So far in Argentina, although we aren’t, we've mostly been eating vegetarian. We know it might seem like a waste to some omnivores to come to the land of beef and only eat plants, but neither of us are too fond of Argentina's most famous meat, and we usually find that vegetarian specific restaurants are more innovative and have higher quality ingredients than the average place. And surprisingly, there are a huge number of them in Buenos Aires, so we felt obliged to sample as many as we could!
We've already shared some pictures of the delicious things we ate in Argentina's capital, and both of those places were wonderful, but for us, the crowing jewel of the Buenos Aires vegetarian restaurant scene was Artemisia.
Artemisia has two locations in the city, and we only had time to sample the slightly smaller one at Cabrera 3887, which only opens for dinner (their second location at Gorriti 5996 is also open for breakfast and lunch most days).
Upon arriving at the location, we weren't quite sure how to get in. The lights were on, and there were a few people inside, but we couldn't see a way in. Soon, we realised there was a door to one side, through another doorway, where a sign stated (in Spanish) that we should ring the bell and wait.
The door opened, and we were welcomed inside by a broad smile on a tiny face, mostly obscured by Dame Edna Everage-esque glasses and large amounts of curly brown hair. The waitress (who we later regretted not asking for her name or perhaps a photo; she was quite striking) lead us in and with a whimsical wave of the hands, as if they were wings of a butterfly, indicating we should sit wherever we liked.
After pouring over the menu, and a bit of back and forth of translation, we were asked:
- Waitress: Han elegido algo? (have you chosen something?)
- Zab: Si, las cro…croquet….croquetias
- Waitress: ¡Croquetitias! ¡Repite!
- Zab: Croquetitas.Waitress: ¡Sí, perfecto!
And I ordered my food and the drinks. Two minutes later, she returned asking me for my order again, having forgotten what it was in all the excitement of Zab correctly pronouncing croquetitas! Then we were brought this starter:
At first we couldn't work out what the red paste was as it didn't taste like anything we'd tried before. The answer, of course, was in the colour. It was beetroot, and it was delicious spread across the selection of breads that had clearly been freshly made, as they were still warm.
More importantly, however, the beetroot spread matched my t-shirt.
As we waited for our food, more guests began to arrive, ringing the bell and being shown in and given free reign in their choice of seating. It felt a bit like being in a private club, where only those in the know would find it and be allowed to enter. The only thing that could have made it better was if there had been a secret password.
When the food arrived, we realised we were in for something special.
The food was so…good! We spent several minutes in silence enveloped in experiencing our food. Zab was especially pleased with the contrasts of texture (sun dried tomato with smooth avocado) and flavour (fruity apple with yoghurt and basil dressing). For me, despite being delicious, the ravioli may not have been the absolute best choice, as they were quite heavy (filled with broccoli and pesto and swimming in cream; oh my!) so I was quickly full. It was a hard decision, albeit the right one, to say no to a dessert after that. Maybe next time!
It wasn't just the food that made for such a pleasant experience, and that made this our most memorable dinner in Buenos Aires, though. The eclectic and slightly weird mix of music (from yoga mantras to reggae) as well as the quirky staff and idiosyncratic decor all contributed to making it such a pleasant experience.