Destination: Argentina: Buenos Aires
Olsen is an unexpected Nordic respite in the middle of Palermo Viejo. A door in a slotted-wood fence opens onto a lush green patio overgrown with vines. If weather permits, sit outside for the feeling that you’re dining in the middle of a forest. Inside, the double-height ceilings, white-painted brick and blond-wood walls and minimalist Scandinavian furniture provide a calming and romantic backdrop. The menu is a delicate take on comfort cuisine—roasted chicken, pork sandwiches, polenta and potato soup—plus your pick of fifty types of vodka.
Between its old-school dining room—crown molding, octagon-tiled floors, and lots of bronze and wrought-iron accents—and its waiters dressed in black vests and bow ties, this traditional Spanish restaurant looks fresh out of 1930s Madrid. And Oviedo’s authentic tortilla, cod and paella dishes are so scrumptious you’ll want to eat another meal here before you leave BA.
Argentine chef-restaurateur darling Francis Mallman lives part-time on the third floor of his tiny La Boca restaurant—a short block from Caminito. Designer Laura O. produced the loftlike, narrow dining room’s shabby-chic look, with leather walls, heavy velvet curtains, paintings, objets d’art and a library of 2,000 cookbooks. Enjoy a best-of list of beef from the Argentine pampas: classic cuts such as ojo de bife (rib eye), cuadril (tri-tip), vacio (flank steak) and tira de asado (short ribs). Also mouthwatering: king crab from Tierra del Fuego and white chernia from the South Atlantic. Patagonia Sur, which has only fourteen seats, serves lunch daily and dinner Thursday through Saturday.
Update: The Standard closed in April 2010.
The décor is swank and modern—as befits an establishment in the trendy Palermo district—but the ambience is cozy and the food, classic Argentinean.
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