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RW was a brilliant writer, but I wouldn't have taken his recommendation for a place to eat if you'd paid me... well, if you'd paid me I guess I'd at least have tried it. Your statement, despite the fact that it just extends this now well beaten dead horse, makes me curious why you think a place having a "reputation in the United States" makes it true? We're all well aware of its reputation, but hype and reality are very different things.

We'll just hope that you'll see the world of parrillas differently after trying some of our recommendations next time you're here.

Edited by saltshaker (log)

SaltShaker - Casting a little flavor (and a few aspersions) on the world of food, drink, and life

Casa SaltShaker - Restaurant de Puertas Cerradas

Spanish-English-Spanish Food & Wine Dictionary - a must for any traveler!

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What I tried to say, by that parenthetical at the end of my post, is that I don't think having a great reputation in the U.S. makes it true. I just wanted to convey to you guys that this great reputation exists. I think it's interesting the way differences often arise between local and foreign perceptions of places. I can think of lots of places here in New York that have great foreign reputations -- visiters flock to them -- but that people here either think are past their prime or were never that good to begin with.

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Interestingly, a friend of mine is in visiting this week and offered to take me out to dinner at Las Lilas, as he'd ready the RW Apple piece as well. I told him my thoughts, and we popped onto Guia Oleo, the local restaurant review site (www.guiaoleo.com.ar). I'd never looked up how Las Lilas was placed (the ratings, like a Zagat's guide, are based on consumer votes) - it came in 20 out of 30 points on food... 133rd position out of 311 parrillas reviewed!

Anyway, we're off to Don Julio tonight... La Cabrera was full... such is life.

SaltShaker - Casting a little flavor (and a few aspersions) on the world of food, drink, and life

Casa SaltShaker - Restaurant de Puertas Cerradas

Spanish-English-Spanish Food & Wine Dictionary - a must for any traveler!

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And it's not just the R.W. Apple article, either.

I don't think I've seen a single U.S. article or other publication about eating in BA in the last four or five years that didn't single out Cabana Las Lilas as being currently the best steakhouse.

(I hope by now it's clear that I'm not saying this to prove that U.S. opinions are "right", but just to show you how misguided people here may be about this.) (And I use the term "misguided" advisably -- U.S. visitors are being sent to Las Lilas, and by sources that are usually considered reliable.) (I think this shows how, if you don't live somewhere, you really can't judge the restaurants there reliably.)

I've got to get back to BA.

Edited by Sneakeater (log)
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My guess is that these "reliable sources" are probably being guided by some sort of tourism promoting agency, by Las Lilas itself, or more likely, simply following the herd because of the reputation. I know more than one article that's been written about Buenos Aires and it's "scene", dining and otherwise, by writers who haven't even been here, or have only been for a weekend or so. It's one of the problems with "journalism" these days, even of the travel variety - most papers, magazines, even t.v. networks, etc., no longer have the finances to keep "our man in Buenos Aires" or "Havana", or wherever that they used to, and they rely on things like press releases and/or very quick visits that have pre-planned agendas. That's why the few who do, like, say CNN, dominate the international coverage. Even locally here it's a tough thing - the major (and U.S. owned) English language paper's food & wine writer has a lifetime contract, has been with the paper I think since Buenos Aires was founded, often just repeats reviews he's already written in the past - he's even published reviews stating upfront that he's never visited a particular place, but is relying on "the chef's word"... recently he published a review of a place that closed over ten years ago...

SaltShaker - Casting a little flavor (and a few aspersions) on the world of food, drink, and life

Casa SaltShaker - Restaurant de Puertas Cerradas

Spanish-English-Spanish Food & Wine Dictionary - a must for any traveler!

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Nope, dinner only, 7 days a week, and they don't open until 9 p.m. - by the way, you can look up the hours and such on www.guiaoleo.com.ar for most major restaurants in the city.

SaltShaker - Casting a little flavor (and a few aspersions) on the world of food, drink, and life

Casa SaltShaker - Restaurant de Puertas Cerradas

Spanish-English-Spanish Food & Wine Dictionary - a must for any traveler!

