Standing in deepest Patagonia, the niche town of El Calafate boasts an impressive number of restaurants with a variety of cuisines. If you’re in town and want to know the best places for a meal out, take a look at our round-up of the best spots around.
A terrific option for large parties or groups who have gained a large appetite by traversing the nearby Perito Moreno Glacier, La Tablita has large areas to accommodate groups as well as couples. The menu has great shared dishes such as fresh salads to start, as well as crispy barbecued ribs, fried chicken and beef milanesa among other delights.
Even though they don’t label themselves as a parrilla(grilled meat) place, La Zaina is one of the best options to get a succulent slab of meat. Here you can get it as your main dish in a thick juicy steak, or as a starter in a thin, fresh, serving of carpaccio with a side of arugula salad and aioli. The dark wooden interior and big open doors offer a neat, relaxed dining experience for a late lunch, or early dinner as the sun sets behind the nearby mountains.
Discover elegant fine dining at Restaurant Mora, and enjoy a meal that equally satisfies the taste buds as it does the eyes, because the presentation here is simply incredible. Specializing in seafood and fish, the dishes have perfectly balanced flavours and vibrant colours with a meal experience so impressive that it will have everyone taking those all-essential Instagram shots.
MAKO Fuegos y Vinos is one of the most sought after restaurants in El Calafate for a dinner table, so pop in early or before dinner to put down a reservation and ensure you’ll be able to enjoy the comprehensive menu. On offer are a list of carnes (meats) such as the famous lamb, rib eye steaks, grilled pork, and fish dishes including salmon and grilled tuna, accompanied with whatever side you like.
Not all the options in El Calafate are barbecue-based, as Buenos Cruces Restaurant is the perfect compromise for meat eaters and vegetarians alike – their veggie dishes are so enticing they’ll tempt even the hungriest carnivore. The menu features stuffed ravioli, delicious noodle stir fry, veggie burgers, and of course the staple of a thick well done or rare steak.
A staple in the Argentina diet is the parrilla, and Parrilla PUMA, the recently opened restaurant in El Calafate is already making noise around town. The restaurant prides itself on providing the best quality of meat, spiced and cooked to perfect to ensure a home-style Argentinian parrilla to welcome travellers to the cultures of Argentina.
Restaurant, Hotel Restaurant, Argentina, Italian, $$$
Be sure to book a night at hotel-restaurant Kau Kaleshen, as you may fill up to the point that you can only waddle a few doors down to your room. The dishes come out looking like art, but there is a great balance between presentation and portion – the meals are not bite-size cuisine, but instead include plates of creamy risotto, lamb on a fresh bed of vegetables, and even open oven pizzas.
This hotel-restaurant next to La Posada hotel is worth visiting for the breakfast buffet, or for dinner, even if you are not staying there for the night. The lamb might be the best you’ve ever tried – not just in El Calafate, but in the whole of Patagonia – and the portion sizes are very generous, coupled with a beautiful chalet-style environment.
Mi Rancho has rustic cooking and flavour done just right, with a giant brick oven delivering fresh salmon cooked just right, big on-the-bone steaks, smooth risotto, and warm bread and filled empanadas baked on site.
The days are crisp and the nights can be cold here – the best place to get a heart warming plate is Pura Vida Resto Bar. Try the piping hot lamb stew topped with crisp pastry, the mouthwatering lasagna with melted cheese, or the restaurant’s take on shepherd’s pie.