LUGARES MAGAZINE Nro. 93
By: Lugares File
Photos: Alejandro Peral - Carolina Aldao - Ana Gilligan - Nacho Calonge
EATING IN PATAGONIA
We present the most typical dishes in the three most typical "villas":
San Martin, La Angostura and Bariloche. Whether regional or ecumenical,
typically Argentine or European-style, all of them are southern and
proud of it.
Its re-opening, at the hands of Agustina Buzzo (Arrayan Tea House), is the season's novelty.
. The premises were redecorated in the style implied by the name: all the products served can also be bought, such as those from Granja de Cabañas de Piedra and a proprietary lien of jams and liqueurs, Cooking is dominated by tapas, tablas patagonicas (Patagonian cold-cut spreads) and regional products. $25-30 a head. Drury 857. Phone: (02972) 42-5663.
Years ago, Gloria Ocampo made a name for herself with her pickles, souses and pâtés, by far the best locally. In a refined atmosphere, with English crockery, place-setting dishes and stylish tables, this restaurant is still a deluxe referent at mealtimes. To the usual menu offer of game meats and home-made pasta, it now adds the eccentric touch of baked gnocchi with a classical mushroom sauce. $30-35 a head. Perito Moreno 838. Phone: (02972) 42-7817.
If you go there without a reservation, you'll lose the chance to eat at San Martin's most popular eatery. Its owner, Alejandro Zolezzi, still offers a menu with a preponderance of game meats, adding girgolas, morillas and a "red berry" dressing. The wine list offers a wide choice from the best wineries. $35-40 a head. Mariano Moreno 866. Phone: (02972) 42-8663.
Rodolfo and Valerie Retorta's restaurant was top-ranked from the start. It still maintains this top ranking, with its pleasant atmosphere, special gourmet offer and cuisine in the competent hands of chef Alejandro Marchand. A highly recommended delight: trout ravioli with lemon and herb dressing. A novel dessert: strawberry "soup". $25-35 a head. Belgrano 940. Phone: 42-8734.
Pablo Buzzo is "the" Paihuen cuisine. Not only is he responsible for the traditional carte -a short menu that presents the best in local culinary orthodoxy-, but also for designing and creating the local weekly offer of Patagonian cuisine, whose dishes are centered on the products of one specific winery. Recently, Pablo is increasingly concerned with developing the "wine bar", an informal den that opened last season offering tapas and fondues, only a few steps away from the restaurant. $25-30 a head. National Route 234, km 78. Phone: (02972) 428154/56 (extension 505).
This is San Martin's international ethnic cuisine venue (Malayan shrimp sambal, a very Afghan zarda palau served with Basmati rice), and even Friday sushi. However, regional dishes such as mutton shashlik, and others of typically French cuisine are included. Three facets of cooking, well represented by the produce of three female chefs. The attached pub gathers the youth and those who enjoy fondue, and the counter, well-stocked with local and international beers, invites one to draw up a stool. This place has good "vibes". $40-50 a head. Tte. Ramayon 765. Phone/fax: (02972) 42-7104.
Carolina Echeverri heads this already classical venue, together with a team of young chefs, busy preparing Spanish-style tapas, and more European dishes, plus the ever-present fondue and raclette. The wine list on the menu is a good one. Route 231. Puerto Manzano. Phone: (02944) 49-5123
La Buena Vida.
This is in the central downtown area, on the main street. At first glance, this restaurant seems to offer more standardized than creative dishes. But, surprise, surprise! No such thing! Behind the scenes, the experienced hands of dedicated chef Jorge Ayala use carefully applied culinary techniques to prepare truly Argentine offers. His apple pancakes are still one of the best of their kind I have ever sampled. Three cheers for Jorge! Arrayanes 167. Phone: (02944) 49-5200.
Everything began with an adventure among a group of friends. Martin Zorreguieta, brother to Princess Maxima of the Netherlands, is one of them, providing an extra attraction. However, those who come attracted by the idea of royal glamour will find a place bare of all etiquette, with a pleasantly informal atmosphere. Now it boasts a deck, the ideal place to spend a summer's "happy hour". Its good "spread" is a byword, and its varied menu includes dishes of blended cuisine. As from 8.30 p.m., only with reservations. Bvd. Nahuel Huapi. 34. Phone: (02944) 49-4924.
As well as the dining room, there is a new sector where one can enjoy tapeo (eating tapas) in the local version, and a wine sampling room at the entrance to the new wine cellar, including 150 labels. Chef Pablo Campoy updated the menu, inspired by the new Basque cuisine, with dishes that include the presence of regional products. The debutante of the season is Patagonian trout with a taboule of quinoa, roasted eggplant and trout croquettes with acidified puree and green dressing, laid out on the same dish. Lunch is $50 a head and dinner $55, including 3 dishes without drinks. Until the end of October, the "gourmet lunches" offer a 5-dish sampling accompanied by the products of different wineries at $70 a head. At teatime, the chef's recommendation is blueberry cheesecake. Las Balsas Bay. Phone: (02944) 49-4308
The dining room that appears in the photo no longer exists. It burnt down totally engulfed by the flames of a terrible fire. However, its creator, Leo Morsella, instead of crying over its ashes, set to work to resurrect this famous restaurant. Now it offers a view on the kitchen area, a wine bar and cellar sector, plus a wide-ranging menu of Argentine meats (lesser rhea, Ilama, guanaco, mutton, yacare).
These are some of the delicacies you can try as from December 21. Blvd. Pascotto and Las Fucsias. Phone: (02944) 49-5120.
El Boliche Viejo.
This is still in its traditional spot, next to the Limay river, in a building that once hosted the historical "general store". The premises are a typical Patagonian sheet-metal construction with white walls and a green roof. From the outside it doesn't look like much, however, inside it's a different story altogether: the mammoth grill signals this restaurant's main feature. Despite its "priceyness", this is a not-to-be-missed southern exponent of the best in grilled meats, with mutton as the "star of the show".. Route 237 and Puente Limay. Phone: (02944) 46-8452.
After the departure of Richard Oyarzun, this restaurant remained in the hands of his partner Sol Montes -at the barbecue- and her brother Miguel. Guanaco meat, Araucaria (monkey-puzzle tree) pine seed flour, trout and the red berries in the area, among other local inputs, are the indispensable raw materials for this cuisine. Richard created a "school", and the Montes are faithful to his precepts. In summer, a restaurant will be set up on the deck, serving simpler dishes and the El Bolson craft beer, La Araucana, whose bock and Pilsen varieties are unfiltered. This extension will have its own name: Gualicho (Witchcraft), after the naughty brother god to Chachao. Av. Bustillo Km 3,8. Phone: (02944) 52-0574.
Bustillo's great hotel pampers its guests regally with its spa and its Los Cesares Restaurant, only available with a prior reservation. Leave it for special nighttime occasions, and don't miss the true "pearl" of the Llao Llao: lunching in the Winter Garden on chef Martin Repetto's buffet, which is served from noon to 3.30 p.m., and includes soup, a hot dish, dessert and drinks for $40 a head. Phone: (02944) 44-8530.