where you get a small piece of entrée with a pretty design to it. Not sure I will have any problems with that at most parillas. I know the above list is long, so I am very sorry. But if you can offer any advice or comments on how to narrow the list that would be great. Or any updates on how good/bad some of these places have become recently. Thanks guys.
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Old May 1, 10, 11:41 am
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El Yugo was closed down a few months back. It had been on the death spiral for a while. They had a nice cold salad bar.

La Chacra is a tourist trap. I would avoid this one. Check out the place next door though. I think its La'liance or something similar.

I like El Establo.

You should have a lunch and check out El Cuartito for pizza. Its near Talchuano and Paraguay. Its my favorite pizza in BA.
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Old May 1, 10, 11:59 am
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I think you need more variety in your line-up..... as much as I am a carnivore..... food is more than just dead cow. Here are some options for you to consider....

Pura Tierra
Sottovoce Libertador
Happening Costanera
M Buenos Aires
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Old May 1, 10, 1:41 pm
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Originally Posted by Krazyglue View Post
El Yugo was closed down a few months back. It had been on the death spiral for a while. They had a nice cold salad bar.

La Chacra is a tourist trap. I would avoid this one. Check out the place next door though. I think its La'liance or something similar.

I like El Establo.

You should have a lunch and check out El Cuartito for pizza. Its near Talchuano and Paraguay. Its my favorite pizza in BA.

Krazyglue, thank you for the information. That was very helpful. Now I can take El Yugo and La Chacra off the list. No need to worry about them any more.

It is funny that you mention El Cuartito for pizza because that is actually on our list of places to get pizza while in BA! Would you recommend El Cuartito over places like Guerrin, Los Inmortales and Piola for pizza?




Originally Posted by Gaucho100K View Post
I think you need more variety in your line-up..... as much as I am a carnivore..... food is more than just dead cow. Here are some options for you to consider....

Pura Tierra
Sottovoce Libertador
Happening Costanera
M Buenos Aires
Guacho, appreciate your post. Don't worry, we have other genres of food besides steak for our time in BA. As I mentioned in my original post, I have a whole list of other places we might want to visit but only listed the parilla/steak places in my post since that was the one that I figured we would need the most help in narrowing down. I have a whole list of Vegetarian, Italian, Korean, Asian, pizza, and international food restaurants. I just didn't want to burden all of you guys with my whole list. Just thought a little help with the steak places would be beneficial.

Pura Tierra looks a bit expensive and too much like a boutique restaurant? Maybe not? What are the average prices for entrees? I have read a little about the Chef, Martin Molteni, and it sounds like a place we might want to visit if we can afford it but I am worried it might be out of our price range?

Is Sottovoce one of your favorite Italian restaurants? Any reason you mentioned the Libertador location over the Puerto Madero location? I have several other Italian places to consider so I might have to add this one as well. Some of the online reviews have been less than stellar. Some even refer to it as a tourist trap. On guiaoleo it doesn't get the greatest of reviews for the price range it is in. You would still recommend it for Italian?

Isn't Happening Costanera a parilla? That is how I found it listed on the internet on an AR restaurant review website. So not sure how it is any different from the other places on our tentative list except for more expensive?

M Buenos Aires just seems a bit too expensive for us as well.

We are hoping to spend 100-125 pesos max for 2 for our "nice" dinning experiences. No wine. Maybe 1 appetizer and 1 dessert. Other wise in general we hope to spend well under 100 pesos for the two of us. Probably look at 30-40 pesos each for our entree at a typical meal.

Last edited by tranzformer; May 1, 10 at 1:49 pm
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Old May 1, 10, 3:50 pm
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Tranzformer, I think you need to increase your budget for dining out. Inflation in Argentina is probably running at 20%+, and restaurant prices are reflecting that, very especially ones frequented by tourists. Eating out in BsAs is not the bargain it was several years ago (compared to the US), although still affordable if you know where to eat.

I would regard Pura Tierra as one of the best value restaurants in the city. It's out of the tourist zone, and the food, service, and ambience are excellent. So you don't pay any inflated "tourist surcharge" (e.g. at Cabana Las Lilias). It's also quiet and probably a place your wife will appreciate given that it's your honeymoon (it's in no way "boutiquey" or pretentious).

