Food and Drink Fusion in Buenos Aires
Article by Nora Wallenius.
We all know that Buenos Aires is a gastronomical paradise.
We also know it’s a delicious beverage paradise, with world-famous wines, exciting cocktails, and artisanal beers available in bars small and large all over the city. Sometimes though, its hard to find that perfect balance between food and drink. Although I don’t have anything against generally tasty and cheap wine when I am dining at home, if you are going out for a nice dinner and order a perfectly cooked bife de chorizo steak you need to find the matching quality wine bottle. Similarly, you can’t just accompany a blended passion fruit martini with bland french fries- it’s a crime! There has to be a specific harmony to the pairings of food and drink that resembles more of an art form than simple picking and choosing. There are many restaurants that excel at this in Buenos Aires, so here are a few dining experiences you must check out:
High Class Dining
In between a high-class restaurant and a closed-door dinner, Casa Coupage is something out of a gastronomia fairytale. After numerous recommendations by coworkers and fellow writers, I finally planned my night at Casa Coupage. The setting was romantic and cozy, the staff was attentive and knowledgeable, and the plate designs and originality were out of this world. At the end of the night though, what shined through my alcohol-induced fogginess was the exquisite selection of wine and the combination of flavors each pairing brought. Santiago, a wine connoisseur from Buenos Aires, explained each selection as it arrived with the food, even encouraging us to play with a smell test of scents.
During the numerous courses, we were given two glasses of wine, to compare the different flavors by themselves and then with the food. Imagine confit rabbit wrapped in parma-style ham with dehydrated cherry tomatoes accompanied with a fresh and sweet Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon from Valle de Uco, Mendoza. My favorite plate of the night was the baby squid stuffed with ground corn and red sausage atopped with a hogao tomato sauce. This flavor explosion was paired with a Blanc de Noir rosado from Bodega Lagarde, a very original Argentine rosado that left me wanting more. The staff at Casa Coupage make sure that everything you taste is according to your liking, taking into account your likes and dislikes, and what you are looking for in the meal. Now that’s attention to detail.
- Humboldt 1550, Palermo Hollywood
When my serious seafood cravings hit, I knew it was time to check out Olaya, way more than just your typical Buenos Aires Peruvian/Japanese “fusion” restaurant. Definitely top five meal experiences I have had in Buenos Aires, Olaya won my heart each delicacy at a time. The evening started off with a complimentary pisco sour for our entire table. I am not normally a huge fan of pisco sours, but this this pisco sour was sweet, sour, with a touch of cinnamon, and rocked my socks off. The pisco sours were accompanied with a welcome snack of fried chicken and spicy peppers. Yes. As we were a group of six, we tried the appetizer boats, the best way to sample as much variety of the cooking as possible. Two boats arrived, Toshiro’s Nikkei boat that is Japanese infused and Melchora Cevichero, with more traditional Peruvian flavors. Following our waiter’s suggestions we chose a Torrontes chilled white wine for the seafood. Refreshing to cool our tongues from some of the spicier items, and sweet enough to balance the sea food’s saltiness, it was the perfect choice for our dinner. Some of my favorites from the boats were the trio of causas, nigiri octopus rolls, fried shrimp and avocado dip, and ceviche mix. Branch out with an innovative cocktail like Chilcano with Jagermeister to begin the after-party.
Down Home Dining
- Gorriti 4389, Palermo
I am constantly on the hunt for a good beer in this town. A regular ol’ Quilmes just doesn’t cut it, and I have drank my fair share of Stella Artois. Time to find a great tasting, yet inexpensive, artisanal beer in Buenos Aires. I have found it, and it happens to come alongside of some of the best food served in Buenos Aires. NOLA is the dream creation of one ex-pat Liza from New Orleans who decided to bring Southern style food to BA. Broeders beer is founded by two brothers, Marcelo and Francisco, and has a variety of flavors from Golden Ale, to IPA, to my personal favorite Strong Honey Ale. The menu is simple in concept but bursting with flavor. Perfectly fried chicken, gumbo, cornbread, spicy chicken wings, and more. Add honey mustard or an array of spice sauces to your pleasing. Wash it all down with a beer of your choice, and you’ve got the NOLA experience. This won’t break your wallet, as prices encourage more than one round for the group (especially during Happy Hour!).
- Honduras 5774, Palermo Hollywood
Itching for some bold flavors from our neighbors in Brazil? Head over to Boteco do Brasil, an authentic boteco with live samba music, delicious plates, and dangerously enticing Brazilian drinks. Try the chicken stroganoff, a creamy chicken stew and noodles or one of the salgadinhos, small salty pastries filled with chicken or shrimp. You can’t go wrong with the famous Feijoada, a large platter of beans, rice, pork and meat, with a little fried dough of heaven. I know it sounds crazy, but ALL of these options are perfectly complemented by the passion fruit or lime Caipirinha. The godmother of all Brazilian drinks, the caipirinha is simple at heart- sugar, lime and cachaca. It bursts with sour and sweet flavors, cooling down the salty and rich food. Trust me, its heaven.