Category Archives: Dining in Buenos Aires

Best Steaks in Buenos Aires

Every traveler to Buenos Aires wants to know one thing- where is the best place to have a steak? Here’s a short list of my favorites to point you in the right direction…

Steaks by Luis:

steaksbyluis

Here at The Reserve we rent out our space to a very talented Asador (or grillman) named Luis. Born in raised in Argentina, Luis grew up making barbecues and says he was in charge of his first parilla (grill) at the young age of 11. At this closed-door style dinner you will try probably the best cut of Bife de Chorizo (New York Strip Steak) of your life.  And that’s only after trying many other exciting Argentine specialties such as provoleta (grilled cheese), chorizo (sausage) morcilla (blood sausage), and molleja (sweetbreads).  Luis starts of the night with a traditional antipasta called a picada, with meats and cheese and a glass of bubbly.  And then moves on to serve a typical argentine ensalada mixta (mixed salad), the grilled starters, that incredible steak and finally a melt in your mouth surprise dessert.  My favorite part is that all the courses are served with a glass of Anuva’s very own boutique wines! Steaks by Luis is definitely a must for those who love meat and are curious to know all the ins and outs of a traditional argentine barbecue.

Don Julio:

donjulio

My family just came to visit and in two weeks we went to this steakhouse 3 times.  Yes, that’s how good it is.  From the warm bread rolls at the beginning to the incredible tiramisu at the end, every part of the dining experience was superb.  Their fresca salad with blue cheese and pear was a hit with my family, and we all decided the best cuts were the Bife de Lomo and the Ojo de Bife.  Mmmm so delicious! Plus for those who enjoy a steak much more with a glass of malbec, they have a great wine list as well.

Miranda:

miranda

In the heart of Palermo Hollywood, this steakhouse has a great atmosphere and great food. The portions are large so don’t be afraid to share! I recommend getting a side of mashed potatoes with the bife de lomo, it makes for a stellar accompaniment.  While you are in the neighborhood take the time to walk around and check out the nightlife afterward.  There are some excellent bars to be stumbled upon.

If you have any other recommendations for the best steaks in Buenos Aires please feel free to comment! I tend to stick around Palermo Hollywood/Soho, which is why my recommendations are limited to this area.  But I’m always up to try something new.

Now go out and get yourselves one of those delicious grass-fed steaks!

 

Cajun Cuisine Has Finally Arrived to Buenos Aires

For all you chicken lovers out there, life in Buenos Aires just got a whole lot better. If you haven’t heard yet, Nola Chef and Broeders Beer have teamed up to create NOLA Gastropub, a safe-haven of fried chicken and craft beer. The idea is simple: 4 delicious dishes, great beer at a great price, a cozy environment with good tunes and some house-made sauces that are spicy enough to knock your socks right off. But don’t be afraid to try the green one, small bowls of rice are provided upon request for those who can ‘t seem to shake the heat.

NOLA1So what exactly does NOLA Gastropub offer?

First, those 4 delicious dishes:

1. Fried Chicken Plate (make it a combo and add a pint of beer for just 90 pesos). 2 big pieces of fried chicken with side of some potato salad. What more can you ask for? I’ll take that 90 peso combo and pair it with a Golden Ale any day!

NOLAfriedchicken

2. Fried Chicken Sandwich. I’m sure we all remember the day the Burger Joint opened up in Palermo. It was a benchmark in the quality of life for us expats. We never again had to worry about how long until we ate another big juicy hamburger. Most of us probably even signed up for their burger card and then qualified for the free one in an embarrassingly quick amount of time. Well, this fried chicken sandwich had an even profounder effect on me. After a few years in BA I’d just come to terms with the fact that some of those simple yet beautiful things in life would just be cherished memories of the past. A fried chicken sandwich was one of them. Now not only it an accessible reality, but it’s a darn tasty reality.

3. Gumbo. This one I haven’t had the opportunity to try yet (maybe tonight!) but I’ve heard it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. You know you are eating some real New Orleans gumbo made by a real New Orleans gal when you thank the lord it came with a pile of rice on the side.

4. Red Beans and Rice. NOLA was smart when they realized that in order to captivate the entire expat scene in BA they would need to appeal to those few vegetarians out there. I, clearly, am not one of them so I have yet to try this dish as well. But I’ll definitely be taking a veggie friend there soon and will steal a spoonful of this Cajun specialty to see what it’s all about.

