As is the way with Buenos Aires, expect the unexpected. And it turns out that the VIP experience of private dining won’t bust the bank as much as you’d imagine.
If you take a closer look, an array of top restaurants hosts tucked-away salons hidden from common view or unusual spaces that don’t necessarily charge for the privilege of private dining, giving you access to all areas.
So next time you want to dine out with 10 of your closest friends — for a birthday or just for the hell of it — think Very Important Privacy, even if you’re not as important as your taste in salons denotes.
Roux Bistró, Recoleta
When Martín Rebaudino cut the ties with award-winning Oviedo after some 20 years, he opened Roux around the corner, on the corner. An intimate bistro serving à la carte as well as tasting menus with a strong line in fish dishes, Martín has recently unveiled Bajo Roux. Doubling up as a well-stocked wine cellar storing 850 bottles, this basement dining room seats 10 diners around a high table, backed up by the most comfy of stools — always a matter of importance.
During the course of an average day, Bajo Roux serves as an overflow space once the main room fills up and the table turns communal, an unusual yet always fun touch from an Argentine-led restaurant. But better is to book it for a special event with your best buddies at no extra cost — simply reserve ahead of time.
Tel: 011 4805-6794
After a lifetime known as Sirop led by chef Liliana Numer, and located on one of the cutest cul de sacs in town, the next generation has revamped it to open afresh as Harturo. Liliana’s daughter Agustina, and partners Rodrigo Sens and Mauro Greco Rossi, have simplified the menu to serve hearty yet well-designed dishes such as three-pepper bife de chorizo or pork ribs with pilau rice, and have also revamped the salon for a more kitsch and contemporary look.
Harturo’s second space is over the road, as it were, which is exclusively used for private events. Catering for a minimum of 10 people but accommodating up to 40 diners or 60 if it’s standing room only, Harturo only charges for the menu, meaning there’s no fee for renting the space. Whether it’s breakfast, brunch or a five-course menu, the space is yours and yours only, ensuring utmost privacy. A three-course menu, which includes wine, soft drinks and service, costs 690 pesos per person, for example, whether it’s for 10 or 40 diners.
Vicente López 1661
Tel: 011 4811-1107
Oporto Almacén, Nuñez
For a smart and contemporary dinner in a neighbourhood so distant from the likes of Palermo it will feel you’re in a different province, book into Oporto.
This hip three-floor eatery is always bustling so it pays to reserve the open-plan dining room for enhanced privacy and less hustle and bustle. While private spaces are often sultry or romantic, the first floor space is bright and breezy with windows lined by dozens of wines, showing off one of the restaurant’s strengths. The extensive dining table usually functions as a shared space, but book ahead to conquer it for you and your 11 friends’ own needs.
Chef Tomás Di Lello is in charge of the exquisite seasonal menu, and one particular highlight is the steak tartare (115 pesos) featuring lightly sautéed fillet, possibly the best in town. Look out for other contemporary yet hearty fare such as black hake with basmati rice, egg yolk and saffron (290 pesos), as well as magnet du canard (240 pesos).
11 de Septiembre 4152
Tel: 011 4703-5568
Club de Cocina de Fernando Mayoral, Villa Crespo
Ever wonder what happened to the chef at legendary Thymus?
Well, these days Fernando Mayoral divides his time between cooking classes and manning the ship at his private dining room. This is a different experience, given that it isn’t a restaurant per se. Formerly an open-air terrance, Fernando installed a roof to turn the space into a kitchen classroom and private dining room so, come night, the contemporary area complete with parrilla caters from eight to 20 diners, again, with the utmost of privacy for you and your guests.
A strategically placed, elevated mirror means you can watch the maestro at work, before tucking into either a three-course or five-course offering that’s prepared especially for you and your crew.
Think prawn and butter made with Dominican cocoa as a starter or a grilled rack of lamb from Santa Cruz with sweet potato puré and lemon salt. Soft drinks and Nespresso coffee is included, while the corkage fee is 50 pesos. A five-course menu costs 550 pesos for eight to 10 guests, 450 pesos for 11 to 14 guests and 400 pesos for 15 to 20 guests.
