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Las Pizarras – Go to the Head of the Class!

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Pasta Recipes

When I consider the word chalkboard, my head instantly seizes up with all sorts of negative connotations. My brain thinks “school”, my nose remembers the stale stench of erasers being pounded together, and my ears… the unbearable screech of a bad piece of chalk scraping uselessly against the slate. Awful.

Las Pizzaras

Pizarra is Spanish for “chalkboard”, so when I discovered that we were on our way to meet friends at Las Pizarras, I went into a semi-catatonic shock. NO|FORK|CHALKBOARD|NO|FORK|NO But there was no reason to fear; the restaurant provided one of the most pleasant dining experiences we’ve had in Buenos Aires.

From the moment you ring the doorbell, and the door is opened, Pizarras is all about charm. The dining area is small and the menus are found on the huge chalkboards which cover the walls. The wine card was right above us, desserts behind us to the left, and entrées across the way. It was a novel way to present the menu, and blended seamlessly into the thoughtful, tasteful decor of the restaurant.

The food was delicious. I stuck to seafood, with an appetizer of razor clams (navajas) and a main course of shrimp risotto. Juergen went with pumpkin soup and steak, and the girls we were with had pasta dishes. In the end, we all ended up sharing off each other’s plates; it’s really a mark of a great restaurant that I couldn’t say which of our meals was the best. All of us left full and happy.

The prices weren’t even bad, especially for a chic restaurant in the middle of Palermo. Make reservations, and head over to Las Pizarras. You won’t be sorry. And if you even think about being “that guy”, who thinks it’s funny to stand up on his chair and drag a fork against one of the chalkboards, know this: I will hunt you down. And I will find you.

Las Pizarras
Thames 2296
Location on our Buenos Aires Map
All the restaurants we visited in Buenos Aires

Pizzaras Menu
Pizarras Palermo
Pizarras Restaurant
Pumkin Soup
Navajas
Risotto
Entaña Bife
Fresh Pasta
Fresh Ravioli
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April 28, 2011 at 3:18 pm Comments (2)

Il Matterello – Italian Dining in La Boca

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Incredible Pasta Recipes

Calle Martín Rodriguez in La Boca is the rough-and-tumble kind of street you’d normally want to avoid after sunset. But there’s one very good reason to set those concerns aside for one night: Il Matterello.

Italian Family

When you take your table, it’s hard to believe you’re in the middle of a working-class neighborhood. Il Matterello is all elegance, but manages to retain a casual atmosphere. The staff is friendly, and goes out of their way to make you feel like family. Before leading us to our seats, the greeter asked where we were from, and took us over to a huge map of Italy to point out Matterello (it’s near Venice). The restaurant has become an institution in La Boca, well-respected by critics and popular with the locals.

The food was outstanding. I had spinach raviolis stuffed with herbs and Juergen had the tagliatelle verdi, following a beautiful salad. All the plates were excellent; the pasta is prepared fresh in Il Matterello’s open kitchen, and the sauces were rich and delicious. With a long list of sauces to choose from, you can mix and match them with whatever pasta you want… I just asked the waiter for his recommendation. We saved room at the end for homemade tiramisu.

Il Matterello is just a couple blocks away from the Boca Juniors stadium. The dining area is small, so reservations are recommended on most nights. If you’re in La Boca and looking for a great meal away from the tourist-oriented taverns of El Caminito, you won’t be disappointed with Il Matterello.

Location on our Buenos Aires Map

Italian Breads
Fresh Pasta
Buenos Aires Restaurant
Pasta Buenos Aires
Fresh Cheese
Italian Salad
Pasta Verde
Ravioli
Ravioloy Focus
Tiramisu
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March 21, 2011 at 8:35 pm Comment (1)

El Sanjuanino – A Rustic Recoleta Escape

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Parilla History Book

Immediately surrounding the Recoleta Cemetery, there are any number of restaurants with conspicuous English-language signs and inflated prices. Do yourself a favor and resist the bait. Instead, take a short five-minute walk to Restaurante El Sanjuanino on Calle Posadas, a classic in the area, with incredible food and excellent prices.

