In a city renowned for reasonably priced, top-quality beef, La Cabrera sets the bar high. With more than two dozen cuts of meat on offer and a smorgasbord of accompanying sides, a trip here is worth the extra pesos.
Located at the corner of Thames and its namesake street, La Cabrera is one of many upscale grills dotting Palermo Soho. The long line of people, many of whom are sipping champagne as they work up an appetite, is the first indication that this particular steakhouse is not only popular but also boasts attentive service— even if the odors emanating from the kitchen may make the wait seem interminable.
Sirloins, tenderloins, flanks and rib-eyes are sizzled with the standard slow-cooked care that brings out the flavor of the famed Argentine grass-fed beef.
Seasonings like thyme, concasse pepper and vegetable marinade add zest and flavor— a welcome change in a country that abstains from spices the way dieters shun carbohydrates. Many entrees are available in half portions, lest the array of appetizers, including olives stuffed with almonds and Basque black sausage, be too tempting to skip. Guests in need of a ‘steak break’ can choose from salad or chicken entrees, although skipping the beef at La Cabrera is akin to shunning cake on one’s birthday.
Perhaps even better than the carnivore-worthy mains are La Cabrera’s trademark variety of side dishes, included gratis with every entrée; minature creations such as quail-egg potato salad, pureed squash, and tomato-marinated pinto beans. Better yet, all the foods— appetizers, entrees and sides— are presented on communal dining trays, encouraging all guests to share the wealth, if they are willing.
La Cabrera opens its doors at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Before 10, English is the primary language overheard as tourists and early-bird expats usurp the limited seating. Word of the restaurant has spread to many a travel book, but the servers remain friendly and conscientious. The steady influx of porteños hours later proves that this restaurant has avoided one of the pitfalls that beleaguer tourist hotspots: sightseers swarm in, scare away locals and subsequently cause food quality to drop. Prices are high compared to typical Buenos Aires parilla carts though; there’s an AR$ 9.50 service charge for every diner and most entrees fall around AR$60 with the most expensive dish, the Kobe beef Wagyu, costing AR$109.
On temperate evenings al fresco dining at the corner of Thames and Cabrera is the perfect spot for people watching. Tourists toting guidebooks and sharply dressed locals pass by; some join the growing queue of diners, others may wander up the street to dine at La Cabrera’s equally sought-after sister restaurant, La Cabrera Norte. Note that La Cabrera practically begs diners to make reservations on their website, but as a general rule of thumb, waiting times are shorter earlier in the evening.
—by Nicole Duncan
La Cabrera Norte
• Hours: Mon: 8pm-1:30 Tue-Sat 12:30 am—4:30pm; 8pm —1am
• Credit cards accepted