This may be the ultimate hotel breakfast of all hotel breakfasts. Because, attached to Hotel Clasico in Palermo Hollywood, is Möoi, a beautiful space, and the breakfast location for hotel guests. Here, you are presented with a full breakfast menu to order from, which is all included. That’s right. You order breakfast from the menu, and can mix and match different items. Amazing. On arrival, you receive a fresh cup of orange juice and a choice of tea or coffee – I always picked black tea, which was served in a delicate cast iron teapot, Japanese-style. My first food combination was the scrambled eggs and smoked salmon bagel. One thing about food here is that the portions are always huge, so clearly it was a mistake to get a two-part meal. The eggs were light, fluffy and cooked to perfection, to enjoy the maximum flavour. I particularly liked the addition of spring onion slices for extra bang. The bagel was fresh and dense, and of course the salmon was divine, although sadly I couldn’t eat more than a few mouthfuls. Luckily I stayed for a week so had plenty more chances to get it right!
Möoi, Costa Rica 5468, Buenos Aires 1414, Argentina, no website
The final of #parillaweek is a big one – be sure to include this on any BA itinerary! I’d heard that La Cabrera, one of the top parillas in BA, had a special deal for ‘early’ diners (i.e. tourists) where everything was 40% off the menu if you arrived at their ‘annex restaurant’ before 7pm. I was there on my last night in BA, and enjoyed said discount thoroughly. A plate shaped like a cow with complimentary olives and slices of a tasty terrine was brought out after ordering, and I treated myself to a glass of malbec to accompany the meal. My first dish was the half serve of mollejas grilladas (usually ARS $344), which came out with three glass dishes full of condiments – pickles and olives, yum! Drizzled with lemon, the large sweetbreads were beautifully tender and perfectly cooked. Yum. Next was the bife de chorizo (400g, usually ARS $375), which came with another round of condiments (including a side of corn cheese bake) and had two plump pieces of beef on the platter. Of course it was way too much food, but each mouthful was too delicious to stop – the beef was nicely seasoned, just on medium-rare and super tender. The whole experience (including Gotan Project background music) ticked all the BA stereotype boxes, including top notch food. Highly recommended.
La Cabrera (annex store), Cabrera 5099, Palermo Buenos Aires, Argentina, http://lacabrera.com.ar/
#parillaweek continues! Palermo is a foodie paradise, and on my first day in BA, I found what was one of my favourite restaurants of the whole trip – turns out it’s a favourite of my relatives there too! Parilla Miranda sits elegantly on a street corner, and is one of the few parillas with a sleek, modern interior. I had no idea about portion sizes, so ordered the mollejas (sweetbreads) as an entree – one of my favourite childhood treats. Oh. My. God. Firstly, the plate was HUGE, but secondly, they were by far the most delicious sweetbreads I’ve had in my life (sorry Dad). Slightly pan-seared to form a crust, and drizzled with fresh lemon, each creamy mouthful was heavenly. If you haven’t tried mollejas before, this serve would be a large but friendly introduction to this delicacy. Foolishly, I’d also ordered a main, a steak served with potatoes, roast capsicum with a baked egg inside, chimmichurri and a small salad. I was a long way from finishing it, but the beef was perfectly medium-rare, the capscium sweet and the potatoes rich. I dined here twice on my trip, and expect it will be my first stop should I be lucky enough to return. Go. Please, go.
