One of the things we were most excited about in Argentina was the food, and Mendoza did not disappoint. We had pizza, steaks, plenty of Malbec and even found a craft brewery. But by far our best experience was at the closed-door restaurant Oseiscuatrosiete.
While biking around to some wineries one day we met another young American couple who told us about the closed-door restaurant scene in Argentina and invited us to dinner with them the following night. Closed-door restaurants are typically intimate, multiple course, gourmet dinners in a chef’s home. They essentially blur the line between dining out and a dinner party.
Oseiscuatrosiete was in a small, unmarked house in a residential area of Mendoza. The chef’s name was Jesus and he was a one-man show; he did all the hosting, cooking, serving and clean up himself in his tiny kitchen. We were seated cozily around a table in the living room and were the only guests that evening, though he did have two other rooms that could seat a few more guests if needed. Jesus did not speak much English so we were thankful Glenn could translate for us, but Jesus was such a lively character!
We were served appetizers, bread and oil, olives, a salad, homemade pasta with pesto, pork with potatoes and a parfait for dessert. We arrived at 9 p.m. and didn’t leave until after midnight. Overall an amazing and memorable experience! Trip Advisor is a great place to find closed-door restaurants in Argentina.
Along Calle Aristides Villanueva there are a lot of restaurant options. We stopped in at Antares Brewery, a craft brewery (also one in Palermo in Buenos Aires) because it had great reviews and we wanted to try some local beers. The place was packed! We tried the scotch ale and the barleywine and though they didn’t quite compare to what we’re used to in Colorado, they weren’t bad. There’s a daily happy hour and luckily our server told us it ended at 9p.m. if you sit at the bar versus 8:30p.m. in restaurant area (we arrived about 8:35). Every table seemed to be ordering the same dish, so we got one for ourselves and it was basically an Argentinean version of loaded cheese fries.
The cheese fries didn’t quite hold Caleb over so he tried a ‘Super Pancho’ later that night, a giant hot dog with your choice of sauces and toppings for about $1.25.
On our final day in Mendoza we still had yet to get a steak dinner and were quite hungry after jumping off the side of a mountain, aka paragliding, so we went back to Aristides Villanueva to see if anything was open around 5 p.m., since we had to catch an overnight bus at 7 p.m. They eat very late in Argentina, usually restaurants don’t even open until 8 p.m. and get busy around 10:30 p.m. We found Josefina open, which is also a cooking school. Despite the lovely decor and free flutes of champagne, we weren’t crazy about the food. They actually brought Caleb the completely wrong entree but he was a good sport and ate it anyway.
Argentina is also well known for great pizza and we enjoyed a white pizza with grilled onions on our first night in town in another popular restaurant area, I believe called Sarmiento. Empanadas are also a local favorite and our favorites (possibly because we scarfed them down after a day of wine tasting and they were incredibly cheap) were at La Botella in Maipu. Also in Maipu we enjoyed a spread of olives, tapenade and olive oils with bread at Laur. I never knew I liked olives so much!
The food in Mendoza definitely lived up to the hype!