Now, what’s the scoop on that great beer at a great price?

broedersbeer

Well, first of all it’s craft beer. No, I’m not a hipster, but I can fully appreciate a pint of any beer that is crafted by the very man standing behind the counter taking orders. Honestly, anything besides quilmes would make me happy. But these beers are awesome. My two favorites are the Golden Ale and the Indian Pale Ale but their Irish Red Ale deserves a shout out as well. Now what makes drinking great beer even greater?? The prices! During happy hour from 4-8pm one can find themselves sippin’ on these crafty drinks for only 25 pesos! That is a tough bargain to come by in Palermo these days. And, if you do find yourself walking in the door at 8:05 feeling pretty bummed that you just missed happy hour, don’t fret, non-happy hour prices are still a bargain! A whole pint for only 35 pesos! Man, this crew sure knows how to win over the crowd. Plus if you aren’t much of a beer fan, they’re selling wine, campari with orange juice, cynar with grapefruit juice (freshly squeezed!) or home-made ginger sodas and sweet teas for those who have come purely for the fried chicken.

Hmm..so far so good..and the environment is cozy?

Yes. Perhaps it’s because this place just opened and people can’t get enough of their fried chicken fix, or maybe the owners Liza and Ticol have a ton of friends. Whatever it may be, this place seems to be at full-capacity most nights of the week. Don’t let that scare you away though, there’s plenty of seating and everyone is too engrossed in their own delicious meal to notice how close the person next to them is.

NOLAopening

Plus the design of the place is beautiful. The big chalkboard with the menu is laid out above the bar, which sports an awesome draft dispenser. The walls are covered with drawings from the tattoo artist down the street, my favorite of which is a giant chicken that seems to look down approvingly on all the happy eaters below. The tables are made from old planks of wood and the whole space gives off a reduce, reuse, recycle vibe, which we all agree is way cooler than designing without this sort of awareness. I recently went to New Orleans for the first time and can now testify that while I was eating my fried chicken last night, listening to some New Orleans’s own dixieland jazz, I felt for a moment that I was transported back to that enchanting land of cajun food, street-performers and beignets.

NOLAchicken

Say hello to G, the chicken.

And finally, what about that spicy sauce?

The NOLA sauce station houses two sauces. A yellow one (honey mustard) that can be enjoyed by all, and a green one (unknown) for those who can take the heat. Don’t be a pansy, give it a try!

En fin, and in the words of the NOLA Gastropub’s blackboard… “Todos somos gordos!” So you heard ’em! Embrace it and indulge in some fried comfort food and endless supplies of brew. You’ll never regret those few extra calories. Check them out any day except for Tuesday.  Gorriti 4389 on the corner of Julian Alvarez.

Best Cafés in the City that Never Sleeps

One of the things that I love most about Buenos Aires is the café culture.  Before moving to Argentina I rarely drank coffee, now I need it just in order to function.  People here are always hopped up on some sort of caffeine- coffee, mate, coca-cola- just in order to keep up with the fast-paced lifestyle of a big city.  Needless to say, coffee shops do very well in this here.  If you are in need of any energy boost there is most likely a café on any block.  Or at least a kiosko with a coffee dispenser if you are really that desperate.  No matter the time of day (be it 3 am!) you can find people sitting outside enjoying a good ol’ cup of jo.  One of my favorite things to do is to sit in a café reading, people-watching, or chatting with friends.  There are the well-known “café-notables” such as Café Tortoni, La Confiteria Ideal, or Las Violetas, that are absolutely stunning and historical.  However in these places you can only find typical argentine café food- medialunas and such.  You should definitely check them out, but I prefer the artsier cafes of Palermo and Villa Crespo.  I have searched for some of the best cafés in Buenos Aires and have found a fair share of excellent ones.  Here’s a list of my favorites:

Malvon Confiteria

malvon

Villa Crespo, Serrano 789.  This café has lovely tall ceilings and baked tasty treats. It also a georgeous outdoor patio with lots of sunshine.  And delicious big cups of coffee!

Oui Oui

ouioui

Palermo Hollywood, Nicaragua 6099. My favorite place (I think in the world!) for brunch. I have been probably 15 times and have ordered their eggs benedict everytime.  My stomach never fails to leave happy and pleased.

PEHACHE

pehache

Palermo Soho, Gurruchaga 1418.  The food is nice,  but for me the main reason to go to this place is for their garden.  It has high walls covered with ivy and a pond.  I feel like I’m in the secret garden! Plus they have a Anthropology-esq store in front with really great ideas for furnishing your apartment.

Vita

viat

Microcentro, Hipolito Yrigoyen 583. This is a great option for those who live around the center (me!) and are deprived of some healthy food options.  This café is 100% vegan and has some very great muffins and vegetable juices.

