Argentines surely love their bife or beef. Parrillas or steak houses are everywhere practically occupying every section of a city block. We love a good juicy steak and couldn’t wait to start our Argentine Atkins diet. Luckily for us two of the best parrillas happen to be in the Palermo neighborhood: La Cabrera and Don Julio. Yay for us for that great strategic planning.
The Tourist Parrilla
Mentioned in every guidebook, food blog and restaurant list, we made reservations at La Cabrera, and were seated with the other throngs of tourists who obviously read the same guidebook, blog etc. The menu was extensive ranging from every type of meat to pasta. D ordered an Ojo de Bife (Rib Eye) and G ordered Bife de Chorizo (sirloin). Just to balance things out we also ordered a salad. The steaks were huge and we could have easily ordered one to split between the two of us. The quality of the meat was top-notch and cooked a perfect medium rare (jugoso).
What didn’t really work for us, however, was the mish mash of side dishes and sauces that came with the dish. There were like 5 different sauces ranging from tangy to overly sweet, a green pasty thing (avocado?) and we think mashed potatoes. We weren’t sure what to do with them as they didn’t seem to add to the meal. This, however, did not distract from the main attraction.
The pistachio cheesecake and chocolate was a perfect ending to the meal.
You say Pareeya, I say Parilah
Outside Don Julio, a Yanqui couple was viewing the posted menu on the window. The husband noted “ah, it’s a parilla” (which he pronounced pareeya and close enough to the Spanish pronunciation). His wife then “corrected” him, “it’s a parrilla” (which she pronounced like gorilla, just like a true clueless gringo would). We snickered behind them because that shit was hilarious, but sadly they were both wrong. In Argentina it’s pronounced more like parrisha. They were utterly unprepared Argentina’s unique brand of Spanish. Neither were we and G’s extremely rusty third grade Cuban wasn’t going to pass him off as a local.
A few days later we had lunch at the aforementioned Don Julio. This place is popular with locals and is no longer a secret as the parrilla is getting more mentions in guidebooks, etc. Their menu isn’t as extensive as La Cabrera’s, focusing mostly on meats and sides. This time we both ordered the Bife de Chorizo. The steaks were excellent and cooked a perfect medium rare throughout. It was so good!!
Don Julio steaks came with two complementary sauces, a red pepper & onion sauce and chimichurri.
D thought the steak at Don Julio was a smidgeon better than La Cabrera’s but it was hard to compare since she had two different cuts. G said they were equally as good though he thought La Cabrera was better seasoned.
Overall the two parrillas lived up to the hype though La Cabrera is a lot more touristy.
Footwork not fútbol
Argentina is crazy about their fútbol (soccer to you gringos) with good reason. Their national team won 2 world cups. So we were hoping to score tickets to see the local soccer (yeah, we’re calling it soccer) clubs play for the ultimate Argentine experience, but unfortunately it didn’t work out. So we settled for the next best thing, tickets to a sensuous dance exhibition with a different style of footwork: A Tango show at Esquina Carlos Gardel.
The show was an all out production with 12 dancers, multiple costume changes, singers and a live orchestra. We really enjoyed the intricate leg work and sensuous moves. Overall an entertaining night.
Esquina Carlos Gardel Tango Show
Daily shows. Offers a Tango show & dinner package or tickets to just the show. We bought tickets to the show only choosing stall seating. Included in the price are two drinks (water and glass of wine) and pick-up from your accommodation which was very convenient. We were seated in a booth off the left side of the stage. The people who had the dinner/show got the tables on the floor and had to look through peoples heads to see the show. I think we got a better deal with the seating. Overall nice experience. Wine was horrible.