Yes, I went to Buenos Aires!

Eating Out

If you follow me on twitter or Facebook, you’ll know that I recently traveled to Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo.  While I literally saw the inside of my hotel for almost all of my Sao Paulo stint, I had a good 48 hours in Buenos Aires!  How much can a girl see in 48 hours with a point-and-shoot? Well, follow along!

I arrived late-afternoon and was STARVING.  I already had received a great suggestion on a meat-ful dinner, which I was saving for the next day, but for that evening I needed something quick and easy.  It might seem a little strange to travel from NYC all the way to Argentina and have pizza of all things – but El Cuartito came highly regarded!

El Cuartito was established in 1934 and is an example of much of the Italian influence that peppers Buenos Aires (fun fact – did you know that even some words are prounounced slightly differently in Argentina than in other Spanish-speaking countries, also due to the Italian influence starting in the mid-19th century? Now you know.)  The specialty of the restaurant was its fugazetta pizza – a white onion and cheese pizza on a thick crust – so of course I had to partake!  I also ordered a spicy meat empanada to go along with it. You know, balanced meal and all.

I was a little wary of the doughy crust – the NYC slices I’m used to favor a more svelte physique.  However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the pillowy soft crust was the perfect counterpoint to the rich cheese and slightly caramelized onions.  Amazing!  The empanada was also unbeatable hot out of the oven – crispy, light and flavorful.  The slice + empanada + soda cost me a whopping $6! Win!

And of course I couldn’t go back to my hotel room without some dessert for later:

Who wants an alfajor y flan? Me, please!

Of course, in dire straights I would have still been okay – as I realized that my hotel room looked into a candy store. It’s like my dream!!

Breakfast the next day was early and at the hotel – I am a girl with work to do, after all!  Unlike some disappointing complimentary hotel breakfasts, this one didn’t disappoint.  Featuring the strongest coffee known to man, flaky buttery croissants, and oh my is that a churro I see?  Better get a big dollop of dulce de leche to go with it – or two dollops, or three…..

By this point I was thoroughly ensconced in my sugar high and had to walk it off a bit.  I participated in a free city tour (which was awesome, totally recommend it!) during which I learned of several government buildings and theaters that were beautiful but for the life of me, I can’t remember their names.  I blame it on the dulce de leche.

It was then time for….my MEATY LUNCH!

For my meaty lunch, I headed to La Cabrera:

La Cabrera was recommended to me not only by my coworker, but one of my good friends whose husband is Argentinian – so I knew it had to be good!  The wait can be outrageous for dinner, but I was all by my lonesome for lunch and was seated right away.  I was glad they prepared me for my lunch full-o-meat:

Hrmmm, do you think that knife is big enough?

I ordered the set lunch menu, which included an appetizer, entree and dessert.  For the appetizer, city gal that I am, I expected something along the lines of a side salad.  Imagine my unbridled delight when instead a huge hunk-o-chorizo was plopped in front of me:

Can I just say how much I love chorizo? A lot. I love it a lot.  The chimichurri wasn’t too shabby either…

After I finished the chorizo (it’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it), I ducked back into my lunch date – a mediocre novel that was the only book in English I could find at the used bookstore.  I helped myself to some bread and butter – do you think they gave enough butter? I’m not sure….

And then the main course was ready!  Let’s start with the steak, ok?  First of all – that’s two pieces of steak.  Granted, the second piece isn’t obscenely hefty, but 2 pieces + chorizo… man, I’m glad I wore my stretchy pants!  The steak came with 3 dipping sauces, which I wanted to capture in their full glory:

As well as a close-up of the steak.  And the steak #2.

But wait, there’s more.  Apparently I snapped my photo prematurely.  Out came the sides – stewed squash, corn with bacon, mashed potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, and apple sauce.  So of course I had to take another photo.

Just the sides:

Oh but wait there’s even more!

At this point I was digging into steak #1, when a waiter came by with literally a smorgasbord of small bites. Like, a board. Full of smorgas (where smorags = small bites).  I picked three (I think he was disappointed that I didn’t choose more) – a caprese salad, baby corn, and what he described as lemon mousse, which I thought would be a wonderful sweet and tangy palate cleanser.  Turns out it wasn’t sweet at all but plenty tangy! Not unpleasant, but totally caught me off guard.

At this point, I was starting to slow down a bit from meat overload and carb coma.  The steak was SO juicy and tender though that I just couldn’t stop myself. Yep, I ate the whole thing.  Don’t judge, you know you would too. With gusto!

I was now ready for dessert – I had a choice of flan or ice cream.  As you know, I had flan as my midnight snack the night before AND I heard that ice cream in Argentina was awesome. So I went with the ice cream. I was expecting a tiny scoop and instead ended up with….a hulking scoop:

That scoop of ice cream was about the size of a grapefruit.  But it has macerated berries on top, so it’s healthy right? 😉

The bill was presented to me along with a lollipop tree, as I believe all bills should be presented:

What was the damage? With tax and tip: $21.76.  Yes, you read that correctly.  A three course meal, including a ginormous steak – for $21.76.  I think that’s about the price of 2 sides at a NYC steakhouse.