Boulangerie Cocu

cocu

Palermo Soho, Malabia 1510. A cute french bakery with buttery chocolate croissants.  I always wondered why argentines never thought of sticking some chocolate in their medialunas.  I guess they are too loyal to their dulce de leche. If you prefer chocolate (like I do) you’ve got to try these.  I’ve been known to show up at work with these bad boys on more than one occasion…

Well those are my top 5 for now, but no matter how well I feel like I know these streets, there are always new surprises. I’ll keep adding to my list as I find more place to sit and feel like Jorge Luis Borges!

Vegetarians in Buenos Aires

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Buenos Aires, the city of love, of lovely springs, of Jacaranda trees, of fine wines, and ofcourse, excellent meat… Out of all the places in the world a vegetarian ends up in this carnivorous city.

If you are a vegetarian and have lived, visited or plan to go to Buenos Aires, you might know that it is not quite the vegetarian paradise. Argentina is Known for having great meats and sometimes can be quite difficult to find your place if you are a vegetarian. Lucky for you, nowadays the meat-free population is becoming more and more trendy in the city of Buenos Aires. From vegan to raw-vegan restaurants, natural cafes and delis are beginning to take its toll in the city. You might ask yourself, where can I got to eat a good vegetarian meal? Here are some options, all in different barrios of the city. One fairly popular is Bio, located in the hip neighborhood of Palermo Hollywood, where all of their food is organic and offer choices like smoothies and healthy gourmet dishes. Another good choice of restaurant located in this neighborhood is Buenos Aires Verde where you can eat a nice healthy breakfast or a pleasant meal.

Bio

In other parts of the city like in Colegiales, located in between Belgrano and Palermo, there is a delightful restaurant called Kensho where Maximo Cabrera, the same owner of Bio restaurant shares his vegetarian Buddhist knowledge and offers what he calls “wake-up food”. This restaurant has really great reviews on the food and is known for its unique environment.

In a further neighborhood like San Telmo, which is more likely to find fewer options of vegetarian places, there is a good Cafe-Restaurant called Naturaleza Sabia, located in an old vintage like house, where they offer simple balanced meals and creative combinations. From veggie pastas to lentil hamburgers, chop sue and so forth.

Smoothies

Are you a vegetarian but your boyfriend/girlfriend/friends are not? Wanna both have an enjoyable meal? No problem! Most of the restaurants and delis offer a variety of good healthy green plates for us vegetarians. Places like, and one of my personal favorites, b-Blue Deli. This place has some delicious and quite big choices of natural foods, like big energetic yummy smoothies (like on the picture above) salads, vegetable tartas to teryaki plates and more. And don’t forget to ask what is the menu of the day or ‘el menu del dia’.

veggies

Planning to stay in and wanna cook a nice vegetarian meal in Buenos Aires? Don’t be afraid to buy some vegetables in a recommended vegetable store, or verduleria (you might find some surprisingly good quality economic ones!) to fill your fridge with fruit and veggies. Buenos Aires is also full of natural and organic shops called Dieteticas, mostly located in the main streets. Or if you don’t feel like looking around much, head to el Barrio Chino, located in Belgrano, there you can find a whole lot of options like all different types of seeds, like quinoa, lentils, spices, all kinds of nuts, cookies, and all of this for a relatively good price.

Difference between Reserva and Gran Reserva Wines

There are many things that contribute to the final quality of a good wine, like the cultivation, the meteorological variations, the process of elaboration and so forth… When in more simple terms, we can make a good wine by being aware of the aging process. And in terms of aging, red wines can be classified in the following matter:

Young red wine is referred to wine that has been in a barrel just about enough time. This type of wine must be consumed at the most a year after it has been out in the market, the earlier it is consumed the better it tastes.

barrel

Quality wine is in fact a fine wine that has an ageing process of about two years; this also means that the wine must remain at least six months in a wooden oak barrel and the rest in a bottle. There is a difference when it comes to white or rose wine; the estimated time of breeding is about 18 months long.

Bottles

A Reserva Wine must be consumed within 36 months. It must be contained in a wooden oak barrel for at least a year while the in the remaining time it must be kept in bottles. A white and rose white wine in the other hand, takes at least two years.

Gran Reserva Wine ages in 18 months in a roble barrel  and at least four months in a bottle, which in summary takes about a total of five years. And in relation to white wines the minimum time is at least four years in a barrel and bottle.

Corchos

Interesting Fact: Did you know that the corks mainly consumed in the world are Spanish?

Puerta Cerrada: Steaks by Luis Authentic Argentine Asado

 At our space, the Reserve, we’re lucky enough to be home to several different events and puerta cerradas. The newest edition to the reserve restaurant collection is the puerta cerrada, Steaks by Luis. In any guide book, online review or by word or mouth it is blatantly obvious that when you come to Argentina, you have to eat steak. We’re known worldwide for top quality beef grilled up with salt and some potatoes as a side. What most people don’t know or get to experience is the more cultural side of this grilled meat. Here in Argentina it’s not just about the food itself but also about the experience of the ‘asado‘ or what an English speaker would refer to as a BBQ. Asados are common Sunday activity for Argentines where you gather with friends and family to hang out, relax, catch up while eating and drinking.

