This post is a long time coming, but I'll try to size up where we ate, what we ate and our impressions of assorted restaurants in Buenos Aires. This comes from two trips there, in Sept/Oct 2004 (two travelers) and Mar/April 2005 (three travelers). In some cases my notes are not very complete (too busy stuffing ourselves) and only list what we ordered and not necessarily more details about the dishes. Some restaurants that we really enjoyed (Sucre) are not even in the notebooks and were scrawled on paper that I have not yet found. After 9 months, I'm not going to try to recall any missing pieces. Some of the notes are still in the Spanish that we wrote down directly. Others we translated. All prices, where noted, are in US dollars. I will say that Buenos Aires is a food lover's paradise these days for folks using dollars. There are very talented chefs preparing a variety of foods of all kinds of styles and presentations. Naturally, the beef is the best in the world. Nothing comes close and don't even pretend it does! And if you think something comes close, I'd sooner take the $5, perfectly cooked cut from Argentina over the $50 or more cut elsewhere anyday. (All of our beef was cooked a punto.) Meals that would be $100 - 200 a head in NY can be had for $25 - 50 in Buenos Aires. All meals (particularly dinner) generally include appetizer, entree, dessert, a bottle of wine and a digestif. I've only been there twice now, so I may be incorrect with some locations/neighborhoods. Restaurant Central - Palermo Hollywood We had lunch. Not very busy. Open restaurant space with an open kitchen that you walk past as you enter. You can eat on couches along the back walls. Tables in the center. There's an outdoor courtyard with service too. Magazine racks on the walls. Help yourself. Funky unisex restrooms with the sinks in the corridor. Appetizers we ate: Arepa de Maiz Blanco con Salteado de Portobellos, tomates confit, cebollas caramelizadas y queso brie. Clasico seviche de langostinos con batata dulce sobre verdes. Mains: Salmon rosado sobre tartita dulce de choclo y panceta, puntas de esparrago y emulsion de cilantro. Tortelli de espinaca y ricotta con salsa suave de pomodoro. Postre: Torta tibia de chocolate con helado de crema. Chiquilin - San Nicolas, cor. Montevideo y Sarmiento Another lunch. We really liked this place. Seemed like a workhorse type restaurant. Did a little bit of everything and did so with care. Not much in the way of flair, but very competent. They recommended the beef and we didn't stray from that. Fantastic frites! Very nice, helpful servers, with an old world feel. Brick/red walls, natural wood and brass fittings. I had a half bottle of Vasco Viejo for $2.50. The Mrs. had a half bottle of Lopez Malbec for $5.00. We both liked the Lopez more. www.bodegaslopez.com.ar Meals came with a starter salad, and we each had a beef entree. I had the bife de ojo w/frites and the Mrs. had the bife de lomo. We were very happy with our selections. On the table were self-serve bowls of chimichurri that reminded me so much of the self-serve pickles you always used to get at any deli in NY. This was our first taste of chimichurri on the home turf and we loved it. Jalapenos, garlic, parsley and a little oregano all chopped fine and blended in oil. (Some general observations about Buenos Aires were placed in our notes here that I will indulge you with. We only saw one SUV, a Jeep Cherokee. On the radio, there were almost no ads. Chain restaurants were almost non-existent. They're there but not to any great degree. No smoking tables are in the worst locations of restaurants, never by a window either). Oviedo - Recoleta/Barrio Norte Dinner here at a Spanish (northern) restaurant. Seafood the speciality. White tablecloths. Again, another professional, old world style restaurant. Not particularly happy that they kind of bunch English speakers into the same area, but I can understand why. I think. My best guess is that there are only a limited number of servers that understand English so they need to put all of us with poor Spanish together. I found this got much better on my second trip, where I had improved on my Spanish before returning to BA. Starters: Grilled squid Empanada Gallega. The empanada was a bit expensive, considering the time and effort in creating it, but I don't think it was worth it. Mains: Hake Cod (Don't recall how they were prepared) Wine: Finca La Anita Chardonnay 2001 Dessert: Marquis de castano. Two slices of chestnut "cake" with cream. Il Matterello - La Boca Went here for lunch on a Sunday shortly before the Boca Juniors match. Arrived just in time, too as the place filled up shortly after we arrived. Reminiscent of many Italian restaurants, but I don't recall checkered tablecloths. Great pasta. Mains: Ravioli Genovesi al tuco. (carne de vaca, cerdo, pollo (yes a meatfest!) verdura, queso, hongos). $4.75 Lasagna bolognese. (ragu bolognese, salsa blanca, parmesano). $6.00 Wine: It was just some glasses of box wine, malbec Selk'nam. Nothing special, but good. Desserts: Della Nonna, crema pastelera de vainilla y chocolate. $3.25 Crostata con pera. $2.00 Excellent espresso and a glass of Sambuca for $1.65 Parilla 1880 - San Telmo This has become our absolute favorite restaurant in BA. We see no need to go to somewhere like Cabanas las Lilas for a beef-fest when 1880 puts out such excellent food, drink and service. This is THE place to go for your big steak meal. (Be careful with the salt shakers. There are many holes and it pours fast!) Starters: Chorizo-a snappy casing and big chunks of meat and fat. Not very spicy. Perfect texture. Empanadas - the meat mixed with egg and quite tasty. The dough crumbled like a pop-tart! Meat: My ojo de bife was as big as my head and cooked perfectly to a delicious medium rare. Hot, tremendously juicy, and incredibly flavorful. The Mrs. had the lomo de