Some of the parrillas are in my local neighborhood (Las Canitas). For example, Las Cholas is popular with students because the food is good for the price (it's not inexpensive however), but the tables are very close together (with paper tablecloths), and is it usually very crowded and very noisy. Remember too, that in parillas, the price you see for a cut of meat does not include any side dishes.

To save money you can usually get some good lunch specials at neighborhood restaurants (but cash only - "solo efectivo") as a way to keep the budget under control. Although restaurants frequented by tourists will almost always accept credit cards, that is not the case for all restaurants. So be prepared with cash (check out the threads on this forum about avoiding the surcharges on ATM machines ...).

I'd also recommend that you eat early in the evening (restaurants don't generally open for dinner until 8-8:30), when restaurants are less crowded and noisy, and the waitstaff less busy.

Where abouts are you staying? Because of the late restaurant openings, you'll probably want to return to your apartment before dinner, so cab fares will also be an expense. Thus eating at places closer to where you are staying will also be less expensive.

I'd recommend that you start with Pura Tierra and use that as a yardstick for price/quality.

John

Last edited by SoFlyOn; May 1, 10 at 4:36 pm
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Old May 1, 10, 4:20 pm
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Thank you SoFlyOn. I am curious what the cost of the meal is at Pura Tierra from your experience? My wife and I will not be looking for gourmet restaurants; just a nice place to eat with good food for a fair price. Same as we do at home. We do have a budget that we would like to stay on, and don't want to spend 150-300 pesos per dinner. From what I have read, we should be able to eat very very well for around 100 pesos a meal. Not sure there is a need for the two of us to spend much more than that.

Most restaurants that I have found an online menu with prices for or reviewers who mention prices on their blogs show most very good steaks for 16 pesos at Club Eros, 50-55 pesos for lomo and ojo de bife at La Bridaga, and 39-41 pesos for bife de chorizo and medallones de lomo at Don Julio. Was told that we should be more than able to find great meats for 20-80 pesos ($5-20) and sometimes be large enough where we must share. So far we have found a few places that meet this. This is from recently updated blogs in the past month.

We will be staying very close to Plaza de Mayo so should have easy access to most of the city.
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Old May 1, 10, 4:22 pm
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Anyone have experience with Parrilla Peña on Rodríguez Peña 682 just off Av. Cordoba? I have read some good things about this place.
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Old May 3, 10, 1:48 pm
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Originally Posted by tranzformer View Post
From what I have read, we should be able to eat very very well for around 100 pesos a meal.
Per person or 100 pesos for two....? If you are thinking of a high quality meal for two for 100 pesos, Im afraid that is not realistic... that would have been possible some 12-15 months ago, but not at todays pricing.
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Old May 3, 10, 2:44 pm
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Originally Posted by Gaucho100K View Post
Per person or 100 pesos for two....? If you are thinking of a high quality meal for two for 100 pesos, Im afraid that is not realistic... that would have been possible some 12-15 months ago, but not at todays pricing.
That's what I was trying to point out in my post above. Any restaurant in Puerto Madero will be much more expensive that that, as will popular restaurants such as La Brigada.

Most of the restaurants listed are frequented by tourists (as you would expect if they are mentioned in peoples travelogues).

Also missing is the fact that some restaurants have a cover charge (cubierto), and of course a tip of about 10% will be expected. As I also pointed out, you can't just eat a piece of meat .... side dishes of a starch and vegetable will also be necessary, as well as water ...
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Old May 3, 10, 9:44 pm
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I will agree that your going to need more that 100p per person to eat in most places on your list. Especially if you want a bottle of good malbec with dinner.

I have been to parilla pena once or twice. It does not stand out to me. That is in the touristy area of microcentro not far from the Sheraton.