And just to ensure I knew my steak anatomy:

La Cabrera had delicious food at unbeatable price – if you’re ever in BA, definitely definitely check it out!

Of course, in between meals I did a bit of strolling and sight-seeing:

Apparently the red telephone booths are popular here too!

I visited a popular (warranted) tourist attraction – the Recoleta Cemetery, where Eva Peron is buried.  First I visited the church, and did a self-guided tour:

Ever wonder how cats got in and out of the living quarters of Franciscan monks? Well, wonder no longer:

Said hole for cats:

The cemetery itself was quite interesting – this is the final resting place of Buenos Aires’ wealthiest and most powerful.  The tombs themselves were ornately sculpted and massive.  Supposedly, lots can be priced in the millions.


The tomb of Evita was adorned with flowers and bouquets.  Did you know that she was allegedly considered by some to be too “low class” to be buried in the Recoleta Cemetery? Or that her coffin is secured under multiple trap doors and compartments?

Alas, my time in Buenos Aires was quickly winding down.  I walked back to my hotel, but not before picking up some souvenir snacks for my coworkers:

Have you had alfajores before? Deeelish!  There are numerous varieties, but my favorite is 2 cookies with dulce de leche sandwiched in between and then covered in chocolate. Awesomeness.

My time in Buenos Aires was brief but delicious and fascinating.  I hope to have the opportunity to return sometime soon!

Have you been to Buenos Aires before?  What are your best tips for eating or sightseeing solo?

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  • Reply
    October 27, 2011 at 11:39 am

    This post made me SO hungry and I’m not even a steak eater! Thanks for sharing AND can you pretty please send me some of those cookies? YUM.

  • Reply
    Jessica T
    October 27, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    That steak lunch sounds AMAZING. You got a ton of food for that price!

  • Reply
    October 27, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    My husband and I want to plan a trip here soon. When we go, we’ll definitely have to check out that restaurant. Everything looked delicious. And SO cheap!

  • Reply
    October 27, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    AMAZING! and cheap. Love the chorizo the most. I want some now…

  • Reply
    October 27, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Wow, that meal looks SO delicious. I can’t believe all that was only ~$20! I especially want to try the ice cream… The cemetery looks beautiful, as weird as it sounds to say that. Sounds like a great (though short!) trip to Buenos Aires!

    • Reply
      October 28, 2011 at 2:17 pm

      Yes, the cemetery was quite beautiful in its own way!

  • Reply
    October 27, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    So fun! I’ve heard amazing things about Argentina and would love to visit some day. There is a huge European presence there. I think a lot of Germans settled in Argentina after WWII. Did you see the Casa Rosada? I was obsessed with Eva Peron for a long time in high school.

    Also, the food looks amazing! Argentina is supposed to have the best steaks ever. Looks like it did not disappoint 🙂

    • Reply
      October 28, 2011 at 2:20 pm

      Yes, I did see the Casa Rosada!! And the steak (and the rest of the food) was great – if I lived there, I’d have steak much more often!

  • Reply
    October 27, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    Wow, that all looks amazing!

  • Reply
    October 27, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    Oh man. That meat lunch is killing me. I suddenly feel iron deficient and in dire need of meaty sustenance. Thank you for “bringing” us along with you! Loved it!

  • Reply
    October 27, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    Pack me in your suitcase next time, that looks amaaazing! Flan..mmmm

  • Reply
    October 27, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    Wow, you had quite the foodie trip! That photo of the lollipop and cow diagram made me LOL. And dulce deleche plus a churro? YUM. Glad you had fun!

  • Reply
    October 27, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Those could be mice holes too, or maybe squirrel holes – not such a great idea.

    Lots of great little bowls of food there, makes for a very interesting meal.

  • Reply
    October 27, 2011 at 10:31 pm

    Wow, what a price for that meal of yours!! I really like the touch of the lollipop tree with the bill.

  • Reply
    October 28, 2011 at 1:10 am

    so glad you enjoyed your time there! i want to go back to BA, like now, for all the food, yum!

  • Reply
    October 28, 2011 at 9:32 am

    I can’t believe that lunch! I’ve always wanted to go to BA – it looks so pretty! and what a cute cat hole. Although, why doesn’t it have points at the top for their ears to go thru?

    • Reply
      October 28, 2011 at 2:23 pm

      Very good point! Poor cat ears…

  • Reply
    Chic 'n Cheap Living
    October 28, 2011 at 10:56 am

    Whoa la cabrera looks delicious! This will definitely be on my list when I visit some day!

    Chic ‘n Cheap Living

  • Reply
    October 29, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    I am so jealous! I’m dying to go to Buenos Aires.
    All that food is mouthwatering… esp. the breakfast. Gotta love a place that serves dollops of dulce de leche… and that considers the cat population when constructing doors.

    Great blog, by the way!

  • Reply
    November 8, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    I was in Buenos Aires around that time too!! I should have check twitter It would have been super cool to meet up there =]

    • Reply
      November 9, 2011 at 10:38 am

      Oh, Joy – that would have been so fun!!

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