Argentinian Wine

We ate here shortly before visiting the cemetery, having done our research with the indispensable Guia Óleo: a popular restaurant guide for BsAs. I honestly doubt that better empanadas exist in the city. I doubt they could. There may be some just as good, but “better” isn’t possible. Emapanada-making, it seems, is an art that can be perfected.

In this well-bred, exclusive rincón of Buenos Aires, El Sanjuanino is an appreciated change of pace. It’s all wooden interiors, and you almost feel as though you’re visiting your grandparents out in the woods. There was a healthy mix of locals and tourists when we went, and the service was perfect: friendly but not hovering. Besides the flawless empanadas, freshly baked and enormous, we had homemade raviolis and matambre, a delicious rolled flank steak with vegetables and cheese. Locros and tamales are also favorites on the menu.

If you’re in the area and hungry for an excellent, filling and affordable lunch, El Sanjuanino has what you need.

El Sanjuanino’s Website
Posadas 1515
Tel: 4804-2909
Location on our Buenos Aires Map

Cozy Bar
Thinking of Wine
Cute Restaurant
Para Llevar
Empanadas
Raviolis Argentina
Rolled Flank Steak
Alfajor
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March 9, 2011 at 9:20 pm Comments (13)

Sebastián Rivas of Amici Miei

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Incredible Pasta Recipes

One of San Telmo’s most popular spots is Italian restaurant Amici Miei, where tourists and locals congregate in equal numbers to enjoy handmade pasta and a balcony view over Plaza Dorrego. We recently got to meet its owner and top chef, Sebastián Rivas.

Sebastian Rivas Proia

Sebastián perfected the art of Italian cooking while living and working in Parma, and decided to open his own restaurant upon returning to Argentina. He was lucky to find an excellent space in San Telmo. Four years ago, when the restaurant opened, San Telmo wasn’t all that touristy or popular, and Amici Miei has benefited greatly from the neighborhood’s recent resurgence. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the restaurant’s classically elaborated pasta, made with imported Italian products and served with a modern flair, is excellent.

The restaurant itself is unpretentious, adorned with a few paintings from local artists, and with perfect light spilling through the windows during the evening hours. An open window into the kitchen permits observation of the cooks stretching, pulling and cutting the pasta. Sebastián invited us inside, so we could watch him throw together some of his signature dishes, such as black truffle risotto with mushroom sauce. We had a few spoonfuls — it was unbelievable, and I kept waiting for him to leave us alone in the kitchen, so I could shovel the entire bowl into my mouth.

The plates he prepared were all classic Italian recipes with unique touches. For example, he serves the rotolo, a traditional rolled-up pasta, with three kinds of basil: fried, dried and liquefied. This fusion of the time-honored and modern is what Sebastián aims for at Amici Miei, along with a friendly atmosphere (the restaurant’s name means “My Friends”). He comes out of the kitchen to visit with guests, and there’s often live music on weekend nights.

Many of the restaurants on Plaza Dorrego are tourist traps, leeching off the popular Sunday flea market, but Amici Miei certainly isn’t one of those. Watching Sebastián at work in his kitchen was a fun experience; with a small staff and a head chef who’s clearly intent on serving high-quality food, this restaurant is worth a look.

Amici Miei’s Website
Defensa 1040
Tel: 11.4362.5562 (Reservations recommended on weekends)
Location on our Buenos Aires Restaurant Map

Amici Miei
Balcony Dining Buenos Aires
High Cuisine Buenos Aires
Restaurant Buenos Aires
Pasta Dough
Ravioli
Buenos Aires Kitchen
Fried Parmesan
Chef San Telmo
Parmasan Flan
Italian Haute Cuisine
Best Pasta Buenos Aires
Redondo Setas
Redondo
Truffle Risotto
Haute Cuisine Dessert

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March 7, 2011 at 2:58 pm Comments (2)
Las Pizarras - Go to the Head of the Class!
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