A journey through Argentina's best restaurants
A journey through Argentina's best restaurants
The current ranking of Latin America's Top 50 restaurants it had 12 Argentinian restaurants in it, a great figure - it's the country with more restaurants in the region - although it had 15 of them in the ranking's last edition.
When foreigners think of Argentinian Gastronomy, options are often reduced to beef and good wine, which, even if true, tends to be quite incomplete when we think of the evolution of the industry in that country.
''Argentina offers a wider gastronomy than meat and this is related to taking advantage of local products, since we have a big and rich geography, options are different from South to North. Chefs are now choosing that, they're now using river fish, for example. Meat production is important but chefs are exploring other things. It is important for tourists to understand that there are several options when it comes to gastronomy, Northern products, Southern fruits, among others'' states Marina Ponzi, co-founder and director of Buenos Aires Food Week and co- founder of Fuudis, a group of Gastronomy lovers.
Ponzi believes that Argentina has a good level in Gastronomy, but it is not enough to be in the Top 5.
''In the ranking, there aren't many places that should be there and there are some that I wouldn't have considered as deeply relevant, but in general, this choice reflects the best of our food'' she explains.
Ponzi gives details about the choices.
''In the 2013 ranking, El Baqueano was among the last and now it has made its way up to the 18th position. Their owners are a couple who do this very interesting Chef Exchange, called 'Kitchens without borders', when you think about it, it is a remarkable phenomena for gastronomy in the region. Tarquino made it to the ranking for the first time, it was in the shadows for a long time but it is one of the best places to eat out in Buenos Aires, no doubt about it. Typical Argentinian Gastronomy is represented by La Cabrera and Tomo I, which make our traditional barbecue, these are old school restaurants that to me are not that creative. They are gastronomically conservative and they don't target youth. Their public are mainly elders looking for tradition'', she says.
The Argentinian restaurants chosen in the ranking, one by one.
Number 9: Tegui
Just as in 2013, it is among the best places to eat out in the country. It is directed by chef Germán Martitegui, who is popular in the region for being the face of the local edition of 'Master Chef', although he is also responsible for other gastronomic endeavours such as Olsen and Casa Cruz. Experts agree that Tegui is on its highest point. Its menu, defined as ''sophisticated'' and ''original'' usually changes and varies in style.
Its marketing - or the absence of it - deserves another opinion. It is located in the glamourous zone of Palermo, but in a remote area of it. Graffittis on its door differ from what can be found inside; it doesn't even look like a restaurant at first sight. Not even its website gives valuable information, Martitegui likes mouth to mouth publicity and it works for him: Tegui is full every night.
Number 14: Aramburu
Located in San Telmo, one of Buenos Aires' oldest neighbourhoods, Aramburu is based on experience. Its chef and owner, Gonzalo Aramburu, experiments with sophisticated dishes that reflect gastronomic philosophy. Arambaru himself is a member of GAJO (Young Argentinian Gastronomy in Spanish), a movement of local chefs who cook with seasonal and regional ingredients. The wines are unusual and have unique blends. Its aesthetics must be highlighted: a huge fish bowl allows clients to see the cooks while people enjoy their meal.
Number 16: Tarquino
In the heart of Recoleta, Buenos Aires' most stylish spot, and in the framework of a 1950's petit hotel, Tarquino makes its gastronomic offer - its name is a tribute to the legendary bull - that aims to reassess Argentinian food by celebrating typical dishes but with a strong touch of vanguard. The menu is done by Dante Liporace, who has worked in the world's most important restaurants - including elBulli. Their wines are the best in the country. Architecture and decoration are equally sophisticated, with details in wool, leather and a glass roof that reveals a tree.
Number 18: El Baqueano
Even when cow's meat is the most common ingredient in national menus, El Baqueano, located in San Telmo, chooses non traditional meats, such as rhea, hare, buffalo, chinchilla, yacare, deer, wild boar and vizcacha, all enriched by the exquisite hand of the chef in charge, Fernando Rivarola. There is an option in the menu that allows to try all these meats and they also have the finest wines; while sausages, cheese and regional sweets complete a delightful proposal for the diners.
Number 21: Chila
The high class and most modern zone of the city, Puerto Madero, is the home of Chile,the signature restaurant that is still among the finest in Buenos Aires. Its French inspiration was sealed when chef Soledad Nardelli joined the team, after travelling around the globe. The 'Producers Cuisine', a concept related to the chef and ''the artisans of food''. Dishes offered by the restaurant have been ''argentinized'', although they haven't lost their original French esence; characterized by a 3 steps menu and a 7 steps one. There are countryside products in the carte, all integrated in the fantastic combinations made by Nardelli.
Number 22: La Cabrera
A classic when it comes to meat in Buenos Aires. Born in the trendy streets of the city, Palermo, and in the middle of the country's worst crisis (2001) has been a leader in the field of meats. The fame of its dishes, created by chef Gastón Riveira, has become international: apart from Buenos Aires, there are brunches in Lima, Paraguay, Manila, and soon there will be one in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.
Number 23: Tomo I
It is said that this restaurant is an institution or a classic in Buenos Aires gastronomy. It is now in charge of the second generation of the family, and they have known how to continue its legacy of excellence by mixing classic French dishes with more innovative alternatives and a sophistication that gives freshness to a conservative menu. Located in Hotel Panamericano, its lounge with carpets is sober and formal.
Number 29: Oviedo.
Another classic of local gastronomy. Located in Barrio Norte, it has the reputation of having the best wines in town, which are both, important and im9orted. The dishes of the house are Mediterranean in their origins, where fish and rices reign.
Number 40: Frances Mallman 1884
Frances Mallman is definitely the chef with the most remarkable trajectory and public recognition in the country. His restaurant was born in 1996 as a tribute to wines from Mendoza and food from the Andes, and it is located inside the Escorihuela Winery - built in 1884. Mellman's style, rustic and with fire as a basic element in a menu that offers meat paired with the most exquisite wines.
Number 47: Sucre
This signature cuisine restaurant is complemented with the biggest wine cellar known to the city, to the point that it is known as 'the temple of wine' and even with its new owners, it keeps on captivating clients with few but exclusive etiquettes.
Number 48: Elena
It is located in a 5 stars Hotel - the Four Seasons - but you couldn't tell it. The kitchen is easy to see, dishes are abundant and with few ingredients and they don't compete with other restaurants just because they aren't fond of structures. Under the paradigm of ''from the farm to the table'' products are natural and method dry aged is used in its meats in order to keep and reinforce its flavour. Oils, tea. mineral water, everything is Argentinian-made and exclusively for Elena.
Number 50: Pura Tierra
The stamp of this Belgrano's restaurant are its native dishes prepared with seasonal products and in made in clay oven. Martín Molteni is the chief in charge, and he includes sophisticated techniques and regional ingredients. The carte changes according to the season.