If you want to try really good beef while in Buenos Aires, you will definitely want to try out one restaurant: La Carniceria.
It’s located on Calle Thames, 2317 in the Palermo neighborhood, which is considered the city’s culinary center.
The concierge at the Intercontinental Hotel, where I stayed, told me the original La Carniceria started as a place that gained a following among taxi drivers, who always seem to know eateries that offer great food with good value.
Walking into La Carniceria evokes the sensation of entering a neighborhood spot to meet a friend for coffee and catch up on the latest gossip. But rather than stumbling into a local spot, what you find is world-class food.
In terms of decor, the rectangular space accommodates some 35 diners at mostly two-top tables with five bar stools where solo diners can gnosh. One One side wall features horizontal planks of what appears to be repurposed wood that features the name of the restaurant. Another wall features a larger-than-life sized image of beef slabs hanging in a meat locker.
The menu offers a variety of choices without being overwhelming. There are about five or six starters, among them : homemade chorizo, sweetbreads (called “mollejas” in Spanish) and Provoleta.
I tried the “mollejas”, or sweetbreads, which come from the cow’s thymus gland. The sweetbreads came fried with honey cane served atop a corn cake — and accompanied with yogurt and black garlic sauce. With every mouthful, you experience a taste of something warm, crunch, salty and sweet.
I also tried a traditional Buenos Aires dish: the Provoleta. Served in a wooden bowl, the provoleta came smoked and served with apear, salsa criolla, and garnished with arugula leaves. smattering of chimichurri sauce topped it.
Main courses all cost about $690 pesos. You can choose from boar, lamb or beef. I chose the parrilla cut, which is ribeye beef served “a la parrilla” (or grilled). I chose the ribeye. It came served as a sizeable hunk of grilled beef served on a rectangular wooden plank. The ribeye came accompanied by dollops of orange pumpkin puree and chimichurri sauces. It was tasty, moist and tender. The meat undergoes a 28-day dry-aging process that breaks down the meat’s fibers, making it more tender. Recommendation: share a serving as it is too much for one person to eat.
I paired a full-bodied red wine with the beef: the Vinas de Davales. The waiter explained the wine is made with a grape grown about 1700 feet above sea level. At this altitude, the grape develops a thick skin which creates a full bodied wine.
I also tried the cabbage. A half head of seared cabbage came served with a side of fresh broccoli heads, peas and arugula lightly doused in a garlic and olive oil sauce. It was nice to have a bit of fiber with all that beef!
If you have any room left, after plowing through the sizeable portions you will find at La Carniceria, try the Leche Asada. It is similar to a flan, made of caramelized condensed milk. It was baked with with a toasted layer on top. It came served with a dollop of chocolate sauce. The leche asada was sweet and sublime – and a perfect way to wrap up a meal.
For a great evening out in Buenos Aires in Palermo with really sensational food, try La Carniceria.
Dinner for two costs about $120 US. There are two seatings for dinner, at 8:30 and 10:30pm. Reservations are highly recommended.
That’s the lowdown!