The Hacienda Colomé (by Swiss entrepreneur Donald M. Hess) is not only worth a visit for its wines, but for the special place. The next small village is about 45 minutes away by car. From Salta you can do the zigzagging roads by going over the top of a pass (Cuesta del Obispo) and “Parque Nacional de los Cardones” about 5 to 6 hours, depending on road conditions (partially dirt roads). This means that one does not go there spontaneously for a winetasting. For a long time we had the idea to include the Bodega Colomé on our next trip to Argentina because we know friends that stayed there. Since the hotel has only 9 rooms, this was the first thing we booked for our trip and planned everything else including flights only afterwards. It was really worth it. It is a place with a certain magic. You can relax, get some peace and quiet, do walks and besides; taste the best wines of the region. We spent New Year’s Eve at the bodega and had a really wonderful evening with people from France, Brazil, Switzerland and Argentina. Bodega Colomé grows their own fruits, vegetables and herbs in their garden and cooks only regional and seasonal meals. The staff conjured up a delicious multi-course menu for the guests that evening, including wine pairing. At 12 o’clock we all toasted to the new year on the terrace under the roof of stars and there was – still on top – a huge dessert buffet. Those who make it to Colomé should stay at least two or three days, as the James Tyrell Art Museum is also very worth seeing.
A friend from Switzerland knows the wine region Mendoza (Maipu and Valle de Uco) very well. She was also the one who gave me the contact to Alejandro Vigil to book a table in the restaurant. The bodega was founded by Alejandro Vigil and Adrianna Catena in 2009. I had already tasted the Malbec from El Enemigo wine in restaurants (for example La Lucia) before and was thrilled. So my anticipation was even greater. I was not disappointed at lunch and included tasting. It was an extraordinary visit with excellent food, wine and service. We were happy that we didn’t have to drive ourselves that day.
On the way from Mendoza city to our hotel Gimenez Riili in valle de Uco we stopped at the Bodega Alfa Crux for our lunch including wine tasting (the restaurant was called O’Fournier, now apparently they have renamed it to Crux Cocina). A reservation is essential, because the restaurant has only room for about 20 people. The view of the mountains through the big windows and the pond around the restaurant are stunning. Also the food and of course the wines have impressed us and are still in best memory two months later. A must visit for the region.
For me personally this restaurant is one of the best in the world when it comes to meat dishes (Parillada). We have been there on one of our fomer trips to Buenos Aires. If you have never eaten meat in Argentina you might think I am exagerating and that there is good meat everywhere. For me Argentina has the perfect combination of very good quality meat (from the pampa), big charcoal grills, few salt, pieces under 300gr don’t even come on the table and as side dishes just fresh salad of tomatoes, lettuce or carrots and a good bottle of Malbec. What more do you need? Something that might be worth mentioning is the cooking level. The Argentineans tend to like the meat more well done. Therefore you should order your piece “jugoso” (medium/rate). Try also blood sausage (morcilla) or a piece other than the fillet, you will love it.
Well, officially you can reserve tables at Don Julio, but it is always booked out. You better try it at noon or in the evening rather early or very late after 11pm. Even if there are many tourists at this wonderful place it is worth a visit.
This hotel and restaurant is really something unique, a hidden gem. It is not at all on the way and does not always guarantee electricity – especially after 11pm. But in reward, one gets a wonderful fauna and flora right in front of the door. Unspoiled nature wherever you look. After four days on the Peninsula Valdes I thought I had seen all penguins, sea lions and ostriches, but Bahia Bustamante offers all this too, but not as an observer from far away, you are right in the middle of it. It is difficult to describe the place, you have to see, feel and experience it on your own. The hotel should be booked 6-9 months in advance and you should definitely book the cabins WITH dinner. The food is incredibly good and this at the end of the world and with a view of the vines (yes really vines in Patagonia) and the sea behind. Of course you shouldn’t be picky about what you eat, because there is simply one menu every evening, but if you like local food and wine, you are in good hands.
Buenos Aires – Sometimes you get disappointed when you visit a place or a restaurant again after many years. Be it because you have romantic memories, or the chef or the concept has changed.
At Tegui we were not disappointed on our second visit. The restaurant has a fixed menu with or without wine accompaniment instead of the a la carte menu. The menu led us through the whole country starting with little green salty plants from Patagonia (we saw a whole field of these in Bahia Bustamante) to Choique (small type of ostrich) and entire palmitos, which were cut at our table…and much more. The restaurant is rather expensive in comparison and you should reserve about one month in advance.
Buenos Aires – After eight years we were finally back in Buenos Aires. We still had four weeks of vacation ahead of us and the first restaurant we had lunch in was El Preferido de Palermo. I had read about it in the Bubble (https://www.thebubble.com/ a news channel about and for Argentina, especially Buenos Aires, the weekly videos on Friday with Paige I can highly recommend).
The tip was great and we really enjoyed the food and the relaxed atmosphere. Of course we ate too much again, but it was really delicious – including dessert flan with the typical dulce de leche, which is an indispensable part of the Argentinean menu. You can get a great lunch for two with wine and coffee for under 45 Swiss francs.