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Where to Eat During Winter’s M.E.S.A. de Estación

Argentina's leading seasonal eating initiative is back.

By | [email protected] | July 22, 2019 11:58am

MESA de Invierno 1Photo via MESA de Estación
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News flash: Apparently, it’s winter! You wouldn’t know it based on the unseasonably warm temperatures that have been racking Buenos Aires the last few days, but yes. We’ve all busted out our best Lenny Kravitz scarves, huddle around our weak-ass estufas, and wrap our hands around steaming mugs of mate cocido as a means to pass the time. As usual, however, with a new season comes a renewed excuse to participate in M.E.S.A. de Estación, the fantastic food initiative that has spread from Buenos Aires to the rest of Argentina, showcasing the country’s bounty of seasonal produce through the talented hands of its most illustrious chefs.

Photo via MESA de Estación

Hopefully by now you know the drill. A few select products are chosen each season – this past autumn, it was time for sweet potatoes, walnuts, mushrooms, and mandarin oranges to have their moment in the sun – and chefs around Argentina are given free reign to create special menus that demonstrate their versatility and flavor. In a country that *still* has a hard time understanding that vegetables can be downright delicious, M.E.S.A. plays an extremely important role in transforming the collective consciousness.

This time around, 89 restaurants in Argentina are taking part from Tuesday, July 23 through Monday, July 29. The ingredients in the spotlight? Broccoli, spinach, ginger, and lemon. Basically, everything you need to boost your immunity during the coldest months of the year. What more could you want? And before you whine that these events only take place in Buenos Aires, take note of the other cities participating: Cipolletti, Córdoba, Mar Del Plata, Mendoza, Neuquén, Posadas, Rosario, San Martín De Los Andes, and San Patricio Del Chañar. I don’t even know where that last one is, so thanks Google Maps!

So without further ado, dive in and enjoy our recommendations for where to eat during M.E.S.A. de Estación in Buenos Aires. This is just a tiny snippet of the overwhelming amount of restaurants involved this winter, so be sure to check out M.E.S.A.’s website and Instagram for more details.

El Preferido de Palermo

 

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Consider this your excuse to check out one of the city’s most emblematic restaurants that just reopened after an extremely tasteful facelift. After the historic bodegón closed its doors in December 2018, one of Palermo’s most charming corners faced an uncertain fate. Luckily it’s been rescued from the dangers of abandon by Pablo Rivero and Guido Tassi. You might recognize Rivero as the head of Don Julio, the parrilla that just earned the No. 34 spot in the World’s 50 Best Ranking. The kitchen is led by chef Martín Lukesch and stays true to its classic roots as a neighborhood watering hole serving classic dishes with high-quality ingredients. The dishes they’ll be preparing for M.E.S.A. feature house-made morcilla with chicory and lemon (AR $360), sautéed spinach (AR $200), and baked broccoli (AR $200). El Preferido’s interior was done by none other than Eme Carranza, meaning your eye will be as satisfied as your panza when you’re done.

El Preferido de Palermo | Borges 2108 | Tel: 4774-6585 | Instagram 

Nuestro Secreto

Hopefully you haven’t spent all of your aguinaldo just yet (right? C’mon, man). Put on a clean pair of pants, iron your best shirt, and kick those ratty sneaks to the side for just one night. Head on down to Nuestro Secreto at the Four Seasons for a night of accessible luxury. Chef Patricia Ramos has lots of seasonal treats in mind, including broccoli buñuelos with remoulade and Sriracha aioli (AR $535), bondiola marinated in ginger and honey, served with cauliflower and sweet potatoes, and a spinach pesto (AR $760), followed by a lemon sabayon with a ginger spiced biscuit (AR $365). Of course you can order a la carte, but everything sounds just so tempting you can get the entire menu for AR $1,450. Stop rolling your eyes; I know you spend more than that in an average month on room-temperature beer and Ubers home from your chongo’s house.

Nuestro Secreto at the Four Seasons | Posadas 1086 | Tel: 4321-1200 | Instagram 

Casa Cavia

OK, we need to talk. Casa Cavia is perhaps the most beautiful restaurant in all of Buenos Aires. No, seriously. It’s like you’re stepping into another dimension, where inflation doesn’t exist, where there are no baldosas flojas or dog poop plaguing the sidewalks, and where cabs don’t smell like old man farts. Do yourself a favor and get yourself to Casa Cavia at least once in your life, posta. Chef Julieta Caruso is *actually* a magician, so you can expect this M.E.S.A. menu to go above and beyond the call of duty. Start off with a spinach carpaccio with “impregnated” (?) apples, hazelnuts, and Patagonzola cheese (AR $580); move on to your main with the fresh catch of the day served with roast vegetable jus and potato, broccoli, and olive purée (AR $850). For dessert, tuck into a lemon extravaganza: lemon slices, lemon sorbet, and a dill-lemon infusion (AR $240). Don’t think, just book. You can thank me later.

Casa Cavia | Cavia 2985 | Tel: 4809-8600| Instagram

Oh No! Lulú

Who doesn’t love a tiki bar? Honestly, how can you not love a place that oozes summery vibes and buena onda, especially in the middle of a dreary Buenos Aires winter? We’ve already written about how we love Oh No! Lulu, so if you haven’t had a chance to pop in for a goblet of rum punch just yet, now’s your chance. Chef Marco Suárez is ready to bring seasonal goodness to the well-established tropical atmosphere, meaning you won’t go hungry as you sip a cocktail or three. How does a tartare of marinated salmon with shallot and lemon, served over fresh spinach with a ginger vinaigrette, portobello pickles, and cured egg yolk (AR $355) sound? What about rice noodles sautéed with broccoli, garlic-ginger beef, soy sauce, miso, and rice wine (AR $380)? Treat your sweet tooth: the lemon roll comes with ginger syrup and lemon merengue (AR $220). Throw on your best Hawaiian shirt, order the drink that comes in the ceramic shark, and boogie your way out of the winter blues.

Oh No! Lulu | Aráoz 1019 | Tel: 4774-4543 | Instagram

Chiuso

Italian cuisine and seasonal eating go hand-in-hand, truly. It’s one of the best places to visit if you’re keen to stuff yourself silly on hyper-local, mega-fresh, over-the-top flavorful food. Brb, booking a trip right now. If you can’t make your way down to the Med anytime soon, Chiuso will scratch that itch, cara mia. Situated right in Retiro with a privileged view of Plaza San Martín, this little gem is one of my favorite best kept secrets, though I’m sharing it with you because I love you. Enjoy a soup of broccoli and roasted garlic (AR $300), mushroom malfatti with blue cheese and fresh spinach (AR $303/$455 for a half or whole portion), and if you want to move right to dessert, get the ricotta cake with lemon and ginger (AR $150). If you need to book a power lunch with an important client (or your bestie), or just want to get out of your Palermo #bubble, Chiuso is the best place to do so. Bonus points for its fresh and interesting wine list.

Chiuso Ristorante | San Martín 1153 | Tel: 4311-7652 | Instagram