Miranda, corner of Costa Rica y Fitz Roy, Palermo, Buenos Aires, http://parrillamiranda.com/
Happy 2017! In honour of friends moving to Argentina soon, it’s #parillaweek! What’s a parilla, I hear you ask? It’s an Argentine steakhouse, that’s what. So, here we go. Parilla Peña is billed as an authentic local steak experience, and it certainly lives up to that reputation. Staffed by all male waiters and with an unpretentious, giant grill by the door, I knew I was in for a treat. Of couse, I over-ordered for one, starting with a chorizo (ARS $40) and then picking the bife de chorizo (rump, ARS $220) as my main cut. Before my chorizo arrived, a cheese empanada was provided as a starter on the house, served cold. It was tasty, but I held back from that (and the bread) to save room for the main event. The chorizo was lovely, although not the best I’d have in BA, but the bife de chorizo was utterly divine. It was huge (larger than my hand), and cooked to perfection with the red blush of a true medium-rare steak. The meat just melted in my mouth, tender and so full of flavour you can’t even imagine. I did end up cutting off a fair amount of fat, but the portion was so large I left about a quarter uneaten (not for want of trying). I couldn’t believe the value – such a top quality steak for roughly AUD $20?! Unimaginable in Australia.
Pena, Rodríguez Pena 682, 1020 CABA, Argentina, http://www.parrillapenia.url.ph/
If the Lonely Planet recommendation wasn’t enough, I would have happily fallen in love with the quaint interior of Sur Patagonico, with its beautiful wood beams and glass bottles. My waiter was a former English teacher who happily recommended the mushroom risotto, which I ordered without hesitation. The dish was (as most dishes are here) huge, but oh my. Everything about this risotto was perfect. The rice had just the right texture, and the stock had clearly been house-made, without being too salty. There were several different types of mushrooms (I didn’t get a chance to count them, I ate them too quickly) that enriched the earthy flavours of the dish – somehow, the mushrooms remained plump and juicy. The cheese melted in perfectly and basically I just sat there in foodie paradise. I was even convinced to have a fresh ginger and lemon tea afterwards, to help with digestion, of course. I went at lunchtime, and it was relatively quiet, but the outdoor seats are popular at dinner and so too, I hear, is their Patagonian lamb. Definitely one of my top tips for Santiago.
Sur Patagonico, José Victorino Lastarria 92-96, Barrio Lastarria, Santiago, Chile, no website.
Ok, so one does not go to Argentina to eat Scandinavian food, but when the space is as lovely as Ølsen’s, I couldn’t not. The long block of land is elegantly presented, with garden walls either side drawing your eye to the vast glass frontage. I ordered from the set lunch menu (ARS 170), opting for the pumpkin soup with apple confit to start and grilled fish with potato, saffron and an olive tapenade for the main. To start, the waiter brought a stack of three huge bagels (I managed to nibble at one), before my pumpkin soup arrived. This is literally the best pumpkin soup I’ve ever had – the sweet confit apple added so much to the rich, creamy soup that I’m going to try making this at home. Yum, yum, yum. The main was huge too, with a large fillet (unfortunately I couldn’t determine what sort of fish it was) of tender, flakey fish (perhaps slightly overdone). I found the tapenade a bit strong for the other delicate flavours, but the potatoes were every foodie’s dream. Surely double or triple fried, with perfectly crisp skins and fluffy, soft insides, they were heavy but super tasty – I definitely over-ate, and would come back in a heartbeat for more of that soup.
Ølsen, Gorriti 5870 Palermo Buenos Aires, Argentina, no website
Ok, so this isn’t the first place you think of when you think South America, but my flight to Buenos Aires left from a nearby gate, and a girl’s gotta eat. Just like at icecream stores, here you pay for your order first, and then move over to make your flavour selection. I opted for a traditional strawberry iced doughnut, complete with sprinkles on top. Yes, the doughnut grease oozed through the paper bag a bit as I took it onto the flight. Yes, there are probably more calories in that thing than in the other three meals of my day. But oh man, sometimes a doughnut is actually the best thing. The icing was very sweet, with a not-overly artificial, but not-overly authentic, strawberry flavour, and the sprinkles were a fun addition on top. The doughnut itself was delicious, with a springy dough that was beautifully aerated inside and had that perfect doughnut flavour. I don’t want to overcomplicate this – it was what you would expect from a chain-store doughnut, and it was delicious (and kept me awake on my flight). Job done.
Dunkin Donuts, Aeropuerto Internacional Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez, Av. Armando Cortínez Norte, Santiago