The Best Meal I Had in Argentina…
I may be a travel writer, but I rarely write about food. It just doesn’t interest me like hiking & adventures do! BUT ~ the meal I had at Buenos Aires’ famed Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt, takes the cake for the BEST meal I had in Argentina…HANDS DOWN!! I still remember it to this day ~ over six months later. And I didn’t just spend a weekend in Argentina: I was there for two months. So when I say that this was the best meal I had in Argentina, I’m speaking from experience…
My Problem with the Food in Argentina
Overall, I was HUGELY disappointed with the food in Argentina. This SHOCKED me. Unofficially known as the “Beef Capital of the World,” I thought I was going to love it there. I envisioned myself drinking wine & eating fabulous steaks nightly.
Never make assumptions when you travel.
90% of the meat I had in Argentina was tough, flavorless, & too well done (they don’t ask how you like it prepared). Though Argentinian cattle have been grass-fed for hundreds of years ~ nowadays, the majority of cattle are raised on feed lots, just like in the States. What does this mean? It means that cattle are basically living on top of each another (instead of roaming freely), standing in their own feces, being pumped full of antibiotics, to “avoid” illness. If you want true, grass-fed beef these days in Argentina ~ it’s hard to come by, & costs a fortune.
Additionally, I found that too many dishes were covered in cheese ~ even when it wasn’t specified on the menu. Fatty, fried foods were prevalent (like pizza, pasta, empanadas, etc.) ~ but healthier foods, like salads & veggies, were MUCH harder to find, & mediocre at best. It was also difficult to find fresh fruit in Argentina, which was disappointing, as fruit is so plentiful in countries like Peru & Colombia.
If you can afford to spend big bucks nightly ~ you can obviously find great meals in Argentina, particularly in Buenos Aires. But if you don’t want to spend $50+ per night, & just want more of a “normal” meal ~ I personally found it very difficult to do at a lower price point.
The Best Meal I Had in Argentina…
Okay, so now that I’ve given you the backstory on my NON-love affair with Argentinian food, let’s go back to my first night in the country. My friend, Nina, & I got off the plane from Peru, landed in Buenos Aires, & immediately set out for the Palacio Duhau. We were chomping at the bit to check out this amazing palace for ourselves…
Upon arrival at the Palacio, disheveled & worn out from our overnight flight, we were encouraged to freshen up & visit their signature restaurant that evening: Duhau Restaurante & Vinoteca. What a great decision that turned out to be. Not only was it the best meal I had in Argentina ~ it’s one of the best meals I’ve had in my life.
After the sun set (Argentinians eat late), we entered the restaurant’s romantic interior, noted its gorgeous wine racks, & were escorted out to their elegant terrace, nestled between the Palacio’s two main buildings. It was a warm January night in the midst of an Argentinian summer, & the “good air” that Buenos Aires is known for, wafted gently through the courtyard, filling us with ease after a long day of travel.
Palacio Duhau Heaven…
To start, we shared a bottle of Luigi Bosca Sauvignon Blanc, which complimented the balmy evening. Then things started to get really good. It was recommended that we had to try their signature appetizer, Smoked Gouda Provoleta. Smoked cheese?! I thought. Wayyy too decadent for me. But because of rave reviews, we went for it.
OH. My. GOODNESS.
Their smoked cheese dish was one of the most perfect things I’ve ever put in my mouth. HEAVEN. When Nina tried it, we must’ve sounded like fools, because we were “oohhhingg” & “ahhhinggg” like a couple of drunk baby shower attendees. In retrospect, I believe it would be near-impossible to put that cheese in your mouth & NOT be ecstatic.
On to main dishes: Nina ordered black hake that was OUT of this world. Slightly crunchy on the outside, moist & mouth-watering on the inside….the way I can NEVER get fish (or even chicken) to cook on my own!? It was divine. As for meat, the Palacio’s offerings are as good as you’ll find in Argentina: they offer top-of-the-line Wagyu Argentinian beef or Black Angus. But it’s the way they prepare it that stands out: in traditional, Argentinian-grilled style, giving it the rich flavor I often found lacking in much of the meat I ate in Argentina.
Because we were so full ~ dessert sounded like a bad idea. But because dinner had been so outrageously good, we couldn’t resist squeezing in a few bites of sorbet. More heaven. Starting my trip with a meal of this caliber set the bar extremely high, & unfortunately ~ I wasn’t able to replicate it anywhere else I went in Argentina.
The Best Meal I Had in Argentina…at the Palacio Duhau
I want to hear about the best meal YOU had in Argentina! I know there are other amazing restaurants out there ~ I believe in Buenos Aires alone, there are over 5,000 restaurants! I’d love to hear about other amazing Argentinian meals waiting to be had…so let me know in the comments below where some of these gems are!
Read Next: Best Milongas in Buenos Aires!