Restaurant: La Cholita (Recoleta neighbourhood)
Location: Rodríguez Peña 1165, C1020 CABA, Argentina
Opening Hours: Su/Thu: 12pm-12am, F-Sa: 12pm-2am
Phone: +54 11 4815-4506
The term ‘La Cholita’ is not uncontroversial. A Cholo (masculine) or Chola (feminine) is a term associated with a mixed race person, part of that mix being South American Indian/indigenous. However, the diminutive form (the addition of ‘ita’ or ‘little’) has been reclaimed as a badge of honour.
It was unclear what association this had with the name of a steak restaurant in the chichi neighbourhood of Recoleta at the heart of Buenos Aires. I did wander if it might be a fusion place, but there was no sign that this was anything other than a steakhouse.
I was staying across the road at the Apart San Diego hotel. Well, I wanted to stay there but I couldn’t check in until after the official 2pm get-in, so food it was as a way to balm the jet lagged soul.
First impressions are good – it’s a long, high room and the red and yellow colour scheme is appealing, with a Spanish familiarity.
Like many restaurants on this street (Rodriguez Peña), there are baskets full of crayons for anyone to draw on the paper table coverings. Argentinian restaurants are very child-friendly (although nothing to say you can’t express yourself as an adult!).
There is a cubierto or cover charge of about $40 pesos (£2 / $2.50), which includes an over-sized bread roll that was really quite heavy.
I ordered a glass of red wine and it came in a penguin pitcher, a pinguino! The pinguino is a THING in Buenos Aires. They come in various sizes (enough for a glass, carafe, bottle) and are very charming.
I was pretty much alone with my jet lag in the restaurant.
Since it’s Argentina, I ordered steak. The wooden board is consistent with other ‘asado’ or grill places and the sides were generous. The meat smelled great and had the kind of char that I love.
There is bad news. The steak was very overcooked. I like a good steak rare-medium rare (depending on the cut). This was on the other side of well done. I admit I was surprised… I did expect a steak restaurant to have temperature to the forefront of their service approach. The sides, on the other hand, were seasoned nicely and appetising.
A new waiter arrived to clear my plate and I struggled a little with my rudimentary Spanish to order a coffee. He did arrive with an espresso, so something went right in the linguistic attempt!
La Choleta restaurant was just okay. It manages to get a consistent 4/5 on rating websites. I think that’s generous but the gap might lie in the time of day that you patronise this steakhouse. Busier evenings may have a more experienced hand on the grill.