Best Argentinean Steak
Replies: 14 - Last Post: Feb 12, 2013 8:25 AM Last Post By: nosmoker
Feb 3, 2013 1:15 PM
Best Argentinean SteakEveryone's heard about how good the steak in Argentina is, so looking for recommendations on the best steaks. I run a steak club in London, so know my way around a good grill. I'll be in Salta, Mendoza, Cafayate or Buenos Aires, please help with Argentina's best steak recommendations?
Feb 3, 2013 2:18 PM
1I like Las Cabras in Buenos Aires. It's in Palermo, intersection between FitzRoy and El Salvador. Subte Italia.
Seriously though, it's hard to find a bad steak in BA. My favourite Argentine cuts are entraña (skirt) and cuadril. Steak is commonly very well done so ask for it jugoso if you like it pink!
Feb 3, 2013 2:30 PM
2Unfortunately, here in Mendoza they tend to burn steaks like heck. Jugoso just means brown instead of black here, ask for it rojo if you want it pink.
In Mendoza, the tradition for asado (BBQ on steroids) is to use wood (laña ) instead of the charcoal (carbon) they use in BA in the parilla (grill), and put jarrilla (a desert shrub) in the fire to give it a distinctive taste.
Argentineans do not normally complain, in restaurants or elsewhere. However, sending a steak back is the one honored exception, in fact a right, so do not worry about sending it back if not done the way you like it.
Feb 4, 2013 12:11 AM
3Don't believe the hype. Overcooked and when you do get a good one it's usually at a considerable premium. Compared to a decent churrasco in Brazil, Argentine steak is rubbish. Good meat, they just don't know how to cook it and of course it's the land that spice and condiments forgot.
Feb 4, 2013 12:32 AM
4In Salta try La Monumental. Ask a local where to find it, as it's not near the main tourist areas and not a very flashy, modern type of place that would normally attract tourists, but that's where I ate one of the best steaks of my trip through Argentina.
Feb 4, 2013 2:27 AM
5While I am sorry that #3 perhaps had some substandard steaks, in general I must disagree with him or her. It's a pretty strong statement to say that Argentina steak is "rubbish, even in relative terms. Yes, there is strong tendency to overcook but I know a lot of Europeans and Americans who feel faint at the though of rare steak. If you want it rare ask for it rare, and as mendocinateacher says, just send it back if you're not satisfied it's been done to your liking. I was always very clear that I wanted the inside still very pink. The flavour of Argentine steak has always, in my experience, been lovely. I'm half French and I know a good steak when I eat one. We ate a lot of gorgeous beef in Argentina. I live in Britain, so found the prices to be perfectly reasonable - you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. I paid under 60 pesos for many a steak in Argentina which in London would have cost me £20 or more.
#3 makes a valid point about how nice Brazilian churrasco is, but I would also like to mention the fact that cattle farming has caused and continues to cause environmental damage in Brazil on a catastrophic scale easily surpassing Argentina. Morally I feel happier eating Argentine or Uruguayan beef (bearing in mind that eating meat per se is not the environmentally friendliest activity) than Brazilian.
Try to have different cuts: sticking to bife de chorizo gets a little boring.
Now go and eat meat!
Feb 4, 2013 3:32 AM
6I've eaten quite a few steaks in Argentina. Two were vaguely memorable and both were in a price range that, I doubt most locals would relish, in fact they compared badly with what one would pay in Australia, somewhere considerably more expensive than Argentina in general terms and somewhere that produces beef of superior quality. I've also requested my steaks rare and at least one occasion sent the (not so) bloody thing back. Interestingly enough I had a steak in an Argentine restaurant in Australia last year and it was very good. Incomparably better than the fare I've had served up to me in Buenos Aires, strange but true.
A typical parilla doesn't provide the variety or value for money of a decent churrascaria. Almost invariably they provide a buffet with a range of options and then there's the variety of meat served, not just two or three types of burnt offering and an indifferent blood sausage. Sorry I've eaten meat across Brazil from home style BBQs in GO to some of the better restaurants in Rio SP, Salvador etc as well as a lot of quite simple ones as well. I've not encountered a steak in Argentina that comes close.
I'm not sure French provenance gives any greater insight into the consumption of steak. Steak and chips is actually pretty hard to make a fist of and I can't imagine steak tartare ever becoming a staple meal in Argentina
BTW Cattle farming actually causes less environmental damage than soy bean production, which is one of the leading causes of the loss of biomass in Brazil. Nice fact to tease vegetarians with (OK most soy doesn't actually go into tofu burgers but it should wipe the smug look off their faces for a while)
Argentina is good destination to visit but I wouldn't go there on the strength of it's steak, which I honestly think is fairly unremarkable when it isn't badly prepared. Everyone's mileage will differ on this one.
Feb 4, 2013 4:18 AM
7As a professed carnivore I agree with your last sentence even if I disagree with all the others! Totally agree that there are FAR better reasons to go to Argentina than the food (which in many ways - the absence of vegetables in restaurants, the apocalyptic awfulness of the cheese, provoleta excluded). I think the conclusion is that Brazil has good and bad steak, and Argentina has good and bad steak. We both got lucky in different countries!
Re. environmental damage I was comparing Argentine beef and Brazilianf beef. I am a high-school Biology teacher so your disapproval of soybean farming is one I share!!! I don't tease vegetarians as, on the whole, the whole food efficiency debate puts them in the right and meat-eaters in the wrong...whoops!
And French steak??? If it's done well (and not well done!) steak in France is yummy. Bavette d'aloyau is particularly scrumptious. My reference to being half-French was more a tougue-in-cheek reference to French people famously not settling for sub-standard food!! The other half of me is British, who are famous for not complaining even about revolting restaurant food!! Talk about a world apart.
Anyway, back to the OP. Las Cabras served me a yummy mixed grill and it's in a nice part of Buenos Aires which is worth a mosey around. South America will never approach SE Asia from a culinary point of view, but there are still some delicious treats to be had.
Feb 4, 2013 7:59 AM
8i wouldnt be the biggest steak eater but certianly 2 great and well known steak houses i ate in were Desnivels in BA and Viaje Jacks in Salta
Feb 5, 2013 1:48 PM
9The best restaurant in the southern cone was El Ferrocarill in Montevideo. It is now gone.
Personally, I much prefer Brazilian food.
Feb 5, 2013 9:38 PM
10A subject close to my heart. I ate my way across Argentina and the best steak I had was at La Cabrera in Buenos Aires - a bit pricey but absolute perfection. Book a reservation as soon as you land.
In Cafayate, a slow dinner outside at Terruno as the sun sets on the village square is everything I dreamed Argentina would be. The steak's not bad either
Feb 6, 2013 5:45 PM
11The absolute best bife de chorizo I ever ate was at the Puerto Iguazu bus station. Go figure.
Feb 12, 2013 8:01 AM
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