5.08.2010

I'm not much of a solo diner (although I have learned to suck it up for lunch every once in a while), so while J was here I made sure to hit a variety of recommended restaurants in Buenos Aires.

Hidden away in one of the less popular of the central neighborhoods, Villa Crespo, Almacén Secreto is a "closed-door" restaurant that offers traditional food from all over Argentina. With tamales, humitas and other dishes that might surprise those who think Argentine food is all about the cow, this restaurant/art gallery seriously delivered. I particularly loved the bowl of potatoes of surprisingly different sizes and flavors. Everything was tasty (especially my tamal) and Saturday night music really made the taxi ride worthwhile.

Cabaña Las Lilas, in the modern riverside neighborhood of Puerto Madero, took us forever to find and probably cost the most, but it was worth the effort and the extra pesos. The steak here was amazing and the portion was insane -- basically two filet mignons. The terraza overlooking the water was cute and the service, not always a strength in Buenos Aires restaurants, was very good. Props to J for getting us out of the slightly shady couvert situation -- read the menu before you dig into the bread etc., folks.

Bonus birthday dinner at Francis in Montevideo, Uruguay: This was all J (part of my birthday present was that I didn't want to have anything to do w/ Montevideo -- Buenos Aires was taking up enough of my planning/prep time) and he chose well. The restaurant, in Punta Carretas, was cute, the (cheap) wine selection was expansive and the (inevitable) steak I had was delicious. And, bonus, like most places in the two cities we visited, this restaurant was more than happy to call a cab for us.

Some of my favorite foods were at very nondescript joints. For example, probably my favorite pizza moment of the trip (and there have been many, best believe) came right around the corner at Pizza y Espuma. My personal-sized mozzarella pizza was super good with the perfect mix of mozz and parmesan for me. J's "ñoquis" also were fantastic. And the cheap wine! Probably my favorite of the trip, and about 4 bucks?

Also noteworthy are the many delivery options Buenos Aires has to offer. My faves: Pollo Trak, Almacen de Pizzas, Empanadas Gourmet and El Club de la Milanesa. Let's not forget that you can get ice cream delivered, too. Freddo FTW! (Dulce de leche granizado + chocolate amargo = heaven.)

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