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In general, people don't make reservations anywhere particularly far in advance, but I'd agree that for New Year's Eve, I would go for an advance notice - as Jenny said, they might not even be open, or, they might be having one set seating time with some sort of midnight celebration, and 9 might not be an option.

SaltShaker - Casting a little flavor (and a few aspersions) on the world of food, drink, and life

Casa SaltShaker - Restaurant de Puertas Cerradas

Spanish-English-Spanish Food & Wine Dictionary - a must for any traveler!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I hope I'm not too late before your Christmas/New Year's trip to Buenos Aires.

Here's an October 2006 article from Departures magazine (American Express membership may be required): Steak Heaven by Reggie Nadelson.

"It's a love affair here," says Francis Mallmann, Argentina's most famous and perhaps best chef. "The other day I was driving my jeep in Patagonia and I came across the most handsome bull. I opened my window and groaned as thick and deep as I could—he looked at me and answered back and I wanted to hug him, and I missed him for days! What health he had! Bright eyes. Two thousand pounds of happiness, dark as the night."

At the end of the article is a list of eight restaurants in Buenos Aires with their website addresses (except for one):

Bar Uriarte

Dinner, $40. 1572 Uriarte, Palermo Viejo; 54-11/4834-6004; baruriarte.com.ar

La Brigada

Dinner, $30. 465 Estados Unidos, San Telmo; 54-11/ 4361-5557; labrigada.com

La Cabana

Dinner, $100. 1967 Rodríguez Peña, Recoleta; 54-11/ 4814-0001; lacabanabuenosaires.com.ar

Casa Cruz

Dinner, $65. 1658 Uriarte, Palermo Viejo; 54-11/4833-1112; casa-cruz.com

La Dorita

Dinner, $20. 1905 Humboldt, Palermo Hollywood; 54-11/4773-0070; parrillaladorita.com.ar

El Obrero

Dinner, $15. 64 Agustín R. Caffarena, La Boca; 54-11/4362-9912

Patagonia Sur

Dinner, $100. 801 Rocha, La Boca; 54-11/4303-5917; restaurantepatagoniasur.com

Restaurante Cabana Las Lilas

Dinner, $60. 516 Avda. Alicia Moreau de Justo, Puerto Madero; 54-11/4313-1336; laslilas.com

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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Further beating that dead cow, I have to point out what restaurant appears at the bottom of that list.

Sneakeater, if you keep beating that dead cow, you might as well make steak tartare. :raz:

BTW, do you mean this restaurant:

I'd like to report that I ate the best beef in Buenos Aires in a bare-bones hole in the wall no one else has ever heard of; the truth is, the best I've ever eaten is at Restaurante Cabaña Las Lilas ...

That's from the article. I didn't make it up.

(Again, not to argue that foreign opinion is correct, but just to show you Portenos [can't do a tilda on my keyboard] what advice we foreigners are being fed.)

Here's your tilda, hombre: ... urban guy, a porteño, ...

Edited to add: ... porteños—these people of the port ...

Edited by rjwong (log)

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

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BTW, do you mean this restaurant:
I'd like to report that I ate the best beef in Buenos Aires in a bare-bones hole in the wall no one else has ever heard of; the truth is, the best I've ever eaten is at Restaurante Cabaña Las Lilas ...

That's from the article. I didn't make it up.

HEY HEY SEE THAT SALTSHAKER?!

(Thinks for the tilda, rj.)

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Nothing says this guy has any taste...or, that he even dined anywhere besides whatever places he was sent to cover - most journalists from magazines like Departures are given an assignment of what to review, they're not left to their own devices to randomly sample all over the place.

I just got a call yesterday afternoon from a couple from New York who travel all over the world eating at the top restaurants in the world. Las Lilas was top of their list and they headed there on their first evening in town. They called me to ask if I could recommend a place where the steak was edible, since the ones they were presented with at Las Lilas weren't, and they hated the "Disney-esque" imitation of a steakhouse ambiance.

Haven't we beaten this one enough? Anyone's welcome to go to Las Lilas all they want, and to believe their publicity releases all they want. If one day you feel like having a really good steak, maybe it'd be worth trying somewhere else.

SaltShaker - Casting a little flavor (and a few aspersions) on the world of food, drink, and life

Casa SaltShaker - Restaurant de Puertas Cerradas

Spanish-English-Spanish Food & Wine Dictionary - a must for any traveler!

