A wine bar? A closed door restaurant? A steak place? Dinner in Argentina runs from 9 pm to 1 am, and the night has just begun. You’ve got to hit the late night scene after that. The bars open sometime after 2:00am, with the really good “early bird” deals and free drinks available until 3 am.
Then the crowds start to pour in, the tunes kick into high gear, and everyone dances until…well, sometime after the sun comes up. If this is the case then, you’re going to be famished. And let’s be honest – hung over and craving a good old North American dirty breakfast of eggs benedict, bacon, and the greasy works. Not to mention coffee that’ll really knock your socks off.
Of course, you may have heard a few myths about BA brunch culture…which we’re about to bust right now.
Lies, I tell you! Sure, the whole idea of brunch in BA is still taking some time to catch on. But yes, they do!
But just look to Brothers Hernan and Dario, who opened Malvon Serrano back in 2006. Their goal was to bring the best of North American brunch to Argentina: San Francisco’s eggs benedict and New York’s bagels being the inspiration. After eight years, they have two locations and an evolving concept that keeps breakfast lovers coming through their doors.
The restaurant is big, but somehow cozy. There are kitchy things you might find in your grandmother’s basement (think a giant virgin Mary candle) mixed in with some cool local art (like painted cow skulls). All of this is set in a trendy, bright space makes you feel at home. There are classic brunch items – eggs benedict, smoked salmon – but co-owner Hernan explains that “Argentinians needed more meat.” So ribs and burgers are also on the brunch menu.
Brunch in Argentina is supposed to be a drawn out affair. They’d like you to sit, be comfortable, and invite all of your family to hang out too. Your brunch will start with coffee, a selection of house-made breads with strawberry butter, fruit salad with a crunchy cereal topping and sweet sticky sauce, a corn bread muffin and a choice of lemonade or wine. Yes, all of this before your main course. Leave it to the Argentinians to suggest wine with brunch. You’ll need at least two hours for this meal, and that is absolutely by design.
The blackened salmon is perfectly blackened with a flavourful creole crust. It has just enough punch and is smartly paired with a cooling citrusy salad of quinoa and fresh vegetables. My brunch buddy thinks this is too heavy of a meal for this time of day, but come on, it’s actually 2 pm! Her eggs benedict arrives steaming, with house-made smoked salmon. The combination of eggs, salmon, and hollandaise sauce melts in the mouth. This is also the only place in the city that serves popovers – an impressive Yorkshire pudding-style bowl filled with breakfast goodness. I want to try everything!
Malvon is a the place where neighbhours have their daily coffee, where families gather to celebrate birthdays, and where anyone craving a good old American breakfast with an Argentinian twist should be. Malvon has also evolved their concept to include a back yard bakery and take-out counter where the locals stop by for fresh artisanal bread.
Details : Malvon Confiteria
Lafinur 3275, Palermo, Buenos Aires and Serrano 789, Villa Crespo, Buenos Aires
This lie has some truth. There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of great neighbourhood cafes in Buenos Aires. The café culture is fantastic. Whatever your mood and whichever area of town you’re crusing, there’s a spot for you.
Lie #3: You can’t get a decent cup of coffee in Buenos Aires
If you’re discerning at all in your coffee selection, you’ll be disappointed in this city. The flavour range is close to nonexistent. There is no nice way to say this: the coffee horrifically bitter tasting. Once you notice it, you can’t forget it. Every sip hits only one note on your taste buds — it is reminiscent of coffee left on the back burner of a gas station in a sleepy little town, overnight.
There are a few hidden gems though, such as LATTEnTE Café in Palermo Soho, the centre of Argentinian hipsterville. When a cappuccino arrived at the table, it had a heart design in the foam. This is evidence of a true barista. The flavours were surprising: bitterness was there, but it had friends. Sweet. Nutty. Chocolaty. All of the flavours a palate could ever ask for. There is a chalkboard on the wall where guest leave love notes for the café; we are not alone in our admiration. Today’s note reads”‘mejor café del mundo/best coffee in the world.”
If you’re spending an afternoon wandering the trendy shops of Palermo Soho, wander down Thames street to find Café Latte’n’te. For your first visit, don’t be too surprised if they remind you of the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld. Trust us though, it’s worth it.
Details: LATTEnTE Café
Thames 1891, Palermo Soho, Buenos Aires