Best Fine Dining in Buenos Aires? La Pecora Nera

Buenos Aires is an international city with a solid culinary reputation. However, I struggled to find mid-priced options that mixed quality service with tasty food options. That is, until I stumbled across La Pecora Nera. I was walking through the neighbourhood on my way to the famous Recoleta Cemetery, when I spied a small line of people waiting for the doors to open for lunch. That’s always a good sign, so I checked out the menu, booked a table for next day and went on about my business.

Restaurant: La Pecora Nera
Location: Ayacucho 1785, C1112 AAE, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Opening Hours: Now closed 🙁

It was getting closer to Easter and I hadn’t had any fine dining in about a month of travelling, so I was determined to get in some tasty memories.

The room was charming with good napiery

I read good reviews online, particularly that by picking a lunch option, I would get the best bang for my buck, and noted well that the staff won’t open the locked door until you’ve knocked a couple of times.

Upon arrival, I happened upon a bemused American couple at the door, twisting the handle and rapping on the door. “Just wait”, I advised them, “apparently, it’s a thing”.

Moments later, we were all allowed in to the darkened salon, a little more hushed than the usual Buenos Aires restaurant. That boded well.

The weekday menu was presented and, given the prices everywhere else in Buenos Aires, I was shocked that a three course menu with a glass of house wine or bottled water was coming in at under £15 or $19 USD.  AND they take credit cards (this was unusual at the time of my visit in 2017, as most other places were strictly cash only)!

Each table was served a wooden platter heaped with small bread rolls, alongside a small dish of chilled and salted butter. Nice, good quality and they looked appetising.

Looking happy at the prospect of food!

The lunch menu is much more restricted than the evening offerings, but nevertheless I found a starter I liked: a strudel of sweetcorn served atop a corn and pepper sauce, which was unctuous and beautifully seasoned. The plate was topped with a wilted arugula/rocket. Light but satisfying: a perfect starter.

I recognised that there was a chicken main course on the menu and was interested to try its accompanying Malbec wine sauce. The sauce was comparatively rich, but sharp, offering a punch of flavour to the hard-to-recognise chicken breast. The side of confit potatoes was just enough (when having courses, I find it’s the starches that defeat me), if a little on the overdone side.

Rich but sharp.

The dessert course is in my top three desserts ever!! I still dream of this.  It was a dense chocolate ice cream studded with candied orange peel.  I’m not normally a fan of chocolate desserts, but this was really stunning: well-balanced with a chew from the peel.

The other customers were mainly couples. It struck me that the dark and sultry interior would be perfect for an illicit tryst, a precursor to an afternoon walking through the nearby park.

I was charmed by the bar – in a dark corner, which served as the perfect backdrop to the pops of colour from wine bottle tops and the rainbow of liqueur bottles.

On the way out, there was a large dish of green apples, but I couldn’t tell if they were real or wax! I’m still not sure! Be sure to check out La Pecora Nera if you’re in Argentina!

[Update: sadly it looks like La Pecora Nera has closed for good. A loss to that community…]

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