Day 428: Buenos Aires, Argentina
Puerta cerrada is very popular in Buenos Aires, essentially these closed doors involved eating at a private home at a communal table instead of a restaurant.
Often called underground restaurants in North America, there is a certain degree of food snobbery associated with it, particularly as some, such as Charlie’s Burgers in Toronto, ask you to apply with your foodie credentials to be considered fit enough to sit at the table.
I am not joking.
But here in Buenos Aires, the pretentious hipster ways are lost and all you need to do is make a reservation.
Jueves a la Mesa (Thursdays at the table)
A vegetarian dinner run by Meghan, a Colorado expat, who is not vegetarian but realizes the need for balance in a meat loving city.
I was there with other expats in the city and for $18 I had a generous salad, French onion soup, bean burger and homemade chocolate with fruit all accompanied by wine. It is a steal.
Chance highly recommended Cocina Sunae as it is one of the few that are regularly frequented by locals week after week. Christina, also known as Sunae, specializes in South East Asian fare.
We were in for a treat with a Filipino steamed pork bun, Thai shrimp salad, whole baked fish stuffed with lemongrass in a spicy-lime sauce and a Filipino rice cake in a coconut reduction for dessert. It was such a great contrast to all the heavy pizza/pasta/steak I have been eating.
The only thing that I didn’t love was that instead of a communal table, it is more like a restaurant with separate tables. Fortunately this time I was with Stephanie and Rease but I wouldn’t want to go alone.
The five course South Asian Feast is only $27 with the wine list starting at $9.
I attended the first dinner at Juanele an amazing art organization in Recoleta. The space is covered in street art and sets the mood for a fun night.
I was blown away by Chef Max’s meal of oyster with miso wakame dressing, octopus chorizo salad with balsamic reduction (lead photo), melon and cucumber gazpacho with scallop ceviche, star anise braised veal with fennel puree and the only brownie I have had in Buenos Aires that isn’t as dry as the Tierra Atacama desert.
Dinner runs for $32 or with five wine pairings for $47, the wine choices were great and well worth it.
The puerta cerradas have been some of the best meals in Buenos Aires and I recommend visiting at least one if you come to the city.