El Calafate, a town in Patagonia located 80 km (50 mi) from Parque Nacional Los Glaciares (in English: Los Glaciares National Park), offers adventures and tourist activities in a challenging environment. But a holiday is never complete without tasting good local meals. After a day on the glaciers, get ready to reward yourself with the delicious local dishes of El Calafate.
1. Taste the tasty Patagonian lamb at Don Pichon
The signature local dish at El Calafate is the grilled Patagonian lamb (in Spanish: cordero Patagonico). The meat has unique flavor supposedly because the Patagonian lamb eats a mixture of herbs found only in Patagonia. Try their famous grilled Patagonian lamb with Calafate sauce & roast vegetables to spoil your senses and pair it with Santa Julia Malbec reserve, to make your delicious journey complete. A hidden gem with a friendly price, Don Pichon is a bit out of the main road but it has stunning views of the town. They provide free of charge transportation pick up from and to your hotel if you make a reservation at the restaurant!
Parrilla Don Pichon
Address: Puerto Deseado 242, 9405 El Calafate, Santa Cruz, Argentina
2. Eat like a local at La Tablita
Posted by La Tablita on Friday, 5 May 2017
The traditional Argentinian parrilla is a typical grilled meat dish cooked in a traditional asado (barbecue) way. The grilled meat will have a combination of smoky and tasty meat flavors. La Tablita has been known as the best place for parrilla in town. The local Argentinian meat is famous for its tasty flavors. It’s highly recommended to order their famous “ojo de bife” or grilled ribeye. But make sure that you request the meat is cooked “poco hecho” or “jugoso,” meaning rare, to get the right flavor and tenderness. Enjoy it with tasty Tempus Alba Malbec from Mendoza. La Tablita is located right at the end of the main tourist road and they accept credit cards. So what are you waiting for? Order your wine and be ready to eat the delicious parrilla!
Address: Cnel. Rosales 26, El Calafate, Santa Cruz, Argentina
Website: La Tablita
3. Local delicacies at La Lechuza
La Lechuza serves delicious pizza on round wooden plates and the traditional Argentinian empanadas. Empanadas, a derivative from the Indian samosa, have become a fast-food staple in Argentina. Argentine empanada is made with a flour-based dough with a mix of beef, chicken, ham, humita (sweet corn with white sauce), had boiled eggs, olives, and other ingredients as the fillings. Empanadas can be either baked (Salta-style) or fried (Tucuman-style). La Lechuza has a classic selection of empanadas based on your preference. You should order the sheep, cheese and olive pizza and accompany it with their local microbrew beers. La Lechuza opens at 6 pm, which is earlier than the 7 pm dinner opening hours of the other restaurants.
Address: Av. del Libertador Gral. San Martín 1301, El Calafate, Santa Cruz, Argentina
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4. Pascasio M, a true Patagonian restaurant
A brick-walled fine dining restaurant located just off the strip in El Calafate, Pascasio M offers a relaxed ambience for the guests to enjoy during their dinner, with jazz playing softly in the background. You can choose from chef Gastón Diez’s delicious menu of seafood, game, risottos, and desserts, plus, of course, the famous Argentinian steak. Order their signature sirloin wrapped in boar with a Malbec wine sauce, and complete your dinner with their local, fantastic wine.
Address: 25 de Mayo 52, Calafate, Santa Cruz, Argentina
5. Homemade food at Pura Vida
Three levels of dining with a fun and eclectic atmosphere, Pura Vida serves a home cooking menu like empanadas, canelones, pies and stew to compensate your big ice hike earlier in the day. Pura Vida also has a vegetarian menu, with brown rice and wok veggies or various salads. Try their famous tasty chicken pie and lamb stew, and pair it with the Malbec wine, for a hearty meal. And don’t skip their delicious chocolate brownie with ice cream, steeped in warm berry sauce to close the night. Pura Vida is a 5 minute walk from the city centre; consider it as exercise to prepare yourself for a delicious feast.
Address: Av. del Libertador Gral. San Martín 1876, El Calafate, Santa Cruz, Argentina
6. Enjoy wild fish dish at Los Amigos
El Calafate is part of Argentina and it’s all about meat when it comes to local dishes. For those who feel like you have had enough meat for the rest of your holiday, Los Amigos might be an option for a different local dish experience. Los Amigos serves wild fish on their signature menu, such as wild salmon and wild trout. With a simple fresh fish-based dish and a fresh local wine, you will enjoy comfort food and a relaxed night. Located at the edge of the town but with friendly service, be ready with your cash because Los Amigos doesn’t accept credit card payment.
Address: E. Leman 40, El Calafate, Santa Cruz, Argentina
7. Culinary experience at The Restaurant – EOLO Patagonia’s Spirit
If you’re a foodie and like to experience local culinary, try fine Patagonian gourmet dishes at The Restaurant - EOLO Patagonia’s Spirit. EOLO is located within a beautiful ranch (in Spanish: Estancia) between El Calafate and Perito Moreno glacier. It serves varied dishes with fresh local ingredients and their highlight on the menu is the grilled Patagonian lamb with a perfect wine pairing. You will enjoy your fine dining experience with a Patagonian dramatic landscape, complete with an isolated and tranquil feeling. It’s excellent value of money for an excellent dinner experience.
The Restaurant - EOLO Patagonia's Spirit
Address: Ruta Prov. 11, km 23. El Calafate, Santa Cruz. Argentina
8. Go veggie at Esquina Varela
Located off the busy main street of El Calafate, Esquina Varela serves local food with various vegetarian options for non-meat eaters. Esquina Varela’s famous vegetarian dishes, such as vegetable sorrentino and eggplant moussaka, are a must-try when you visit this restaurant. After all those heavy yet delicious dishes of El Calafate, you can turn your attention to local finger food, so you can have the complete El Calafate food experience.
Esquina Varela Restaurant
Address: Puerto Deseado, El Calafate, Santa Cruz, Argentina
9. Patagonian artisanal brews at Borges y Alvarez Libro-Bar
There are many choices when it comes to Patagonian artisanal brews. The best way to enjoy is by trying different brands every night. Borges y Alvarez Libro-Bar is located on the main street of El Calafate. The bar, with unique decorations of books and quotes on every wall, offers a wide range of Patagonian microbrews. Pair your beers with their delicious mixed cheese and meat platter.
Borges y Alvarez Libro-Bar
Address: Av. del Libertador Gral. San Martín 1015, El Calafate, Santa Cruz, Argentina
10. Ice cream treats at Ovejitas de la Patagonia
I know it’s cold in Patagonia and so is El Calafate, but who can resist an ice cream treat? Ovejitas de la Patagonia offers a wide selection of ice cream that will meet your needs. The best ice cream is the Calafate flavor, made from the local berry that gives El Calafate its famous name. It’s so fresh and highly addictive. Another option is to try is the Dulce de leche flavor ice cream. Dulce de leche is a famous Argentine type of caramel jam. It’s very sweet and you can use it on any kind of dessert and sweets, including ice cream. This one is only for the sweet tooth’s.
Ovejitas de la Patagonia
Address: Padre de Agostini 1370, 9405 El Calafate, Santa Cruz, Argentina
Website: Ovejitas de la Patagonia
A food journey
Exploring the local food and experiencing the different tastes is part of the traveling journey itself. Never miss an opportunity to indulge in a delicious, local dish while exploring!
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