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.
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.
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.
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…]