three great places - Buenos Aires
Written by Declan McGarvey
In glamorous, cosmopolitan Buenos Aires, dine on the world’s greatest beefsteaks and discover a vibrant restaurant scene that celebrates the very best of global cuisines: from Japanese sushi delights to the spicy-fresh flavours of Peru’s altiplano.
An open grill sizzles at Don Julio – a parrilla (steakhouse) that serves some of BA’s best beef to some of its most beautiful people. Prime beef cuts – tenderloin, flank, sirloin, and more – crackle and smoulder on a charcoal grill.
Don Julio occupies an 1890s corner house overlooking a quiet street in the Palermo Soho district – an ultra-fashionable zone of art spaces and chic design stores. It’s a place of retro charms: original mosaic and chequerboard floors, high red-brick ceilings, and walls carpeted with red-wine bottles. Choose a table on the main floor; cosy mezzanine; or outside on a romantic pavement terrace. It fronts a cobbled street lit by yellow lanterns. Order the specialty entraña (skirt steak) plus peppery green salad doused in olive and balsamic oils. Pair with a lush Malbec red wine, sourced from the Mendoza wine region and stored at this restaurant’s temperature-controlled cellar.
Cool, quiet modernity permeates throughout, lending Irifune the allure of a calm oasis at the heart of a fast-moving metropolis. Clean-glass partitions etched with Japanese motifs offer privacy; kaleidoscopic wall-prints inject splashes of colour; low-lighting and bamboo-clad walls confer warmth and authenticity.
Select raw, steamed, and deep-fried items to share and delight over. To spark appetites order a healthy citrus starter – try the zesty oshinko pickled fruits – combined with delicate sushi and sashimi items. Graduate to filling entrées: hot-chicken brochettes and deep-fried tofu arrive on porcelain plates of Gauguin-esque colours. The sensational tempura moriawase – lightly battered shrimp and blue and white fish served with tentsuyu sauce – bursts with ocean flavours. Wash down with warm sake, imported Japanese beer, or aromatic jasmine tea.
Astrid y Gastón
Astrid y Gastónis the glittering star of Peruvian cuisine in BA. Located close to the Museo Evita (Evita Perón Museum) and the ornate Palermo parks, its setting is a converted 1920s townhouse that sparkles with belle-époque splendour.
Chef Roberto Grau sources the seafood of Argentina’s Atlantic Coast and the indigenous ingredients of the altiplano to create classic, beautifully conceived Peruvian dishes. Grau’s dishes are whisked to dining salons – there are four spread over two floors.
A secluded patio provides al fresco dining. But we love the front salon here. Fabulous reproductions of Peruvian colonial art paint its high ceiling. Dine on spicy-fresh ceviche and specialties like spider-crab limeña – sweet potatoes stuffed with spider crab, avocados, cherry tomatoes, and quail eggs – beneath wigged viceroys, trumpeting angels, and naval battles: glorious.
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Astrid y Gastón