Story and photos by Manos Angelakis
Parrilla El Ferroviario
Reservistas Argentinas 219
Buenos Aires 1445
Beef is a key element of traditional Argentine cuisine. The perfect land and climate to raise cattle made Argentina a leading producer of top quality, lean yet amazingly flavorful grassfed beef. The cattle graze on las pampas grass which gives Argentine steak a nice texture and a delicious flavor.
The one evening we spent in Buenos Aires prior to our flight to Ushuaia to board our Antarctic cruiseship, we were introduced to a churrascaria called “Parrilla El Ferroviario” a hidden treasure about 20 minutes from the center, in what used to be a railroad yard that offers a delicious variety of charcoal-grilled meet cuts. For an inveterate carnivore like me this was Heaven on Earth.
It is not a high end restaurant but as long as the knives are sharp and the beef tender and delicious, who cares? The place is in back of the Velez Sarsfield socker stadium and the entrance is through a parking lot, right under what looks like a highway overpass. The ambience is old school Buenos Aires. The meats are phenomenal and the prices are fairly low considering the quality. They also have a good variety of pork, veal, chicken and a few fish dishes plus a large number of potted beef dishes like Stroganoff but we decided to remain with the grilled beef. They do not take reservations but they accept credit cards. This world traveler has never experienced a better beef, except for another classic South American restaurant in Santiago de Chile, which was called El Parron!
We were seated in a very large, rustic dining room with many hams aging in bags hanging from the ceiling!
We went there with a local, who called it a Bodegon and not a restaurant. As far as I’m concerned, it’s one of the authentic places for Argentinean BQQ. Individual portions are big, as we saw from what was delivered to nearby tables but our friend ordered what looked like an entire rack of ribs that came on a 5-foot wooden plank surrounded by roasted potatoes. Pure ambrosia… enough to feed at least 6 persons!
I saw a very large menu book that was brought to the table next to ours and there was a blackboard nailed on a beam that looked like it was presenting the dishes of the day; I’m not exactly sure… my Spanish is not that great. But our friend who seemed to know the restaurant very well, ordered what he considered the highlight!
There were side dishes such as French fries and salad, but I concentrated on the grilled meat accompanied by an interesting red house wine; not very high quality wine but certainly not shabby. Once I had my fill of the beef I decided to also have dessert, flan with dulce de leche. The others had a “Postre El Ferroviario” that looked great.
It is best if you take a taxi to this place. It’s located in a not so attractive Buenos Aires neighborhood. But the BBQ is terrific and it is certainly worth the trip!
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