El Cuartito is the best pizza in BA in my opinion. Francis Ford Coppola thinks so also. Its a classic old school pizza place that reminds me of younger days

What ever you do DO NOT bring your wife into Cafe Orleans. Its on San Martin and cordoba. Its a nice looking coffee place on the main street, but its full of hookers. If your into people watching its great stuff.
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Old May 3, 10, 10:53 pm
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From your list, I have the following comments:


2) Spettus Steak House
Address: Alicia Moreau de Justo 876 Puerto Madero

Had lunch there once. It was pretty good. No rush to return, but if someone really wanted to go, I'd join along.

3) La Brigada
Address: Estados Unidos 465 San Telmo

I have had several really great meals here. It has always been at least very good. There have been some varied reports about service and attitude. If you don't treat this like a special destination place (i.e., just drop in and see if they can squeeze you in within a reasonable time period, with a backup plan) and also have an idea of wines, you can still eat there for a moderate price, and have a really good wine without getting soaked. It is in my neighborhood (when I'm down there)

10) El Desnivel
Address: Defensa 855 San Telmo

I go there frequently. Inexpensive, pretty tasty, a place where I can eat alone if I'm alone, a vegetarian friend loves their provoleta and fries. Not worth a special trip to San Telmo.

20) El Establo
Address: Paraguay 489

Ate there once. Tasty but my one meal there wasn't more than "very good."

21) La Chacra
Address: Cordoba Av. 941

I've had a couple of good meals there. I know it is a tourist trap, but it is better than some of the other food I've eaten in BsAs at higher prices. It also was a life saver several years ago on a Christmas Eve. Fixed price all you can eat (but cooked to order) and they were OPEN!

22) La Bistecca
Address: Av. Alicia Moreau de Justo 1890, Puerto Madero

My vegetarian friend loves it so I've been a few times. It is perfectly not bad. It is also a fairly short walk from my place. Reasonable for what it is.
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Old May 4, 10, 8:16 am
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Post current pricing for Pura Tierra

To address a question posted earlier in this thread, here is the updated pricing for Pura Tierra.

8 course Chef's tasting menu AR$180 (pesos per person)
surcharge for wine pairing program AR$45 (pesos per person)

Please note that the 8 course menu actually comes out to more because the 8 formal steps do not include the amuse-bouche(s) and other in-between specials that the kitchen will send out during the service.

There is also a smaller tasting program which is hosted together with a Winery (Catena Zapata) and in this case a 5 course menu including 1/2 bottle of DV Catena Cabernet Malbec will cost AR$150 per peson.

I dont know what the other board regulars and resident experts have to say... but in my book, the above numbers are excellent value for money considering current restaurant prices in Buenos Aires.

Hope this helps.....
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Old May 4, 10, 10:52 am
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Originally Posted by Gaucho100K View Post
...

I dont know what the other board regulars and resident experts have to say... but in my book, the above numbers are excellent value for money considering current restaurant prices in Buenos Aires. ...
There's also the regular menu that you can download. Although the prices aren't listed, they are very reasonable (I don't remember them offhand, but will be comparable to many of the other restaurants the OP listed).

http://www.puratierra.com.ar

John
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Old May 4, 10, 6:00 pm
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Originally Posted by Gaucho100K View Post
To address a question posted earlier in this thread, here is the updated pricing for Pura Tierra.

8 course Chef's tasting menu AR$180 (pesos per person)
surcharge for wine pairing program AR$45 (pesos per person)
10% discount if paying by cash when I was there in March

I dont know what the other board regulars and resident experts have to say... but in my book, the above numbers are excellent value for money considering current restaurant prices in Buenos Aires.

Hope this helps.....
I thought it was great value esp. the wine pairing program as they are very generous with their pourings
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Old May 4, 10, 7:21 pm
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Originally Posted by SoFlyOn View Post
Tranzformer, I think you need to increase your budget for dining out. Inflation in Argentina is probably running at 20%+, and restaurant prices are reflecting that, very especially ones frequented by tourists. Eating out in BsAs is not the bargain it was several years ago (compared to the US), although still affordable if you know where to eat.
Even here out in the sticks where a tourist is classed as being a person lost dining out is getting pricey.
Prices continue to rise and the "fancy" restaurants are empty......people don't seem to be dining out as often as they used to.
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