As our time in Buenos Aires rolled to a close, Tim and I decided to dive our forks into what arguably could be the best beef in the world. The guidebooks warned us that Cabaña Las Lilas was expensive for Argentina standards and that the place is only frequented by tourists and the Buenos Aires elite, so upon considering a true Buenos Aires parrilla experience we figured we’d at least stop in and have a beer and scope out the place. We planned to eat at the competition a few doors down. Yet we didn’t want to leave BA without at least checking out Las Lilas. The waiter at the wine bar we visited a few nights back said that it was expensive — but worth it.
So arriving in the newly developed Puerto Madero neighborhood of Buenos Aires which sits along an old shipping canal we stopped into the competition and put our name on the list — we’d have to wait 40 minutes. Perfect. This gives us just enough time to have a beer over at Las Lilas. Walking into the restaurant which sits in an old but restored brick warehouse, we pass a large sculpture of a well-fed cow and into a dimly lit room with dark hardwood floors, a small bar with brass rail and the hustle and bustle of a packed waiting room. English speaking tourists we hear along with the token German and certainly Spanish. We find two seats at the bar and are quickly served tall Quilmes’s. Within minutes the bartender is shoving a plate full of small bite-sized chunks of beef with tooth picks. Then comes the sausage. Then some cheese. A bowl of peanuts is pushed in front of us, too. We learn there’s a thirty – forty minute wait here, too. Just for contingency we put our name on the list. Next, different cuts of bit-sized beef are thrown our way. Looks like we could sit at the bar and not even make a play for the dining room.
In fifteen minutes we’re hooked. The service, vibe and quality of the eats are just too compelling and we blow off the competition and wait for a table.
We’re glad we did. It was perhaps the best meal we had to date. Sure, we’d visited the tony fine dining establishments that you’d find in a city of Buenos Aires’ size. But this was meat. The parrilla taken to a new level. And the service was well beyond what you’d find in a typical Argentinean steak house. The food? Outstanding. We are taken to our table pass the open kitchen which sits behind glass. Everything is visible. Nothing hidden. Then we’re seated and in minutes a plateful of appetizers including more cuts of mean, dip, cheeses, olives, roasted peppers and more. We’re given a towering serving of bread which includes crispy crustini and cracker breads.
Then we’re given the wine list. It’s massive. And its on the best seller list. Perhaps on one of the top wine lists in Argentina, it takes a half-hour for Tim and I to narrow down our selections for the evening. We start with a chilled bottle of Torrontes from Cafayate in Salta Province. Then a Malbec from Mendoza. I’ll let the photos divulge the selections.
Afterwards we stroll along the boardwalk that sits next to the canal along vintage cranes once used to load and unload cargo from ships but now just sit, well lit and form a backdrop for this newly gentrified section of Buenos Aires. We walk across the Puente De La Mujer (Bridge Of The Woman) – – strictly a pedestrian bridge, designed by Santiago Calatrava, which borrows design elements from his famous but much more grandiose Alamillo Bridge in Seville Spain. While on the subject of Puerto Madero and women, it is important to note that virtually every street in Buenos Aires is named after men who played roles in the history of the city and the country. If the street isn’t named after a man, it’s after a date in history. So when Puerto Madero was planned and developed, beginning sometime in 2001, all the streets were named after women.
There’s no doubt that I’m finding BA very comfortable. I think I could stay here for awhile. But alas, we shall begin our trek sans moto to Chile, then Mendoza and finally another visit to San Carlos de Bariloce. It’s time to discover and adventure with friends.
“Donated by Alberto L. Gonzales and his family to this city of Buenos Aires, Santiago Calatrava’s Puente De La Mujer (Bridge Of The Woman) is the architect’s only work in South America. he bridge is abstractly meant to illustrate a couple dancing Tango, the man towering over the woman who is leaning back horizontally. The 335-foot-long suspension pedestrian bridge is broken up into three sections, two static and one mobile. The central portion of the bridge was designed to rotate 90 degrees to allow water traffic to pass, with the two static portions connecting to pedestrian streets on either side of the dam. Most of the bridge’s weight rests upon its central support, in which motors are located allowing the bridge to rotate. The bridge was primarily built in Victoria, Spain and taken to Buenos Aires in parts over five months.”
Not in Puerto Madero, but a notable architectural sculpture in Buenos Aires Palermo neighborhood is the Floralis Generica is a giant 23 meter and 18 ton sculpture made of steel and aluminum Like a real flower, the sculpture moves closing its petals at night and opens during the day. The sculpture built in 2002 was designed and donated to the city by BA architect, Eduardo Catalano.