Full disclosure here. I think Valentine’s Day is a fucking joke. It’s a made up holiday that commercializes affection and ostracizes single people, wrapping the whole thing up in a chocolate covered bouquet of consumerist bullshit. I mean, who even wins in this equation? When is the last time you chose a Hallmark card over an eggplant and winking face emoji? And what is a date spot, anyway? I like food. The girl I choose to date, God willing, is going to like food (or at least fake it enough to go out with me and let me finish her leftovers). And isn’t it a more special show of affection to go somewhere intimate on a day that hasn’t been arbitrarily chosen by some marketing genius?
But as the perpetually single man, que se yo. Also, I’m totally free and taking offers for a date on the 14th.
Roll out with the homies
You could sit at home, order a bunch of fried chicken from your Peruvian cantina of choice and finish binging that show you haven’t told anyone you actually watch. *Cough* This Is Us. *Cough* I’m legitimately ashamed of myself. But who knows what Trump will have done between now and the next 14 days and I’m not choosy about excuses for going out and drinking on a Tuesday night.
If you’re feeling salty, my advice is to stay as far from Palermo as possible. Bélgica (Av. Pedro Goyena 901) is a bar in Caballito marking a growing trend in the maddeningly monotonous brew pub culture — bars owned by actual brewers. The guys behind Juguetes Perdidos have been active in the local brewing scene for more than a decade and their unique philosophy of never brewing the same beer twice has brought their limited edition beers a cult following. A constantly rotating set of twelve beers and a full menu of mostly finger food are perfect for sharing. Another brewery trend that we hope continues to grow can be found over at Saigón Noodle Bar (Bolívar 986), a food forward bar that offers casual Vietnamese food like banh mi, bun, pho and nem and a solid selection of craft beer.
For all your other drinking needs, the picturesque cafe notable Bar de Cao (Av. Independencia 2400) has been offering up vermouth heavy cocktails long before it became trendy and has an extensive menu of shareable dishes. Los Galgos (Av. Callao 501) seriously stepped up its game when the owners of 878 stepped in to renovate the boarded up cafe notable. The menu is filled with typical porteño dishes with special attention to quality often organic ingredients and a classic drink selection. On the more experimental side, Doppelganger has consistently good cocktails and, my favorite, waiters smart (read: trained) enough to choose a drink for you if you don’t feel like sorting through their enormous cocktail list.
And if you simply feel like gorging, head to one of my two favorite classic Buenos Aires feast spots. Sarkis (Thames 1101) for a food coma inducing yogurt filled meal or La Mamma Rosa (Jufré 202) for all of the ravioli and pasta you can possibly stuff into your mouth. Kindly enough, the low lit Cava Jufré (Jufré 201) is right there for a red tinted night cap. If the hedonism isn’t meant to stop at the meal, San Bernardo (Av. Corrientes 5346) is close enough and you really have to be trying not to get hit on there.
Mira Vos, you have a significant other
It’s all good. I’m not really judging you for buying into this whole thing. We all fall into existentially questionable culture traps that often run counter to our core. Re: did you catch the bit about binging the Mandy Moore primetime soap opera This Is Us? V Day is an excuse to eat, and an even better day to go somewhere you wouldn’t on any ole Tuesday. An opportunity I would rarely (never) turn down.
If you aren’t positive if you actually fit into this significant other category because you’re still cruising in the what-actually-is-this phase, choose your plans wisely with something more casual and fun. Chori (Thames 1653) has a great bar atmosphere with a select choice of gourmet chorizo sandwiches and the cheapest [good] gin and tonics in the city. Bi-Won (Junín 548) is a reliable choice for Korean barbecue or bibimbap and a good test to see how adventurous your potential mate is. For a this is a date but not a date vibe, Parrilla Peña (Rodríguez Pena 682) is loud and smells of barbecue and smoke and serves up a spectacular bife de chorizo and homemade flan.
For the couple that doesn’t really care but feels obligated to go out, casual spots with surprising menus are a good choice. Cosi Mi Piace (El Salvador 4618) is an ace dates option. Choose a seat at the communal table to chat with your neighbors and enjoy casual disguised fancy pizza — order that morcilla and poached egg mess, fam. San Telmo bistro El Zanjón del Gato (Bolívar 690) has a wonderful small dishes shareable menu that is heavy on the extravagant food pairings and light on the wallet. The low-lit Sunae Asian Cantina (Humboldt 1626) is romantic without feeling over the top. It features a creative East Asian menu with a selection of wine that has been chosen nicely to pair with a more exotic and often spicier flavor palate. Plus, they have off menu soup dumplings.
For the serious food couples, this could be an opportunity to seek out something more adventurous: Flores. Kyopo (Aranguren 3053) is great for being able to be as fancy or unfancy as you want with options that run from a galbi steak and cocktail to greasy kimchi burgers and popcorn chicken. Nearby korean barbecue at Bab, Chinese-Korean cantina Castellum and typical dishes in a family home at Doma are all outlined here.
And for those that really treat this as a special evening, I still got your back. Las Pizarras (Thames 2296) is one of the datiest date spots in the city. A seriously under appreciated gem, the relaxed candle lit ambience sports a creative menu that is under constant tweaking. Similar vibes across town can be found at both Caseros (Av. Caseros 486) and Hierbabuena (Av. Caseros 454), the former a simple looking bistro with elegant twists on common porteño fair and the latter a chic vegetarian cafe.
For something more extravagant, Elena (Posadas 1086) at the Four Seasons has the service of a five star hotel coupled with an elevated take on porteño dishes including their coveted dry aged steak. Paraje Arévalo (Arévalo 1502) likewise offers stellar attention and a sommelier apt at pairing wines with a subtle tasting menu. For a truly treat yourself meal, Aramburu (Salta 1050) is a wild double digit tasting menu that never ceases to amaze. Their previous 18-course tasting menu didn’t miss a mark. Everything from the silverware to the lighting to the food itself was a dream.
AS A RULE, ALWAYS check ahead for special menus that may be the exclusive offer on Valentine’s Day. And don’t be silly, make a reservation early.