When in Argentina, eat STEAK and more STEAK
Argentina is well known for their wines and meats so being in Buenos Aires for a few days met we had to take full advantage which met eating steak dinners 3 nights in a row, putting a huge dent in my wallet. We got recommendations from a friend who was living in BA for about 6 months so here are my reviews and ratings of all 3 places:
~$35 - $40 | Thames 2317
This was probably my favorite place of all three. I love that it’s modern take on the traditional steak restaurants with the same meat quality. It seats only about 25 - 30 people during two dinner sessions, 8:30pm and 10:30pm, so if you want a spot you should reserve it a few days in advance. All the staff spoke decent English so you shouldn’t have any trouble making a reservation or ordering. I personally walked there to make a reservation for two days in advance because we tried calling multiple times and they never picked up. *Warning: all of their meats are HUGE, like GINORMOUS, so come very hungry or prepare to leave with at least half your meal in a takeaway box.
What we ordered:
- Sweetbread (Molleja): This isn’t what it sounds like, unless you already know what it is because doesn’t it sound like a big fluffy loaf of sweet bread, aka bread that’s sweet like a Hawaiian Sweet Bread? Okay if you thought that then you’re not alone because that was the image that came to mind but it’s a bit, or rather quite different. Don’t be grossed out by the description because it is BEYOND DELICIOUS and a MUST TRY: Pancreas with a sweet and savory marinate on top of a dense bread with a caramel like sauce.
- Smoked Cut (Corte Ahumado): This is meat that has been in the smoker for about 18 - 20 hours so the meat just fell off the bone. It comes with a bit of cauliflower, mushrooms, and some sort of puree (I couldn’t quite make out what it was). The meat is a bit too salty to eat on its own but a bit of meat with the puree was heavenly!
- Parrilla (Corte Parrilla): This was a huge slab of meat with so much flavor and juiciness you won’t believe you’ve been missing out on this your entire life. It’s served with pumpkin puree and potatoes.
- Gin & Tonics: You normally pair steak with red wine but since this is a modern establishment, we went the unconventional route and ordered the Gin & Tonics. They paired pretty nicely together actually! We tried both but I much more preferred the one with cucumbers.
- Leche Asada: This is a flan like dessert, but more on the denser side. It complemented the meaty, salty meal but it wasn’t anything spectacular.
~ $20 | Fitz Roy 1795
The cheapest of all three places! You get the most bang for your buck here. It’s a pretty casual setting and a great place to go with a big group or by yourself, it’s acceptable too no judgement here. I don’t think you can make reservations ahead of time. The wait is about 45 minutes to an hour or more. I would say if you are not keen to waiting that long, come before 8pm or after 10:30pm, you’ll miss the dinner rush and shouldn’t have any trouble getting a table right away. We were a party of 3 and shared everything.
What we ordered:
- Fried Cheese (Provoleta): We were recommended this a starter. I’m lactose intolerant but I love cheese so I couldn’t resist. It was really good but how can fried cheese not be? The portion was pretty small for 3 people to share so I couldn’t order this again.
- Mixed Meat Plate (Parrillada): This is everything type of meat they had to offer from sausages to rib eyes and intestines. Our server told us this would be plenty for three people but we were a bit skeptical. However, it was actually a lot of food, we could have used a four person to help us finish. The meats were all really good except for the blood sausage, I’m not a huge fan so a few things stayed untouched, which was a shame. It came with a huge plate of french fries too!
- Mixed Veggie Plate (Parrillada Vegetariana): This is a must if you will be eating all of that meat. They gave us a good mix of potatoes, yams, mushrooms, zucchinis, tomatoes, onions, etc.
- House Red Wine: They had a bottle for about 95 pesos, the cheapest of all three places, and it was quite delicious. We ordered 2 bottles!
- The Parrillada was delicious and it was a good plate to share with a group but if I were to come back I would order the “Melhor Bife de Chorizo” because all the sides that comes with the meat looked delicious - rice, fries with a fried egg on top, pumpkin puree, onions and other veggies.
~ $35 - 40 | Guatemala 4699
This is your typical snobby steakhouse but the steak did live up to the standard so I guess they’re allowed to be? It’s a bit of a tourist trap but still worth the trip in my opinion. You don’t get much for what you pay for so of the three, this would be the most expensive. They don’t take same day reservations so you should book ahead of time if you don’t want to wait 45 minutes to 1.5 hours. I went on a Wednesday night and it was packed, herds of people who hangout in front waiting for a table. The nice touch is that you get served champaign while you wait, can’t complain about that. We put our names down at around 7:15pm and didn’t get seated until about 8:30pm. Our service was subpar, she seemed too overwhelmed so therefore unfriendly, or maybe that’s just how she is.
What we ordered:
- Mixed Veggie Plate (Parrillada Vegetariana): Our meat dishes didn’t come with anything so we needed some sides to accompany it. For more expensive, this parrillada was probably a third of the one at Las Cabras.
- Rib Eye Steak (Ojo de Bife) & Thick Sirloin Steak (Bife de Chorizo): Both pieces of meat had a ton of flavor and we understood why this place was so popular. However, they tend to overcook their meats so if you want it to be medium rare, you should ask for rare and then have them cook a bit more if it’s too bloody when it comes out. Mine was heading towards the medium said so I told my server and she made a big fuss. However, if I’m going to be paying this much for a meal, it’s going to be perfect.
- Malbec Red Wine: The cheapest bottle was quite expensive, more than double the price of the one at Las Cabras but you gotta do what you gotta do. It was really good though! You could definitely taste the difference between two types of wines.