Tegui, Palermo Hollywood
Naturally Argentina’s top restaurant — which recently ranked 83 in the San Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurants list — has its own private quarters for a privileged few, and its red and black hues are akin to a cocooning in-the-womb experience. Located at the back of the establishment behind the busy kitchen, the private dining room resplendent with red velvet curtains and black cowhide chairs, also has a peeper element to it thanks to the window looking through to the cooks’ quarters, offering up your own personal culinary show. Also sporting its own terrace, diners can pop outside for a breath of fresh air, too, where you might catch a glimpse of chef patron and Masterchef judge Germán Martitegui.
Seating between six and 12 people, Tegui does require a 2,000-peso deposit, and given that the eatery only deals in tasting menus, that’s what you’ll devour. While five courses have cost 700 pesos and 1,000 pesos with four wine pairings up until now, that will change from July although the new price hadn’t been confirmed as of last week.
Costa Rica 5852
Tomo 1, Microcentro
A LatAm 50 best winner that ranked 23 in 2014, Tomo 1 cunningly divides into two spaces by simply closing an opulent curtain. The first floor restaurant — which originally opened in Monroe Street in 1971 before moving to Las Heras in 1982 – is led by Federico Fialayre and has been at its current location in the PanAmericano Hotel since 1993.
A stone’s throw from the Obelisk, Tomo 1 is low profile but those in-the-know return time and again for immaculate service and simple flavours brought up to date such as quail on a bed of endives or fillet teamed up with caramelized onions and cauliflower puré and its flowers. Book the private salon for free for at least 15 guests but invite up to 40. You can choose between dining à la carte and various tasting menus such as four courses with wine pairings for 650 pesos or the nine-course tasting menu, which includes a three-step dessert for 1,100 pesos.
Carlos Pellegrini 521
Tel: 011 4326-6698
Club El Don, Palermo Hollywood
For the ultimate in parrilla private dining, Club El Don is your answer. With two salons — one for up to nine people and the other for a more intimate six — this is a great budget option, given that you need to select a menu with a minimum 350-peso cost. If the delectable tapa de de ojo de bife is on the cards, definitely select this succulent steak.
Personalized service is guaranteed, given that co-owner Diego Lepera oversees all matters private dining, and thereby ensuring top-notch service that marks the difference. Both salons have an LCD television, perfect for catching soccer matches in private, as well as their own sound systems. Choose from the larger room adorned with a white table and chairs, or the more petit glass salon, where you can see out but people can’t look in.
Tel: 011 4774-7389
La Cava, Puerto Madero
Sashay down the lobby’s red carpet like you were meant to be Argentina’s Next Top Model, sweep through the white, unicorn-decked Bistro Sur dining room, weave your way past the kitchen and in the very bowels of the Faena Hotel is the La Cava. Wine is very much the focus of this sultry basement, given that the cellar is home to 5,000 labels that include organic and biodynamic products, and private dining matters are overseen by head sommelier Valeria Mortara.
La Cava can cater for between two and 18 guests who dine by candle-light, ensuring the ultimate in romantic dining. (Best just make a reservation for two, then…) Cosy ponchos are provided should the basement get a little chillsome.
Given that this is a tailor-made fit, you can choose the menu with a little help from the team, or simply let chef Rodrigo Vázquez surprise you with a sumptuous tasting menu. As this is a bespoke experience, consult the Faena fine dining team for prices.
Martha Salotti 445
La Locanda, Recoleta
After recently converting the basement into a private dining room, Sardinian chef Daniele Pinna now offers intimate dinners for up to 14 guests.
With a minimum 1,000 peso per head cost, rest assured you’ll be noshing down some of the most legitimate pasta and risotto dishes in the city.
José León Pagano 2697
Tel: 011 4806-6343
Buenos Aires Herald, July 5, 2015
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