three great places - Buenos Aires
Written by Sorrel Moseley-Williams
Like any modern metropolis, cuisines derived from immigrant cultures are alive and kicking in Buenos Aires. Dive into kitsch, Italian-style pizza or Peruvian fusion, not forgetting delectable dry-aged steaks thrown in for good measure.
From the man who introduced Buenos Aires to high-end Peruvian cuisine in the shape of Osaka comes Mullu, the latest culinary masterpiece from chef José Castro Mendivil. Knock on the door and be welcomed with a hearty ‘Rimaykullayki’ – a greeting in the Quechua language – before sinking into a banquette in this hip and intimate space for 40.
Although Castro Mendivil, named one of Peru’s 10 best chefs working outside of his home country in 2012, has downsized on his previous restaurants, Mullu’s menu is extensive nonetheless.
The seafood-dominant dishes are for sharing and focus on classics such as ceviche, as well as Chifa and Nikkei dishes – Chinese and Japanese influences that have marked Peru’s cuisine. We love the steamed white salmon sashimi served with lamb stew, a surprisingly delectable combination.
As 60% of Argentina’s population has Italian blood coursing through their veins, its of little surprise that pizza and pasta can be found on every other street corner.
For the original fast-food experience, get a slice of the action at one of the city’s most popular parlours, El Cuartito.
Serving up thick and gooey pies unlike anything you’ve eaten in Naples since 1934, hungry porteños fill this local joint, covered in football and boxing memorabilia, all day long. We recommend the fugazzeta, the house speciality slathered in mozzarella and onions.
Dining at El Cuartito is the real McCoy for mingling with office workers, suited-and-booted lawyers, ladies who lunch, and dating couples in one fell swoop.
Only got five minutes to spare? Grab a slice on the hop and chow it down at the bar – standing room only.
Named after the blushing bride who was gifted the stunning mansion that can be spied through the restaurants vast skylight by her besotted husband, the Four Seasons’ Elena is brand-spanking new. Following an extensive refit in late 2012 to the tune of US$7 million – Argentina leaves her typical characteristics throughout, from Freudian doodles on side plates to cushy leather seating and strategically placed bridles dividing up tables – the two-storey restaurants look is both cool and sophisticated.
Elenas menu breaks down into three tempting food groups, with Argentina influencing once again: charcuterie – executive chef Juan Gaffuri lovingly smokes the trout himself – rotisserie, and dry-aged beef that is hung in-house. After sharing a T-bone accompanied by truffled corn soufflé, sweeten up matters with a goats’-cheese and date gelato from the Dolce Morte selection.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Distance: 13,319 km
Flight Time: 18 hours, 50 minutes
Frequency: Daily via São Paulo