Friday night saw my friends and I head out for what was to be my final dinner in Buenos Aires before departing the following day. We headed to Parrilla Peña, a traditional Argentine style restaurant that I’d been wanting to try since the year before when my dad and I had tried to visit only to find it to be closed.
This time, however, we were in luck. We were greeted by what I would describe as ‘proper waiters’, older men who made you feel 100% at home. Kind of like you were being welcomed into someone’s house. Upon seating we were brought bread and empanadas along with our wine, red of course.
Being five of us we opted to share starters, the classic proveleta being a top priority. Grilled cheese, yes please.
Being the brave person that I am I also ordered the morcilla, the blood sausage, something even my Argentine friend was hesitant over. Though I used to be incredibly fearful of all things offal (vegetarian haggis right here) I first tried morcilla last year at a friend’s party not knowing what it was. I was happily a fan and upon discovering the ingredients decided to continue living in my denial. By the end of our starters everyone had tried a bit, to varying degrees of satisfaction…
Then came the pièce de résistance… My true true love, bife de chorizo. I always order it jugoso (medium rare) and this one was just pure perfection. Argentines don’t put much seasoning on their steaks as, to be honest, it isn’t really necessary. Typically it will be popped on the parrilla (grill) with just a little salt and nothing else. You can then add your own sauces as you wish but I find less is most definitely more.
Finally, we ended our meal with something sweet to share. Flan in Argentina is basically a creme caramel and they can be hit or miss with some being quite bland. This was most definitely a big hit and came with a very generous dollop of dulce de leche to liven things up even more.
Without a doubt Parrilla Peña was one of the best parrillas I’ve ever eaten at in Buenos Aires, if not the best. And all at a very reasonable price too, definitely not a typical tourist trap.
Argentina – you did me proud. Hasta la próxima…
How do you avoid tourist traps when abroad? What’s your favourite meal you’ve eaten overseas?