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La Morada

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Folklore Songs from Argentina

Serving up cheap eats with quick and friendly service, La Morada is extremely popular with the lunchtime business crowd. Found near the Plaza de Mayo, the restaurant specializes in classic Argentine fare, such as empanadas, locro and tartas.

La Morada

The decoration of the small restaurant is kitsch taken to the nth degree. Glass cases hold hundreds of miniature collectible figures. Posters of old comics and 70s surf records adorn the walls, and a projection TV shows old Hanna-Barbera cartoons. It’s amusing to see suited businessmen, intensely watching a Loopy DeLoop cartoon, while chowing down on empanadas.

Our waiter was friendly, and happy to attend to all our questions. At one point, a poor girl of about 7 years of age entered, trying to sell stickers to customers. Instead of shooing her away, the waiter offered her an empanada, which, to our amazement, she refused. So he handed her a couple pesos instead. Those she snatched away without a word of thanks.

If you’re in the mood for a quick, typically Argentine meal, hunt down La Morada. We really enjoyed it.

Hipólito Yrigoyen 778
Location on our Buenos Aires Map
Tel: 4343-3003
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May 5, 2011 at 3:20 pm Comments (0)

Punta Brasas – Not Bad in a Pinch!

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Grilling the Argentine Way

It was a Sunday afternoon, and we were stomping angrily around Palermo Hollywood looking for a place to eat. The restaurant we had wanted to go to was closed, and we had no backup plan. One of the bad things about eating in Buenos Aires is that restaurants have irregular schedules… Mondays, Sunday afternoons, Tuesday nights, closed. Advance research is always a smart idea. But one of the good things is that there’s usually another great option around the corner, regardless of where you are.

White Wine

Before we even got two blocks away, we encountered Punta Brasas on Bonpland and Honduras. We grabbed a spot on the upstairs terrace, and sat down for an excellent meal. I had a Caeser salad, and Jürgen ate stuffed chicken. The service was good — our waitress was there when we needed her, but stayed out of our way generally — and the prices were fair. Sitting in the sun with a bottle of white wine cooling in a bucket, and great food in front of us, it was difficult to be anything but happy.

But we almost didn’t go! It was a typically porteño scene: as we were approaching Punta Brasas, the door girl approached us on the sidewalk. “Looking food? Come in! So nice!” This is such a turn off. Even though we had planned on going there anyway, we almost turned around out of principle. Why do so many restaurants around the city employ this pushy tactic? Does anyone actually ever say “okay”? If anything, I have to believe that it drives business away.

Puntas Brasas
Bonpland 1694
Location on our Buenos Aires Map
Tel: 4776-2784
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May 3, 2011 at 7:21 pm Comments (0)

Dadá – Artsy Eating in Retiro

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For a restaurant named after a 1920s anti-art movement, Dadá turns out to be remarkably unpretentious. There’s a lot to love about this little place on Calle San Martín in Retiro: the decoration, the friendliness of the staff and, of course, the food.

Dadá Buenos Aires

Everything inside Dadá is beautiful to look at, from the paintings hanging on the walls, to the brightly tiled bar. There’s definitely a Parisian flair to the place. A huge mural inspired by Roy Lichtenstein hovered above our table, where we had sat down for lunch. Looking at the menu, I was mainly surprised by how affordable everything was. Dining in a artsy, hip bistro usually comes with a hefty price tag.

Our waitress took the time to explain all the plates, and offer suggestions. Great service is one of the most-praised attributes of Dadá in online reviews, and certainly was the case for us. More than just pleasant, our waitress was laughing and good-natured, and seemed genuinely happy that we were there. And when the food came out, a great experience got even better. The lomo steak was huge and perfectly cooked. All the portions were absolutely generous, and we left full and happy.

Check out Dadá if you find yourself in need of a great meal, around Plaza San Martín. They’re open for lunch, dinner and evening drinks every day except Sunday. Given the size of the place, it’s probably best to call ahead for dinner reservations.

San Martín 941
Tel: 4314-4787
Location on our Buenos Aires Map
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March 28, 2011 at 5:31 pm Comments (0)

Lunch at Caseros, Another Wonderful Find in San Telmo

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Our Travel Insurance: World Nomads

San Telmo is at no loss for great restaurants, and we recently stumbled upon another: Caseros, on the street of the same name, near Parque Lezama.

Lunch Buenos Aires

The restaurant is almost clinically white. While choosing our table, we noticed that even most of the guests were dressed in white. But a feeling of warmth reigns in Caseros, and we immediately felt at home. The walls of the bar and kitchen were painted to resemble a ramshackle storefront from decades ago, and baskets full of eggplants and fruit were set on each table. The light color scheme and huge windows allowing in the sun made for a cheerful place to have a meal.

The menu is small, which is something I always appreciate, and our food was excellent. I chose the fish, and Jürgen had an incredible plate of beef, served with chunks of onion, pumpkin and potato. The portions were generous, and we loved every bite. Caseros is famous for its lemonade so, even though it makes an odd dessert, we finished our meal with a glass. Freshly squeezed, and served with mint leaves. Excellent.

We went to Caseros on a rainy, mid-week afternoon, and it was packed. I asked the waiter if it was always so popular, and he responded in the affirmative. Little wonder: with friendly service, great food, good prices and a quiet location next to the park, Caseros is tough to beat for a relaxed lunch in San Telmo.

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March 13, 2011 at 6:42 pm Comments (6)

El Cuartito – Pizza & Empanadas

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The Art of Making Pizza

Step into a time warp and a grab a table at El Cuartito: one of Buenos Aires’ oldest and most popular pizzerias. With vintage boxing and football posters covering the walls, a frantic waiter running around the tables to take orders and deliver food, and the most delicious pizza I’ve eaten in quite some time, this incredible restaurant is one of the city’s best.

Pizza Waiter

El Cuartito has been in business since 1934. Found in Recoleta, it’s a busy place during lunch; you can either order at the counter or sit down for service. Well you’ll get service if you can grab the waiter, which isn’t so easy. And once you do get his attention, don’t expect him to patiently answer all the questions you may have about the menu. While taking our order, he didn’t even pause at our table, just slowed down his pace a bit as he passed by.

The prices at El Cuartito are great and the pizza is out of this world. At least, it is if you like cheese, mounds of heavy cheese dripping off every slice. A lot of people might turn their noses up at this style of pie, but I was in heaven. We ordered the medium size (“chico”), which came with six slices. You can combine different styles of pizza, and try out a variety; we went with the Atómica and the Cuartito. The empanadas are another house specialty, and we got one filled with spicy beef. We noticed that a lot of locals were skipping on pizza entirely and had a meal of two or three empanadas.

Dessert was a silly idea. My stomach was already full to the breaking point, but when we saw the dish served to a guy at a nearby table, we couldn’t resist. “Eso! Lo quiero también!” I shouted at the waiter as he zipped by. Minutes later a rich portion of flan, with a side of sweet, carmelly dulce de leche was set in front of us.

El Cuartito instantly vaulted itself onto my list of favorite places, and I would have to return. But there were so many other pizzerias to try! Suffice to say, weight maintenance was a constant struggle during our time in Buenos Aires. If you’ve got some restaurant tips, leave a comment or let us know!

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February 9, 2011 at 11:09 pm Comments (14)
La Morada
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