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I would unhesitatingly recommend Olson over both Spirit and Nemo (both of which we tried on our first visit), which both specialize in seafood.

I've got some pictures of Olsen, including that outdoor seating area, that I'm going to have to dig up and post. You're right, it's a stunning setting for a meal. Sitting on that outdoor deck with candlelight, all the foliage, a "waterfall wall" and some amazing food is just an absolute pleasure. On our most recent visit, we only went for lunch. It also was the only restaurant where, when we asked about taking photos, we were told we could take them of anything BUT the food! We were cool with that though.

We had a chance to meet chef/owner German Martitegui. I recognized him from some magazine photos and saw him sitting in the center of the dining room on some couches, taking care of business. I don't think the comparison is exactly fair, because when you think of folks like Mario Batali, Bobby Flay, etc., you can't escape their rather overblown personalities, but I think it's somewhat fair to say that Martitegui is kind of an Argentine equivalent of these famous chefs.

He was very accomodating and pleasant and when we talked about Olsen and the food he was both modest and pleased we liked it, but also seemed to enjoy sharing a moment with fellow people who get kinda nutty about food. He speaks very good English, too, and tells us he enjoys spending time eating in NY when he's shuttling back and forth from his properties in BA and Madrid.

My experience at Nemo seems to be much better. We usually hit Dora for seafood but decided to try Nemo this time. The couple next to us, who recently moved to BA from the Pacific Northwest (and haven't even walked out of Recoleta yet) recommended we try the seafood platter for 2. They told us they eat at Nemo 3 times a week and have tried just about everything.

The seafood platter was big, and came with a selection of broiled and grilled fresh fish. Some of them we've heard of and knew. The others....well....we experimented. And we liked them all. Brotola, besugo, lenguado, mero, pacu, trucha and salmon. All cooked nicely, leaving juicyness and tender flesh. Came with some excellent rice that had a hint of lemon, and some grilled vegetable brochettes. For $79 pesos it was easily enough for both of us. Quenched the thirst with a bottle of Saint Felicien Chardonnay Elaborado en Roble (2004) for $59. And we still had room for dessert, which was very thinly-sliced pineapple, surrounded by a coconut creme - more like a foam/espuma - and a mango sauce. It was excellent. Very light and had a hint of sweetness. A perfect dessert item.

Question: Are there any squirrels in Argentina? I don't think I've seen any.

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Question: Are there any squirrels in Argentina? I don't think I've seen any.

I think the lack of squirrels may be related to the abundance of cats. I think the most surprising moment of our first trip was when we walked by a park at night and suddenly realized there was an army of cats looking out at us.

When we went to Nemo, we had the ocean tapas for 2 - it wasn't bad by any means, but we weren't blown away as we were at Olsen. Also, we were the only people in the restaurant for dinner (I think we went for a late-ish dinner on a weeknight), so the staff seemed eager to get rid of us.

Upthread, somebody asked about carpaccio - Bella Italia Cafe does a very good version (at least according to Owen, who went back for it two days in a row).

One recommendation that I haven't seen mentioned here yet - Juana M., on Carlos Pellegrini in Retiro. It is an enormous, cavernous space that seemed to be crowded every night of the week (but no need for reservations, at least in our experience) - over 2 visits, Owen tried various cuts of steak and seemed to like the ojo de bife best, and I tried the gnocci in a spinach alfredo sauce (very, very rich - not like that's a bad thing) and the "fish in a shirt," which was grilled brotolo in pastry. A word to the wise - their rendition of blood sausage is not for the faint of heart. The wine list was relatively short, but we enjoyed our Dona Paula malbec. The bill was laughably small, even by Argentine standards (undoubtedly one reason for the restaurant's popularity), maybe $60 pesos between us.

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I think the lack of squirrels may be related to the abundance of cats. I think the most surprising moment of our first trip was when we walked by a park at night and suddenly realized there was an army of cats looking out at us.

The Jardin Botanico is well known for its multitudes of feline residents.

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In our recent honey moon we went to Buenos Aires. Unfortunately it was during the farmers strike, which means the quality of the food was not the best in certain places. However, even during that time period we has some fabulous meals. I'm from there so I know my way around pretty well so here is a list of places one should eat at:

Cuartito- The pizza is sublime and the empandas are a must.

