“I don’t tell too many people about this place. I’m not sure they’ll ‘get it’ ” Patricia told us as we asked for her recommendation for the best Milanesa in town. And it was not an easy question, considering this is a town of 3 million people–14 if you count the greater Buenos Aires area. But as a Porteño and a hotel owner, she knows exactly what to recommend and what not to share, and we were glad she let us know about this little gem.
As luck would have it, the restaurant in question was only down the street from our hotel. It was the antithesis of fancy, with no sign or name on the outside, just a brightly lit cafe filled with workers, plumbers, electricians, and those searching for a good meal. Because of the strong exchange rate one can eat in Buenos Aires’ nicer restaurants every single day, but sometimes the glitz and glamour of places can wear thin, leaving you wanting something so completely normal, unfussy, and local.
To be perfectly honest, I didn’t spend much time with the menu. In fact, I don’t think I even looked at it. I was on a mission and I wasn’t going to be distracted. The friendly yet gruff waiter spoke to us with such speed and force that I immediately felt confused and it took a while for my brain to register that he had advised us to share our entrees. Like many things here in Buenos Aires, people are serious when it comes to their food. Thank god.
“Milanesa con papas fritas, por favor,” I said, while Adam went for the Napolitana version. While I generally agree that anything with cheese, ham, and sauce is an improvement, I was here to enjoy it in its most sublime form, garnished with only a lemon.
If you’ve never had Milanesa, let me break it down for you. It’s food from the gods, pure and simple. And while milanesa varies from region to region, here in Argentina it is a thin cut of beef that has been dipped in eggs, seasoned with salt, sometimes flour, and dipped into breadcrumbs then fried. It is very similar to schnitzel and remarkably close to chicken fried steak. Hmmm, could this be why I love it so much? Squeeze a bit of lemon juice on the meat, slice in and you’re in heaven. Especially when potatoes are standing by.
My milanesa was flavorful with just the perfect amount of outside crunch and inside tenderness. And I’m not embarrassed to say I ate the entire thing, potatoes included. We’ve since returned a few times, trying the bife de chorizo (excellent) and the sandwich de milanesa (yep, excellent too).
I must thank our host for introducing us to such an amazing place. If you’re ever in Palermo you must check out “El Bar Del Gallego”. It’s not fancy, it’s not fussy, but it’s always good.
“El Bar Del Gallego”, corner of Bonpland and Honduras in Buenos Aires.