La Francisca Deli

February 5, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Charming deli in Palermo Soho

La Francisca - Feria de Campo

Palermo hosts a bevy of restaurants, but few sandwich spots. For the shopping crowd, it may appear difficult to find a quick, tasty bite to eat to fuel your feet to the next boutique while you lug your mounting collection of bags. Plus, you may want to save your budget for the next store and not indulge in a time-consuming lunch.

Near the corner of Malabia and Niceto Vega, a small, colorfully decorated window welcome sandwich-lovers to one of the newest, and best kept, secrets in Palermo. La Francisca looks like a typical fiambreria, offering typical cuts of cured meats and fine cheeses. As you may see, La Francisca’s sandwiches make it more of a sandwicheria – real word in Spanish – than a meat and cheese store.

Opened about two years ago, La Francisca is run by a quartet of lovely ladies, who like to practice their English! Last time I went, I tried ordering in Spanish but they kept replying in broken English. I caved and reverted back to English.

Welcome to La Francisca deli!

A great sandwich spot for shoppers

When I mentioned I was from New York, they suggested I try their hot pastrami sandwich. Yes! Finally, I found hot pastrami in Buenos Aires. Although they made comparisons to Katz’s delicatessen in New York, which offers arguably the best pastrami sandwich in the world, this sandwich was quite different. But not in a bad way. In hindsight, I realized I didn’t want a gigantic, melted-cheese sandwich that would leave me bloated the rest of the day. La Francisca’s pastrami was wonderful, included all the same ingredients of a regular pastrami sandwich, didn’t overwhelm and put a smile on my face for my walk home.

A great sandwich in Palermo Soho, Buenos Aires

Despite the small space, any visitor can immediately see that the owners have packed plenty of character into the place. If you have to wait, there is a huge red lounge chair next to the cashier. They sell an artesanal (microbrew) beer brand “Boj,” along with a small, but good collection of wines. Several high-quality jams, sauces and spices dot the shelves on the walls too. The price tags and descriptions are hand written. An outdoor bench lets patrons enjoy sunshine while nibbling on a mid-day sandwich.

The sandwiches are about a foot long, and there’s plenty of options. My favorite is their proscuitto (jamon crudo), brie, dried tomatoes (soaked in olive oil) and arugula on a French baguette. Other sandwiches include salami, ham, pancetta and other cured meats. La Francisca also has vegetarian options, such as their eggplant-tomato-arugula sandwich. Each delectable item is prepared well, and isn’t sloppy or greasy. The owners also seem unaware of their lucrative location in Palermo Soho because the menu is very reasonably priced – a foreign concept to a boutique-filled neighborhood.

Although La Francisca’s sandwiches make it my go-to lunch place, the service almost outdoes the food. The ladies always make me feel welcome. I always find some new detail inside – old golf clubs, a dusty guitar – that add to its abundance of charm. La Francisca is a classic, local deli with Argentine character.

Al fresco lunch at La Francisca, Palermo Soho

Where is La Francisca?

La Francisca, Niceto Vega 4712 (near the corner with Malabia), Palermo Soho

Telephone: 4771-0172; La Francisca Facebook Page

Open Mondays to Saturdays, 11am to 8pm

Buenos Aires Zoo

November 22, 2007 by · 10 Comments 

It’s all happening at the zoo…

Elephants at Buenos Aires Zoo

The Buenos Aires Zoo is spectacularly charming for anyone with an afternoon to spare. Located in the heart of Palermo off the Plaza Italia subway stop, the zoo spans the distance between Avenidas Las Heras and Libertador. Home to over 350 species and known for some of its exotic breeding, the zoo is the perfect place for families, a romantic date or an afternoon alone.

On sunny weekends this attraction is packed full of children, which isn’t always entirely different from the weekdays, when many school field trips attend. Nevertheless, the best time to visit the zoo is on a sunny weekday afternoon, when you can lounge in front of the white tiger enclosure or elephant house with few others peering over your shoulder.
Feeding time at the Buenos Aires Zoo

Buenos Aires Zoo details

The zoo’s entrance is located on the corner of Avenida Las Heras and Avenida Sarmiento. Cost varies depending on what you want to see and how much you want to spend. General Admission (Entrada General) gives you access to most of the zoo. However, there are several exhibits requiring the more advanced pass (Pasaporte), which gives you access to exhibits such as the Aquarium, Reptiles and Rainforest, as well as the ‘Dragon House’ and a boat ride on the lagoon.

The General pass shouldn’t be overlooked however, as the majority of the zoo is indeed found within the General layout. Meanwhile, the Aquarium has penguins with both fresh and saltwater fish (including piranhas) in large tanks and the reptile area is eerily captivating (especially for the boys). However, if after purchasing the general pass and you find yourself thinking that the Rainforest exhibit looks too good to pass up, a few pesos extra at the entrance to each additional exhibit will grant you entry.

Nice views in the Buenos Aires Zoo, Palermo

Don’t feed the animals (or do!)

OK, so you have your pass… now, where do you begin? Upon admittance you’ll see a large entrance where you can purchase disposable cameras, snacks and also rent lockers. They also have professional photographers if you want to capture the moment without any blurs or overexposures, which is ideal considering the entrance is next to a picturesque lagoon where flamingos lounge on the far side of the fountains. (Look closely and you’ll also see snapping turtles!)

The entrance area is also an excellent chance to buy some animal food (Comidas Animales) – throughout your journey you’re welcome to feed elephants, alpacas, monkeys, camels, deer, zebras and other feed friendly animals. The food bags are affordable, as are the larger bins. While you’ll find yourself wondering how it’s possible that all of these different animals eat the same food (maybe save yourself some cash and try it out on the kids… just kidding!), it’s a wonderful way to interact and gain the attention of the more commonly aloof critters. Some of the animals will even play up to the food, with elephants raising their trunks and monkeys motioning for you to throw more.

Some of the enclosures are so close to the animals themselves that sneaking in some petting (while you’re feeding the camel, for instance) isn’t difficult. Naturally, it’s important to be socially conscious of the safety of the animals and yourself, so be mindful when you’re petting the zebra. If the kids are complaining that you’ve run out of food, then there are stations located throughout the Zoo where more can be purchased.

Also, if the Comidas Animales didn’t go over so well as the kids’ snack, then there are stands where popsicles and other treats can be found. However, like most zoos, these are extremely overpriced… so, if you go over to the sides of the zoo (by the fence) you will often find street vendors that will sell you a larger variety at half the price, right through the gaps in the fence! In Buenos Aires, where there’s a will, there’s a way .

A Camel has the hump at Buenos Aires Zoo

You are HERE

The layout of the zoo is simple so you don’t have to worry about missing anything. Posted maps along the way indicate your position, but by following the main path you’ll surely see it all. If you’ve taken this zoo-pert’s advice and headed RIGHT upon entry, your first stop will be the polar bears with their large swimming pool and the Aquarium, should you choose to view it.

The elephant house is enormous and the elephants seem to spend most of their time near the perimeters in hopes of catching some snacks purchased by zoo goers. Again the intimacy of the Buenos Aires zoo is spectacular and it’s breathtaking to see these amazing animals up so close.

The zoo is also known for its success in breeding white tigers and these, along with the other large cats (pumas, cheetahs, jaguars and lions) are all in well built enclosures where they’re easy to spot. Each enclosure lists the animal with some basic information for those wishing to educate themselves on the wildlife. Information such as where you can find them in the wild, the types of food they eat (interestingly enough, none mention the Comidas Animales!) and other key characteristics about each inhabitant is listed.

If the white tigers aren’t impressing the kids and they’re getting rambunctious, not to worry. The middle of the zoo houses a playground fully equipped with swings and slides for them to exert all that extra energy. The zoo also has two carousels located at the back and far left. The one in the rear is always running and is nearby a rest area with food. It’s a great halfway point and the perfect load off.

Zoo and more

The region dedicated to Africa is located on the left side of the zoo which again bodes spectacularly intimate views of anything you’d hope to see. This gives way to a petting zoo where at the end of your journey (you’re actually allowed to here!) to pet a family of goats, donkeys and Shetland ponies.

If you haven’t had your fill by this time, take another loop. Or, if you have, you’re back at the lagoon and ready for home… Once you’re home and realize that house cat of yours isn’t exactly living up to those white tiger cubs, visit the zoo website to see what other activities and adventures the zoo has to offer. This includes information on birthdays, guided tours and other specialized events: www.zoobuenosaires.com.ar (one such specialized event at the moment is night time zoo opening, as reported on here in Buenos Aires Weekly).

Giraffe at Buenos Aires Zoo

Location of Buenos Aires Zoo

Corner of Avenida Las Heras and Avenida Sarmiento, Palermo

Website: http://www.zoobuenosaires.com.ar/

Thelonious Jazz Club

July 11, 2007 by · 2 Comments 

Jazz in Buenos Aires

Thelonious Club Jazz Cocktails - Keyword stuffers are alive and well in Buenos Aires!

If you are looking to spend a night in a setting of utmost Buenos Aires cool, check out the famed Palermo jazz club, Thelonious. This bar features live jazz bands Wednesday through Sunday nights, starting at 9:30 pm. On Friday and Saturday nights there are two bands in the line-up. Thelonious, named after the legendary American jazz pianist, is not a place to hear second-rate jazz. The performance on any given night will enrapture you with the energy, talent, and improvisational skills of the musicians.

Cover fees vary depending on the night: you can check their website, call for more information about that night’s particular show (see below for contact info), or stop by Thelonious to pick up the current month’s schedule.

Jazz performance at Thelonious Club

Reserve a table for a night of elegance and spectacular jazz

In order to make sure you have a space to sit and view the musicians, you should call ahead and reserve a table. They will hold it for you until 9:30pm, when the music is supposed to start (but remember, this is Argentina and nothing starts exactly on time).

If you come with a date, you’ll get a cozy table for two; bigger groups get couches and coffee tables; otherwise you can pull up a stool at the bar or even hang out on the stairs leading to the upper level. The place is small, so get there early if you don’t have a reservation. Your experience will be much more enjoyable if you have a seat, as the jazz sets are often quite long (an hour and a half on average).

Sip on a cool cocktail in the color of your choice

Located in a fairly posh part of Palermo, near Plaza Guemes and its lovely Our Lady of Guadalupe church, Thelonious club is usually packed with smartly-dressed Buenos Aires hipsters, old-school jazz fans, and foreigners visiting the city. It’s okay to be casual, but if you are looking for somewhere to show off your trendy new Palermo boutique finds, this is the place.

Everybody checks each other out, wondering who is going to be having drinks with the band after the show. So make sure you order a fashionable drink, like the local-standard Fernet and coke, or one of Thelonious’ colorful cocktails, such as a daquiri, or a frozen mojito.

Daquiri cocktails at Thelonious Jazz club

Thelonious offers a very complete list of cocktails, and some creative ones, like the Keith Richards: vodka, lemon, and sugar. Of course, if you are on a budget, be glad that you are in Argentina and you can share a bottle of Malbec with some friends for a reasonable price. And if you’re just a regular beer guy, grab a bottle of Heineken or Guinness.

Thelonious, a recycled building decorated with a special touch

The atmosphere alone at Thelonious is reason enough to stop by. As with many modern restaurants and bars in Buenos Aires, Thelonious is a “recycled” rendition of an old house. One special feature of Palermo architecture that you will see at this club is the bare brick ceilings. Above the stage hangs a light fixture consisting of subdued yellow light bulbs twisted every which way like an unruly nest of wires.

The place is designed to be a live music venue, with low-wattage spot lighting placed strategically around the premises. The sturdy bar seems to be made of adobe, and it has built-in lights that cast a glow on the face of your date as he or she absorbs the frenetic bleeps and bloops of the trumpet or the whirring drum rhythms.

Enjoying Jazz from the bar of Club Thelonius

Whatever act is on at Thelonious, you can be assured that it’s a respected, nationally or even internationally acclaimed group of artists who dedicate themselves to their instruments. Depending on the artist, the songs may be original compositions with influences from classical jazz, modern rock, and Latin American musical genres, or they might be renditions of standards from the likes of John Coltrane and Dizzy Gillespie. The late-night bands on Fridays and Saturdays are more the dance-and-groove types, while the weekday night bands are better for listening and watching attentively.

Worth an after-dinner visit, for an evening of musical bliss

Even if you aren’t a jazz aficionado, Thelonious Club is pretty much sure to guarantee a unique and interesting evening. The service is not especially warm but it is certainly professional and efficient. It’s best to eat before the show (or after, at the café on the corner of Salguero, which is open late), but if you come hungry, you can order simple pizzeta (personal pizza) or a tabla de quesos (cheese plate).

Thelonious also offers desserts, making it a great place to bring your date after an early dinner. Try their gooey chocolate brownie with walnuts and vanilla ice cream, or simply a coffee or tea. Possibly one of the best after-dinner drink choices on the menu is the Irish coffee, which is deliciously sweet with a kick of liquor. Or for an even more elegant dessert, cozy up to a bottle of Chandon champagne to enjoy the jazz in true style.

Jazz in Palermo, Buenos Aires at the Thelonious Club

A place like Club Thelonious could exist in any fashionable international city: New York, London, or Paris. But in the tastefully decorated upstairs space of Thelonious, surrounded by eclectic people from all over the world, sipping Malbec with good company, you will be glad you are watching a jazz show in Buenos Aires.

Location of Thelonious Jazz Club

Jeronimo Salguero 1884, corner Guemes, Palermo

Tel: 4829-1562   Website: www.thelonious.com.ar

Boutique del Libro – Bookstore and Cafe

July 7, 2007 by · 4 Comments 

Buenos Aires, a city of book lovers

Boutique del Libro Bookshop - Palermo Soho, Buenos Aires

As one of the most literate cities on the planet, Buenos Aires will not disappoint a book lover. You can spend hours just browsing through the stacks and shelves of novels, academic theses, art and photography collections, and poetry anthologies in shops across the city here. Of course Buenos Aires is best for book-shopping if you read Spanish, or don’t mind captions in Spanish, but most places do also have an English-language selection.

One very attractive and alluring bookstore in Buenos Aires is the Boutique del Libro, a combined bookshop and café tucked away in the streets of Palermo Soho.

Boutique del Libro: Unsurprisingly, full of books

Indulge the bookworm inside you at Boutique del Libro

Boutique del Libro is the kind of bookstore that makes you hold your breath in awe as you walk past the shelves full of enough books to satisfy any intellectual thirst. If you want to find art, photography, or design collections, especially ones that are specific to Argentina, this is a great place to look. Boutique del Libro also boasts a pretty decent collection of English-language classics and new novels, which are located by the front window. They also have a small collection of CDs by Argentine and international musicians.

The bookstore staff are friendly and happy to point you in the right direction to help you find a book. Everything is well-labeled by section, so you can always just go straight to a specific category and peruse. The bookstore is usually filled with foreigners and locals alike, enjoying the atmosphere and lounging around in the café.

Look smart with a novel by Borges or Isabel Allende

The café is an ideal spot for quiet reflection with a recently-purchased book, or if you need to get some studying done. There is free wireless internet so you can read your emails in this high-ceilinged, spacious area. The décor is tasteful: large white-and-beige modern style paintings adorn the muted walls, and the furniture is a mix of antique low-slung patio chairs and sturdy wooden seats. Each table is creatively topped by a miniature cactus plant. You’ll find yourself among people happily lost in a novel, or in thought, or in their studies.

Lounging around in the Boutique del Libro cafe / bookshop

Maybe just a coffee or tea in the café: it’s better for mood than food

If you’re on a budget, it’s probably best not to come to Palermo Soho hungry, because by Argentine standards places like Boutique del Libro are overcharging for their food and drinks. The Boutique offers standard fare such as steak sandwiches, salads, baked chicken, hamburgers, and tostadas, which are grilled-cheese sandwiches (usually jamon y queso – ham and cheese). It’s got an espresso bar and alcoholic drinks.

Boutique del Libro is actually a chain in Argentina, but the Palermo location has a special air of sophistication that is worth checking out. If you are a book lover you will understand the aura that radiates from a really good bookstore. Come here just to see the place and admire the simple decoration in the café, or to get some reading material in either Spanish or English. And while you’re in the area, across the way you’ll also find a very cool store called Objetos Encontrados, full of interesting antiques, toys and other random stuff.

So, in an afternoon of strolling or shopping in Palermo Soho, it’s definitely worth your time to visit Boutique del Libro, even if just for a look or a quick coffee with some cookies. And if you are actually in the market for books, you’ll almost certainly enjoy the variety of their selection.

Cafe and bookstore life come together

Location of Boutique del Libro Bookstore and Cafe

Thames 1762, between Costa Rica & El Salvador, Palermo Soho

Sugar and Spice Cookies

June 29, 2007 by · 19 Comments 

A great sweet snack in Buenos Aires

Sugar and Spice and everything nice

Sugar and Spice makes some fantastically delicious cookies and cakes. In a cafe-happy city like Buenos Aires, coffee and pastries may begin to become monotonous, but not at Sugar and Spice. This Palermo shop has left the coffee behind and instead focused on perfecting their pastries to be some of the finest quality in the city.

It may be difficult to sample them all, but those the ones you will try are extremely tasty, and a perfect accompaniment to a cup of tea or coffee. Don’t miss their “passion for chocolate” cookies and “super chocolate” budin (cake), if you are a chocolate lover. Also a good pick are the raisin and oatmeal cookies and, from their savory range of biscuits, the copetin fugazza (a biscuit flavored like fugazza, an Italian/Argentine pizza with no cheese or sauce – just the dough with onions, olive oil and oregano). Great stuff!

Buenos Aires bloggers meet at Sugar and Spice HQ

Cookies and the Buenos Aires blog scene

Sugar and Spice has graciously hosted a Buenos Aires bloggers at the event, and as is the trend, most of them have already written about it: Nathan, Diva, Dalila and Marce, for starters. Check their posts for more descriptions of these delectable treats.

 

If you are in Buenos Aires and want to be part of the cookie inner circle, you can find these delicious treats all over the city. Sugar and Spice biscuits and cookies are available in the following fine Buenos Aires establishments (among others):

Shops

  • Sugar and Spice, Guatemala 5415, Palermo Hollywood
  • Falabella (two outlets along Florida shopping street in the city center)
  • Al queso, queso (outlets all over the city)

Cafes and Ice Cream Parlors (each with outlets all over the city)

  • Aroma cafe
  • McDonald’s McCafe
  • The Coffee Store
  • Freddo
  • Munchis

Direct Orders: Sugar and Spice Contact details

Location of Sugar and Spice

Guatemala 5415, corner Av. Juan B Justo, Palermo Hollywood

Tel: 4777 5423,  Website: http://www.sugarandspice.com.ar

La Cabrera Restaurant

June 5, 2007 by · 22 Comments 

Buenos Aires steak at its finest

Goat's Cheese Provolone at La Cabrera Bife de Lomo al Tomillo Steak at La Cabrera

Ojo de Bife Napolitano Steak at La Cabrera Sorbeto de Limon con Champagne at La Cabrera

When it comes to recounting an experience at La Cabrera, words just can’t describe the ecstasy of enjoying one of their huge steaks or many other specialties. Take in the pictures or simply head over now to taste some of the finest steak in Buenos Aires, a city famous for its flavorsome beef.

Bife de Chorizo at La Cabrera

[Image credit: aprillynn77 at Flickr]

La Cabrera  – Beef is the word

As you can see from the two nicely sized cuts of bife de chorizo (sirloin strip steak) shown directly above, La Cabrera is extremely generous with the size of their steaks. Yet it is not only the meat which arrives in large quantities here – every main course order is accompanied with their trademark array of many small, varied side dishes, as can also be viewed in the photo above and another photo further down this post. These side dishes range from complimentary sauces (depending on what you have ordered), to couscous, mashed potato with mustard, tomatoes in sauce, calabaza (squash) puree, sweet pickled garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, guacamole, and so on, and on, and on

Steak, carne, meat and more at La Cabrera, Buenos Aires

In fact, the choices presented to you on the table at this parrilla (steakhouse) can be almost paralyzing. There is so much to look at, so many different flavors and options to go for, it may become overwhelming. If this happens, a word of advice: focus on the steak.

The Ojo de Bife Napolitano (rib eye steak with plenty of ham, cheese and sun-dried tomatoes on top) pictured above, is a fine specimen. It would be way more than enough for one person, forgetting the side dishes. So just try a few of the flavors on offer from those cute little sideshows whenever this occurs to you, but don’t let that detract from the main event, which is always going to be the huge steak.

The flavor of the beef at La Cabrera is delicious, succulent, perfectly cooked (if you ask for a punto – medium – you really do get it medium and not overcooked) and very, very juicy. And all this seems to be true whatever steak you order there, be it bife de chorizo, ojo de bife or bife de lomo – the three most popular cuts to order at La Cabrera.

La Cabrera – A House of Gluttony

And yet, despite the steak alone being more than enough to fill you up before you even think about the variety of side dishes, sometimes you have to go even further into the dark realms of over-eating and La Cabrera will probably tempt you to do so. Starters are completely unnecessary, but absolutely delicious. If you must, try the chorizo sausage (pictured below) or the goat’s cheese provolone (a type of cheese grilled on the Argentine parrilla) with sun-dried tomatoes.

Chorizo sausage at La Cabrera

If you are having starters, then a main course each would be WAY too much at La Cabrera. In fact, if you are just eating the main course and nothing else, two dishes between three people should probably fill you all to satisfaction. And if you are a couple, one main course between two will probably do, although a side of their fantastic wedge fries would do the steak justice.

Finish off the meal with a fantastic Sorbeto de Limon con Champagne (lemon sorbet with champagne). At this stage of the over-eating proceedings, having a dessert that you can drink through a straw is a very sensible idea (this dessert is also pictured in the group of pictures at the top of the post).

La Cabrera Restaurant - Great Steak House / Parrilla in Palermo Viejo, Buenos Aires

Final words of advice? Stay well away from this place if you are on a diet.

If you’re hungry for more, check out delicious steak photos from La Cabrera that were posted/linked to by Asado Argentina (scroll down on that page for the links).

Location of La Cabrera

J.A. Cabrera 5099, corner of Thames, Palermo Soho
[Other Branches: La Cabrera Norte, down a block at J.A. Cabrera 5127, Palermo Soho
La Cabrera Boutique, down the street at J.A. Cabrera 5065, Palermo Soho 
]

Tel: 4831-7002,  Website: http://www.lacabrera.com.ar

Antares Pub, Palermo

March 26, 2007 by · 4 Comments 

Antares Pub in Palermo, Buenos Aires

It’s all about the beer at Antares

In the search for a true beer drinkers’ pub in the city of Buenos Aires, it can be difficult to come across something truly original and refreshing. A long time staple for home grown taste, Buller Brewing Company bar in Recoleta now has some competition from Antares Pub in the stylish neighborhood of Palermo. The limited selection of cerveza artesanal (handcrafted beer) in Buenos Aires makes Antares a must-visit for all beer lovers.

If you are interested in checking out some of the more interesting brews at Antares, they offer a 7 beer sampler which is as tasty as it is cute to look at (Bueller offers its own 6 beer taste-test as described here by BA blogger Ken in his review).

Pictured below, a quick look at the hopeful competitors, the seven different beers at Antares:

Beer Sampler in Antares Bar

Please note that the 7th and final beer, pictured on the right, is a GREEN concoction made specifically to celebrate St. Patrick’s day, holding the place for the Imperial Stout, which normally finishes off the set.

Buenos Aires’ Best Beer?

In searching for the perfect brew in Buenos Aires, it must be stated that the Scotch Ale at Antares is simply fantastic. It has a sweet aroma somewhat reminiscent of butterscotch, accompanied by an appropriately pleasing caramel color. The flavor is initially so smooth on the palette that you will be lulled into a false sense of security, but it soon moves about the mouth in a complex fashion that leads to an oh-so-welcome pleasantly hoppy finish. After you finish one pint, almost certainly quickly, you’ll want another. Antares Scotch Ale, although in a league of it’s own, can be likened to the Oktoberfest at Buller, as both have tones of caramel and finish more tartly.

Antares vs. Buller

So, specific beers aside, which place is better for a lover of beer, Antares or Buller? Both places are great if you stick to their strengths – at Buller try the refreshing Light Lager, or their strong and flavorsome Honey Beer. At Antares you have a quite remarkable Scotch Ale, alongside the almost as enjoyable and equally drinkable Porter. Overall, Buller may have a more consistent level of quality, but Antares has two surefire winners up its sleeve. 

Antares Bar – The Place

Antares, as a venue for drinking, is a very nicely done, brand spanking new bar that fits in very well with the other stylish locations found around it in Palermo Soho. From the large shiny beer dispensers to the several pieces of beer related memorabilia, and especially the extremely long bar, there is something for every serious ale drinker. And for those more interested in the ambiance and design of the place, it is beautifully done in a very modern way, and the place does get buzzing fairly early, so Antares does not disappoint in this way either.

Finally, in terms of prices, it’s a good deal. Pints are cheap enough, but with a daily 7pm-9pm happy hour, when pints are two for the price of one, you’re getting high quality for top value. Let’s just hope they can keep the prices and happy hour this way, and not cave in to the spiraling prices we are seeing across the rest of the city.

Location of Antares Pub

Armenia 1447, between Gorriti and Jose A. Cabrera, Palermo Soho

Tel: 4833-9611, Website: http://www.cervezaantares.com

Morelia, Palermo Hollywood

March 2, 2007 by · 7 Comments 

Morelia is located in Palermo HollywoodPizza abounds in Buenos Aires

When reviewing the restaurant scene in Buenos Aires, you will certainly happen upon a number of pizza restaurants, and the reason is simple: People here LOVE pizza.

If you do too, then Buenos Aires is a great place to be. Pizzerias like Guerrin in the City Center Banchero in La Boca and Piola in Recoleta, and each has all it’s different styles and attractions. However, Morelia Pizzeria of Palermo creates it’s own style and ambiance that adds even more flavor to the already long list of notable Buenos Aires pizzerias.

Morelia’s Pizza a la Parrilla

In short, pizza a la parrilla means pizza cooked on a grill. A parrilla is the traditional Argentine grill that is usually used for cooking basically an entire cow’s worth of meat, either outside at a gathering of family and/or friends, or in one of the many parrilla restaurants that are so common in Buenos Aires and the rest of Argentina. But in this case, at Morelia and other similar pizzerias, it is a wafer-thin pizza crust that is placed on the parrilla/grill, topped, and warmed through in a matter of moments. The technique is explained in this post by Saltshaker (which also happens to include a review of Morelia). Head to Palermo Hollywood to try it out for yourself…

Morelia Pizza Restaurant and Lounge

Morelia is apparently a lounge in addition to being a pizza restaurant. This is the kind of thing you come to expect in the ice cool area of Palermo Hollywood, and the lounge part is explained by the addition of a few sofas with coffee tables near the entrance and the slightly lounge bar vibe you get from an occasional in-house DJ. No actual lounge music played though, for the record. Ignore the music, ignore the lounge (whatever that is), most certainly ignore the Palermo Hollywood pretensions, and just head to the back, grab a comfy booth seat if you can, and eat some pizza. That’s why you’re here.

Morelia does a fine pizza a la parrilla

The Pizza

The pizza may seem overwhelming in the previous picture, and in diameter it certainly is, but the thinness of the crust means appearances are a little deceptive. This is actually a Pizza Chica, which is slightly confusing because it is their middle size on the menu (flanked by individual and grande) and meant for 2 people. The toppings? Pictured above is a Calabresa, which in addition to the usual suspects of mozzarella, tomato sauce and green olives, features slices of calabresa sausage (a bit like chorizo, only with a faint hint of spiciness) and some strips of red and green peppers. And it goes down like a charm. The pastas are also of top quality, and the melt-in-your-mouth gnocchis are pictured below.

My fiancee is addicted to Noquis! Here they are once again at Morelia...

Palermo Hollywood vs. Las Cañitas

Morelia has two locations in Buenos Aires, with both areas having pretensions of being extremely hip. The Las Cañitas restaurant is the original, and is also a fair amount larger than the Palermo Hollywood one, due to it’s two full floors. However, both the food and the service at the Palermo Hollywood location are generally better. Wherever you go, if you order pizza a la parrilla at least you know you will not have to wait long… it comes lightning fast because the thin crust takes no time at all to cook. And the surroundings in both restaurants have a pleasant, subtle design, providing for a very comfortable meal.

The bar in Morelia, Palermo Hollywood

Location of Morelia, Buenos Aires

Humboldt 2005, corner of Nicaragua, Palermo Hollywood
[Other branches: Baez 260 (Las Cañitas)]

Tel: 4772-5979

Acabar Buenos Aires

January 24, 2007 by · 5 Comments 

***UPDATE: Acabar has sadly now closed for business. We’ll leave the below review online for posterity***

A Resto-Bar with a twist

Acabar in Palermo Hollywood, where neon rules OK!

Acabar is a very nice bar and restaurant – with a twist to make it interesting. The menu itself is far more interesting than the actual food, a colorful distraction to take your attention away from the sub-par dishes:

Acabar - cool menu, not so cool food

In the end, it is the “bar” part of “resto-bar” which is worth visiting.

So, what’s the twist?

Games. To spice up your weeknight, Acabar offers a selection of board games to help loosen the mood and keep the atmosphere relaxed. You and your friends can choose from old favorites like Jenga, Pictionary and Battleship – and don’t be shy to invite neighboring tables of people to play along with you (or against you). The games not only help to enjoyably pass the time, they can function simultaneously with your cocktail as a social lubricant.

Acabar: Nice name

Great name, in fact. Multi-faceted. Firstly, it has all kinds of comedy potential. In English, acabar basically means “to finish”, and those who are clever enough in Spanish can manipulate the name of this place into all sorts of sexual innuendos. Secondly, if you break the name down, it separates into two Spanish words: “Aca Bar” translating into “here-bar,” letting you know that you have indeed arrived where you wanted.

But the bar itself is great too. Besides the many wonderful board games, the wait staff are extremely nice and friendly, and there are usually enough of them around to be able to grab one quickly for drink orders even when it’s busy. And it does get busy, producing a happy, buzzing atmosphere full of mildly inebriated board-gamers.

Acabar is also HUGE, which is helpful for seating large groups of gamers. You’ll have no problem getting a table as the place opens up round the corner to the left and backwards, and just keeps on going, and going. At one point it feels like you may even have to traipse through their neighbors’ back-patios to reach the end of the bar. But don’t let that put you off your drinks.

Inside the Acabar Bar

And all of that space is filled with character… interesting old chandeliers, pop-art on the walls, lots of funny ornaments and bits & bobs, a hundred different types of wooden tables that have definitely seen better days but still add to the rag-tag look. All very pleasant in a hip kind of way, as you would expect from somewhere located in Palermo Hollywood.

Location of Acabar

Honduras 5733, between Bonpland & A.J. Carranza, Palermo Hollywood

Tel: 4772-0845 / 4776-3634

The Buenos Aires Japanese Gardens

December 12, 2006 by · 9 Comments 

Escape to the Jardin Japones

Japanese Gardens, Palermo, Buenos Aires

Tucked away in the Bosques de Palermo (Palermo Parks), you will find the peaceful Japanese Gardens, an oasis of calm and serenity in the middle of the crazy, busy, noisy city of Buenos Aires. The gardens are also recommendable as a nice place for couples to go when in Buenos Aires, or to take a date on if you are lucky enough to charm an Argentine while in town.

To be fair, you can just about hear the drone of cars on the main avenues in the background, which spoils your zen a little, but not completely. Also watch out for the occasional school trip of noisy children, or young family, partly because the abundant koi carp and ducks are happy to be fed by visitors, which kids usually seem to enjoy.

Koi Carp in the Japanese Gardens, Palermo

Beautifully Maintained Gardens

Me and a zen stone in the Jardin JaponesThe park itself is wonderfully kept and very pretty all year round, as the different plants, trees and bushes show their lovely colors at varying points in the calendar. Apart from the koi carp and ducks in the cutely landscaped ponds, there are other easy on the eye features such as sculpted shrubberies, ornate arched red bridges, pattering mini rock waterfalls and zen-like stone and sculpture formations (see right).

Apparently the horticulture on show includes black pine trees, gingko, sakura, and of course, the ubiquitous bonsai trees, that will impress all budding gardeners and karate kids alike.

In case you are wondering ‘why exactly are there Japanese gardens in Buenos Aires?‘, well, they were given as a ‘thank you’ to Argentina, by Japanese immigrants living in Buenos Aires, when they constructed this lovely five acre park in 1967.

Japanese Tea Room & Restaurant

Attached to the gardens, in a pagoda style building, a Japanese tea room and restaurant combo is found (closed on Tuesdays). During the day this offers a range of oriental brews, green teas and cakes, and then during the evening it transforms into a restaurant with authentic Japanese food, specializing in sushi. (If sushi is what you crave, look on Saltshaker for reviews of the best sushi spots all over BA).

Additionally, there are sometimes exhibitions and shows of Japanese culture held inside the same building – try calling ahead to find out if anything like this is happening, on 4804 9141.

Getting There & Getting In

The Jardin Japones is open from 10am to 6pm daily, year round, and costs a small fee to get in. To get there you can take a number of buses, including the 10, 37, 67, 102 or 130.

Failing that, try a taxi, or take a pleasant walk to get there – either through the rest of the Palermo Parks that run along Avenida Sarmiento, before turning onto Avenida Berro, or if you are starting from the Palermo Chico area (where the Malba art museum is located), you could walk along Avenida Figueroa Alcorta, turning onto Avenida Casares to reach the Japanese Gardens. Well worth a sightseeing visit, however you arrive there.

Location of Japanese Gardens / Jardin Japones

Corner of Av. Casares & Av. Berro, Palermo

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