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Salute! I am coming rather late to this discussion, having planned a last minute trip to Patagonia with my husband to meet up with our backpacking daughter.

We'll meet in Buenos Aires on Dec. 31 and was wondering whether we could just wander around looking for a parilla or we would have to book a table at a big New year's Eve dinner(I try to avoid the latter but then I'm not really upbeat on New Year;s anyway). I had to laugh when I read this thread because Las Cabanas des Lilas merits a chapter in the "1001 Things to Do Before You Die" book, but it also was recommended as 'my favorite restaurant" by a young woman who works in the hair salon I go to in Santa Cruz, CA. In any event, I would welcome any suggestions anyone has on how to enjoy the night in Buenos Aires, including a good steak and considering the neighborhood location for the most local "flavor"

Roz

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Roz, My wife and I are in a hiking/running group doing a trip from December 16-Jan 1. we will be in Glacier, Torres del Paine, Tierra del Fuego etc.

We are also probably are going to split from the group for our last few days including New years.

Here is our trip

http://www.andesadventures.com/run4.htm

RR

Edited by RRainey (log)
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Wow, I looked at your tour and am very impressed that you are running in these places! I have a knee problem and just hope that I can hike to some of the amazing places we will be at. Your company is an extremely good deal, too- I can't believe the price you are paying. We are going with Tucan Travel from Bariloche to Ushuaia on the apparently very popular path. We have had to buy international and domestic airfare ourselves and pay for transfers and most meals, as well as our 3 nights in Buenos Aires. I wish I had known about the company from Santa Monica you are using. In any event, we may not have had much choice, having just signed up for our trip Nov. 28

We arrive Dec. 31 and thus are trying to decide where to eat on New Year's Eve, as well as 2 nights at the end of our tour, Jan 17 and 18.I have looked up all the restaurants mentioned iin this egullet thread using www.guiaoleo.com.ar/detail.php?ID= and filling in the numbers of the individual restaurants. As usual, it is interesting reading in Spanish the variation in customer ratings for food, service, ambiance, etc. One thing this egullet thread has done is steered me away from high end places like Las Cabanas las Lilas and Patagonia Sur. I am leaning toward Don Julio or El Trapiche in San Telmo versus Parilla 1880 in Palermo for New Year's Eve, based on ratings and where might be a good neighborhood for New Year's. I wish I could ask a Porteno how New Year's is celebrated in Buenos Aires. Of course, since we will have been up for 48 hours after the international flight from San Francisco via Houston, I don't know how long we'll last!

Have a great trip and maybe we'll run into each other!

Buon viaggio

Roz

Edited by rshorens (log)
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Roz,

The one thing you're going to find is that alot of our restaurants are simply closed on New Year's Eve. The fancier places, the hotel restaurants, those sort of things will be open, but many neighborhood, more casual, and more... umm... authentic for lack of a better word, places will be closed for the evening - actually, many close from xmas on into January. I'd venture to guess off that list you laid out that Don Julio and 1880 will be open, but perhaps not. Also many places will have a set seating time for the evening along with some sort of festivity. In terms of local celebration - alot of locals leave town around xmas time and are gone for good portions of January - it's the big vacation and business closing time. Strangely, it's also the height of tourist season - but you'll find yourself running into more tourists than locals... well maybe not quite, but the ratio definitely is noticeably different!

Your best bet is probably to contact your hotel, give them a list of a few places you might like to try, and see if they can arrange it for you in advance.

SE - Serendipity might be the most expensive place to have dessert in NYC, don't know if I'd put it as the best! But then, I'm not a big dessert person anyway.

Edited by saltshaker (log)

SaltShaker - Casting a little flavor (and a few aspersions) on the world of food, drink, and life

Casa SaltShaker - Restaurant de Puertas Cerradas

Spanish-English-Spanish Food & Wine Dictionary - a must for any traveler!

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"Your best bet is probably to contact your hotel, give them a list of a few places you might like to try, and see if they can arrange it for you in advance."

Sounds like a good plan-thanks! At least I'll be back on Jan 17-19 and hopefully more places will be open then

Roz

Edited by rshorens (log)
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