Luis Fabrini

Steaks by Luis is, as you may have guessed, run by Luis Fabrini. He was born here in Buenos Aires and basically since he could walk he’s been participating in grilling up great asados. For him asado is a way of life. Because of this passion and adoration he wanted to find a way to share his love for cooking and asados with everyone, not just his Argentine friends and family. Steaks by Luis is a full fledged asado. It’s as traditional and authentic as you can get without stepping foot into the actual home of a porteño.

grilled starters

Beyond this, what is so special about this asado is that you too get to participate. Luis is not only there to cook and entertain with a great grill show on our very large parrilla (grill) but he’s also willing to divulge tips of the trade and if you’re feeling up to it he even allows you to help out a bit with the grilling. Steaks by Luis offers you a chance to learn what an asado is and what it feels like to be a part of one. They walk you through what all the cuts of meat are, how they are cooked, how long they are cooked as well as other interesting tidbits.

Luis at the Parrilla

The events are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays and last up to 4 hours. The idea is that with your 5 course meal you get to relax and enjoy the fact that you’re with good company in Buenos Aires. The dinner starts off with a large picada and a glass of sparkling wine as a wonderful welcome. Next you get another full glass of wine to go along with the salad course, an mixed salad but with a bit of a surprise twist. After the salad they pour you yet another delicious wine to accompany large and beautiful plate of grilled starters. Giving you time to digest while watching you steaks grilled right in front of you the host graciously makes sure that everyone is enjoying themselves and provides more insight into the culture and life in Buenos Aires. Finally when it’s time for the star of the show a gorgeous hunk of beef, delicately garnished is sat in front of you. Take a moment to ogle the monstrous piece of meat in all it’s grilled glory. When you think you can’t fit any more fantastic food into your belly you’ll quickly change your mind when you see the delectable dessert they have for you.

grilled starters

If you’re looking for an utterly Argentine night filled with good company and great food you’ve got to check out Steaks by Luis. You won’t be disappointed.   

Puerta Cerradas in Buenos Aires

NOLA Puerta Cerrada

Similar to a cross between underground supper clubs and dining in your moms kitchen, Puerta Cerradas have been popping up all over Buenos Aires since 2001. After the crash of the economy it was a little too dicey for chefs to invest so much money into buying a space to run a full blow restaurant. Instead they turned to serving private dinners in their own homes. They set up intimate makeshift eateries in their living and dining rooms and open their homes to friends and strangers alike to come and enjoy a set course meal.

casa sunae puerta cerrada-buenos-aires-01

There’s nothing that can compare to having a home-cooked meal prepared by a professional chef. With the Puerta Cerradas, which literally translates to ‘closed doors’, chefs from all over the world are now able to showcase their talents and cooking ability on a small scale. Demand has been increasing tremendously and due to limited seating they’re held in high esteem. You get to skip the tourist-crowded tables with many times overpriced menus and you get to eat what foodies like. The menus change weekly, sometimes even daily and it’s all based on what’s fresh, in season and what they chef is in the mood to make.

iLatina Puerta Cerrada

Another draw to Puerta Cerradas is that you can find food that typical restaurants here in Buenos Aires don’t normally offer. It’s an excellent opportunity to get away from all the red meat, empanadas, potatoes and bread that Argentinian people thrive on. In fact, many of the chefs/owners of the Puerta Cerradas are actually expats transplanted in this bustling city. Needless to say they know what they’re doing when it comes to making international cuisine. Besides this the Puerta Cerradas are a wonderful way to meet new people. Due to the intimate setting of these events one will often find that you can’t help but start up a conversation with the person next to you making it a fantastic way to meet locals or other travelers.

Casa Saltshaker Puerta Cerrada

When looking to make a reservation at a Puerta Cerrada there are a few things that you need to keep in mind. For starters, Puerta Cerradas require that you book in advance. This can typically be done by phone or email but it must be done. Sometimes you’ll get lucky with a same day reservation but it is highly recommended that you book at least a few days in advance in order to ensure your party’s seats. Also to keep in mind is that fact that not all Puerta Cerradas are open 7 days a week. It is quite typical that they’re open between 2 and 4 days of the week. The menus are more often then not set menus (which will change from week to week sometimes offering a selection between two main courses) but when calling to make a reservation you MUST clarify if you have any sort of dietary restriction. The meals typically range anywhere from A$ 100 to A$ 400 per person (most only accept cash) and this may or may not include beverages.

Some of our favorite Puerta Cerradas include: