LUGARES MAGAZINE Nro. 68
Pags. 50 - 55
By: Julia Caprara
Some say that, in 1895, Carlos Wiederhol was the first person to open a general store; but it was later, in 1902, that the Villa was founded with the name of San Carlos de Bariloche: Carlos in homage to Wiederhol and Bariloche as a corruption of Vuriloche, a Mapuche Indian word meaning "different people" or "people from the other side".
The present-day town is far removed from those romantic notions as a result of the concept of the architect Bustillo who, in 1936, using high quality local wood and stone, created the Alpine village Bariloche of today. Despite modern development many treasures from that era remain; the Centro Civico, the Capilla de San Eduardo and the impressive Hotel Llao Llao. But, above all, Bariloche remains the cradle of skiing for those enthusiasts who remain faithful to its slopes.
It is true that during the season the real ski enthusiasts don't venture out of the Catedral, some 18 kilometres from the town, but it is also true that many come into Bariloche to savour the gourmet food or to go shopping. For this midway point between skiing and the urban life the key is comfortable accommodations.
Only five minutes from the centre, at kilometre 2.5 on the avenida Bustillo, Villa Humid is a relaxed way to combine skiing and nightlife. Contrary to what you might think, Humid is not a Mapuche word but a fusion of the names of the two old owners, Winifred and Enid Meelboon. Surrounded by leafy parkland, the cabins are huge with a warmth guaranteed by the under floor heating and with incredible views of the lake.
At mealtimes in the centre of the town the most refined palates can find their match in the classic Kandahar, run by Marta Peirano and her daughter, Violeta. It has only a few tables, a touch of chic, a menu with specialities like rosehip soup or ñoquis stuffed with cheese and basil served with an olive sauce, an excellent menu, good wines and reasonable prices.
Lovers of fondue cannot overlook Chez Phillipe with the ratatouille starter and the coveted morels. The people who run the beer house Blest have just opened Pilgrim, a Celtic pub on Palacios street that offers an eclectic combination of Irish dishes and Spanish tapas. The Verkys family has left El Boliche Viejo on the River Limay and opened Tarquino in the town centre, maintaining the quality of their charcoal cooked beef.
For their part the Weiss family - of celebrated Patagonian smoked meat fame - have also changed the location of their restaurant at the same time as they have expanded it; it is now on the corner of Palacios and O'Connor. Días de Zapata, offering authentic Mexican food, is the big news in the centre of town and is guaranteed to be a success.
On the way to the San Pedro peninsula, after a whole day of going up and down the white slopes, following the shore of the lake along the avenida Bustillo will lead you to El Boliche de Alberto at Km8.8. It continues to offer good grilled meats and now has opened a branch in the town centre.
A few kilometres further on is the Blest beer house with great local smoked meats and its tasty, locally brewed beer that comes in various styles. Also on San Pedro peninsula are two other notable places. The Villa Alpina offers a mountain ambience in an organic farm and is good for Sunday lunch, and the Llao Llao, the great hotel that stands majestically overlooking the bay and offering levels of luxury and good taste to more than satisfy the most discerning visitor.
A walk around the town and its surrounding area will reveal the skills of some of the local craftsmen. Gustavo Amadeo works in wood and takes birds of all kinds as his models. Alejandro Jurczuk is also dedicated to local wood but with countryside and figurative themes.
Daniel Nico puts his creativity into cast iron while his wife, Silvina, makes homemade chocolates. And then there are the postcards and photographs by the nearly anonymous Federico Bechis, a true captor of local imagery.