WHICH TO CHOOSE AND WHY IN THE MOST GASTRONOMIC AND TOURISTIC DISTRICT OF BUENOS AIRES
Palermo (Buenos Aires) is a destination in itself. It is the most touristic district in the city of Buenos Aires and the largest gastronomic offer, hundreds of restaurants, adding new options practically every week. Grills, ethnic restaurants, hamburger stands, bars, pubs and bistros; it is impossible not to get lost among so many alternatives. Which are essential? We bring you a possible list, taking into account that the restaurants are very different and they have an excellent price-quality relation. The chosen ones are an Asian grill, a neo pub, a themed restobar, an Italian restaurant and a cevicheria with the best Argentine fish.
NIÑO GORDO: THE BEST INSTAGRAMMER ASIAN
In the era of Instagram, restaurants also appear in photos. Niño Gordo is perhaps the most extreme example of this trend. Its interior reminds of a fantasy world anime style or the set of an Asian movie. From the first moment, a total experience is proposed, which goes beyond food (although, the food is very good too).
Opened almost two years ago on Thames Street, in Palermo, the aesthetics of Niño Gordo is the work of Eme Carranza, an event decorator from Buenos Aires that filled the place with neon, pastel-colored tiles, formic tables and chairs, fake fish tanks, red paper lamps and collectible dolls. Even the bathroom is ideal for photos, coated in gold and with faucet that end in the shape of a dragon.
Tip: if possible, make a reservation at the bar, from where you can witness the intense work of the kitchen team, commanded by the talented Colombian chef Pedro Peña (also owner of La Carnicería, Chori and Juan Pedro Caballero, all in Palermo). Pure adrenaline; fire, grill, steaming pots are visible. The lounge, on the other hand, has a slightly quieter mood, ideal for couples or friends. It is not advisable to go with children.
There are three or four essential dishes: the Katsu Sando, a Japanese-style sandwich with chorizo steak. It is so tender, tasty and full of umami that you will want to order another one as soon as the first one is finished. Spicy rice with seafood and egg –to share in the middle of the table– is another must-have dish, just like fried fish. To accompany the meal, there are good Argentine wines, oriental beers and for those looking for more vigorous drinks, they will find the best menu of Japanese whiskeys. Definitely, Niño Gordo is one of the most original restaurants in Palermo, where you will not only enjoy tasty food, but also get the best photo for Instagram!
From Tuesday to Sunday at night
EL PREFERIDO: A TAVERN THAT REWROTE ITS HISTORY
It is one of the great openings of 2019, but it has more than 75 years of history. Both things are true. We talked about El Preferido, one of the best places in Palermo to know the most classic Buenos Aires cuisine, that of the taverns, with nods to our Spanish and Italian heritage. The gastronomic entrepreneur Pablo Rivero (also owner of the Don Julio grill) was responsible for giving a new life to El Preferido, an old bowling alley founded in 1952 by Spanish immigrants in the same block where Borges once lived, a piece of Buenos Aires history.
High ceilings, noble materials, a large bar where you can sit and order some tapas, chicken al spiedo oven always rotating, good music and a lovely and cheerful atmosphere; it is full of life and good energy.
In the kitchen there is a very talented team: chefs Martin Luckesh and Guido Tassi; the latter is one of the best sausage specialists in Argentina. In fact, one of the strengths of the menu are the chorizos, salami, ndujas, bacon and hams that hang in a ripening cellar that connects to the living room through a stained glass window.
Recommended dishes: fainá with provolone, pure crunchy flavor; matambre with Russian salad, a dish that is eaten at the end of the year and prepared here in a very reliable version; and two old school dishes: vegetable fritters and niños envueltos, almost nobody prepares them at home, but in the seventies and eighties they were very common. Also Milanese, the steak of cuadril or the chicken al spiedo; there is much more and the plan is to change the menu periodically to get the best of each season.
Just like Niño Gordo is the first option for dinner, El Preferido is much more enjoyable at noon, with the beautiful summer light coming through the windows. The desserts are also incredible: flan with dulce de leche and cream, strawberries with zabaglione or pancakes, among other options.
Open every day, from noon
CUCINA PARADISO: THE BEST ITALIAN CUISINE SPOT
Italian cuisine is essential in the good Argentinean table: we are fans of pizza, pasta and ice cream, and any tourist visiting Buenos Aires should try a little of everything. Cucina Paradiso is in Palermo and is one of the best places that follows the Italian style. Its owner is Donato De Santis, a histrionic chef who grew up in Puglia, but has been living in Argentina for many years. He is a TV star and he knew how to combine his media profile with a good gastronomic proposal, two restaurants and an Italian products market.
The restaurant in Palermo is small, warm and festive, very visited by tourists. If the weather is ideal, they have tables on the sidewalk to enjoy the outdoors and drink an Aperol Spritz, as a prelude to the meal.
The antipasto is a must-have; you will not regret it when the dishes arrive at the table, which will amaze you, such as the caponata, the bruschettone with lardo, the Sicilian arancini, the prosciutto of Parma and the focaccia. Obviously, then you have to order the pasta. For example, a dish of the incredible cappellacci di zucca or the culingiones stuffed with potatoes, onions, mint and saffron, a typical Sardinian specialty. Do not forget to try tiramisu, cannoli or sfogliatella, each one is worth it.
From Monday to Saturday - Open all day
LA MAR: LOCAL PRODUCT WITH THE SEAL OF GASTÓN ACURIO
If you want to eat fish and you are in Palermo, one of the best alternatives is La Mar, a branch of the famous cevicheria of the Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio, with branches locations around the world. In addition to good cuisine, it stands out for its location: a terrace in an old classic-style building built in 1927 by the architect Valentín Brodsky (also responsible for the Hotel Alvear, another icon of Buenos Aires).
La Mar's style is relaxed, informal and unpretentious. Starting with the pisco sour of the house is almost a must, as well as trying their ceviche made with the catch of the day, seafood, lemon, chili and coriander. There are six varieties, so ask for a tasting. The tiraditos and the causas are also a good way to know the flavors of La Mar. Among the most famous are the anticucheras (of octopus, cuttlefish, scallops and prawns) and if you came with your friends, it's a good idea to order whole fish to get a bite (grab a snack in the middle of the table). Its value depends on the weight and you can choose the method of cooking: fried, sweat, grilled, stewed, among others.
Recommendation: always choose the terrace or the outdoor bar; it is more charming than the interior lounge.
From Tuesday to Sunday - Open at noon and at night; Monday only at night.
PERÓN PERÓN: AN APPROACH TO PERONIST CUISINE
It is unquestionable: A good part of tourists arrive in Buenos Aires interested in Juan and Eva Perón; a route that usually begins with a visit to the tomb of the “flag-bearer of the poor” in the Recoleta cemetery. The Peronist liturgy can also be experienced through food, starting with the potato pie, the favorite dish of the general who ruled Argentina between 1946 and 1955 and between 1972 and 1973.
Our advice is to visit Palermo, where Perón Perón is located; it is a cheerful restaurant that is full of memories and where the Peronist march is sung. Visited by several politicians from Argentina (In fact, President-elect Alberto Fernández recently visited the place), It stands out for its generous portions and a very convenient price-quality relation.
What should you order? You can choose the costillar Evita, the provoleta (grilled cheese), the Osso Buco with vegetables, the bondiola cake with sweet potato, port and sugar or the stews. The quinquenal flan is one of the famous ones in Buenos Aires. Go get it! Perón Perón, que grande sos…. (Argentinian Peronista song)
Open from Monday to Saturday, at night.
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