bife, which we referred to as the world's largest filet mignon. Quite lean and tender as expected, but packed a good bit of flavor too! We also had a huge plate of fritas. Crispy and great consistency. (This is where we learned of the salt shaker issue, because they needed some salt). Wine: Trumpeter Cabernet Sauvignon 2002. From the Rutini family of wines, this bottle is found easily in the US and costs here about $8.99. Dessert: Panqueque de manzana al rhum. Tasty apple pancake/crepe. Heavy on the rum! It could use a dollop of cream to balance it out. Flambeed at our table. Confiteria Ideal - Suipacha entre Sarmiento y Corrientes Stopped in for coffee as it was near our hotel. Ended up staying to eat because we got busy watching the tango dancers practicing on the first floor. Beautiful interior that is falling apart. Building is circa 1910. Tons of dark, original wood, brass fans on the walls, brass chandeliers and sconces. Huge mirrors. Peeling paint and ornate ceilings. Not touristy of faux in any way and a very interesting contrast to Cafe Tortoni. Stay for the atmosphere and the show, not the food. Olsen - Palermo Hollywood Scandinavian-inspired. Huge list of vodkas by the shot or bottle. We sat on a front deck at a candle-lit table. The whole place kind of reminded me of a ski chalet for some reason. Starter: 3+6 (tres mas seis) Smoked salmon, lump caviar, smoked trout and 6 corn pancakes with sour cream. $10.00 Mains: Paprika smoked trout w/parsley and lemon mash, soft egg, avocado, apple and almond crumble. $8.00. Smoked pork shoulder with pickled peaches, blue cheese and hazelnut sauce, brioche and grilled radicchio. This dish was really good. Loved the peaches. Wine: Rutini Malbec '03. Not a standout. Dessert: White chocolate creme brulee w/citrus and mint salad and carmelized pistachios. Rhubarb tart w/coconut ice cream. Dora - Retiro/Centro Another Spanish restaurant, but this one much less formal than Oviedo. An open floor with lots of long tables crowded with many families of all ages. As the servers leave the kitchen, they pass by a dude at a computer and they call out what dishes they are carrying to which table. The dude at the computer tracks it and that's how your check is calculated. We got a really good vibe in this place and really felt that we found a spot popular with local families. Starters: Chorizo - Excellent! Calamari Mains: Grilled cod in Basque sauce. Grilled trout w/garlic and parsley. Lomo. (yes, I had the beef, even though they're more known for their fish). Wine: Alfredo Catena, La Mision Malbec 2001 Chiquilin, again Dinner at Chiquilin this time. More beef. Two orders of Ojo de Bife and one of Lomo de Bife. Wine: 2002 Luigi Bosca Reserva Malbec. Sweet, yet bold. (?). www.luigibosca.com.ar. La Brigada - San Telmo branch There are several branches of La Brigada, and I believe the San Telmo one is the original. We went there only because we kept calling to Parilla 1880 and couldn't get them to answer the phone to make our reservation. So we thought we couldn't get there, so let's go somewhere else for another beef fix. We chose La Brigada, and while we liked it, it had nothing on 1880. Lots of regulars come here and you can see the love expressed upon them from the owner. Our server, while courteous, just seemed to be going through the motions with us and was not overly helpful and seemed slightly disinterested in us. A far cry from most other restaurants we enjoyed. The beef was indeed very good. Huge portions at excellent prices. I don't have more details, except our wine was Cadus Malbec 2000 ($60.00, seems high, but that's what the notes say!) (Some more observations tucked in the notes here, this time on wine. Can't recall exactly what it means but..... Las Ormigas/Reserva 2002. Try this one. Los Arboles Navarro Correas Cabernet Sauv/Malbec 2004. 2002, excellent year for Mendoza wine.) Parilla 1880, again They answered the phone and we got in! Our server was Miguel, who was the exact opposite of the server at La Brigada. Took his time with us and was truly helpful in putting up with my Spanish. He wanted us to have a great time. Starters: Chorizo Mixed green salad Mains Bife de Chorizo Lomo. Entrana. The Bife de Chorizo was the best choice and we all were jealous of its "owner." Clearly the best flavor of the bunch. My lomo was excellent still, and was perhaps the most tender steak I've ever encountered. Look at it just the right way and it cuts itself for you. The entrana came with a layer of tough fat/membrane that was hard to cut, but the meat itself was delicious. They offered to remove that layer for us to make it easier, but when it came back it was slightly overcooked. We didn't mind though. We had plenty of meat on our plates for us all to get stuffed. Wine: 2002 Luigi Bosca Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon. ($20.00) We went through at least two bottles of this! We went to Sucre twice, once on each trip, and we really liked it. Hip, funky and great food and drink. Trust the sommelier. I wish I could find my notes for it but I can't. If I do, I'll add it in. One other place to note, if you're heading towards Peninsula Valdes, here's a restaurant in Puerto Madryn worth mentioning. La Cheminee - Puerto Madryn, Chubut Tucked on a side street not far from the beach. Walk through a small entry garden to the door of what looks like a simple house. (It was dark when we got there). Starters: Langostinos grillee sobre blinis y crema acida. ($5.00) Ensalada del campo - tiras de ave, verdes, huevos pochee y panceta tostada. ($3.25) Mains: Grilled sea bass with 4 grilled scallops in the shell over carrot puree with julienned red pepper and zucchini. Seafood and vegetable lasagna. Wine: Half bottle of Valmont tinto blend. No dessert, we were too full, but the chocolate mousse with whiskey salsa sounded interesting. Can't wait to go back and eat more!