Bristo or Mercado (in the Faena Hotel)- The Bife the Chorizo and Patagonian lamb are the best I ever had. They also have a chocolate cake with molten chocolate and dulce de leche on top of a raspberry sauce with vanilla ice cream.....this was a once in a lifetime desert (i've had similar, but nothing like this.)

El Desnivel- great barbecue, but I had a problem with the amount of/lack of seasoning. Great chimichuri.

Marriot Plaza- Eat here....good all around.

Cluny's- The lamb ravioli, chocolate flan and chocolate mouse were brilliant.

Other thoughts:

Drink every malbec over $7 possible. They are all marvelous....why does wine cost so much over here??????

Drink the coffee at every coffee house, it was all good and the atmosphere was great.

I want my TOSTADOS!!!!! Eat as much of these as possible. Basically grilled ham and cheese, but the bread is completely different.

Pastries....well we need some more locales that see real/good pastries at a decent price.

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Heading to Buenos Aires and El Calafate in a few days. Anybody have any updates? Any information would be greatly appreciated.

ill be in BA and Mendoza next month so any advice appreciated! Restaurants, winebars, jazz clubs...

So many good choices in both locales. Here are some recs for BA.  Remember, pay cash and Dolar Blue is your friend.

High-end: Chila. Best restaurant in BA.  Superb, expensive but compared to the US, very cheap.

Experimental Cuisine: Aramburu - great cutting edge items; great value for what it is

Closed-Door Restaurants - BA has lots of these.  I particularly enjoy Ocho Once - superb value.  About $30 pp for multi course meal and wine.

Other options:

Hernan Gioppini "“ great food and great value

Alvear Palace "“ Afternoon tea "“ this is posh, no need to dress up though really.  Share one tea and order an extra tea "“ about $30

Don Julio "“ One of many steakhouses "“ arrive early or you wait (but they give you free beer).  I like this one the best.

Parilla Pena "“ near Recoleta "“ locals joint; no english really but english menu "“ Literally steak, two apps, desert and wine was $20 for 2.  I like it for lunch.

Ice cream- I cream is amazing in BA. Way better than the US.  The best are Volta and Arkako (unreal).

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Don Julio "“ One of many steakhouses "“ arrive early or you wait (but they give you free beer).  I like this one the best.

We received bubbly at Don Julio for the wait.

Parilla La Cabrera in Palermo Soho has a 1/2 priced "happy hour." Arrive at 7 PM and finish your meal by 8 PM all days of the week at 50% off entire check. It was well worth it and allows you to eat much ealier than normal (and faster). Here is someone's blog post that describes it: http://www.traveling9to5.com/2012/12/how-to-eat-an-argentina-steak-for-half-price-in-buenos-aires/ We enjoyed this meal but accidentally ordered a large avocado/hearts of palm salad that was much too large and cost as much as a steak.

Well in BA realize that the servers are happy for you to split entrees. We don't eat a ton, so at most restaurants we ordered one steak and some apps or sides and split the steak. That ended up being a perfect sized meal.

Also re Cash xoom.com just upped the exchange rate for legal cash transfers from dollars to ARS to 15.0405 versus the blue rate of 15.88 pesos. So if you are able to get to a zoom pickup point that's a good way to get your money without dealing with the Blue Rate folks... I never picked up my money and they refunded it (because I was unable to get to my desired site on Friday afternoon when I arrived and two other pickup points were closed on Saturday and I had another source of cash...)

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12 minutes ago, youngfood said:

Any recent reports from Buenos Aires or tips for Mendoza?

I have several recent travel guides if you want to save yourself about forty bucks.

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16 hours ago, DonRocks said:

I have several recent travel guides if you want to save yourself about forty bucks.

Happy to take them off your hands, but my experience has been that I get better recommendations here than I do in guidebooks.  

Did you go?  If so, please dish!  

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50 minutes ago, youngfood said:

Happy to take them off your hands, but my experience has been that I get better recommendations here than I do in guidebooks.  

Did you go?  If so, please dish!  

No, I was going to go this Spring, but there was too much going on - happy to give them to you. If you know CrescentFresh, he was *really* big into Argentina awhile back; not sure if he's still as involved with going there, but you might want to contact him.

(One of the guides is a Michelin Green Guide for Buenos Aires, so that will give you some touristy things to do.)

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