Buenos Aires, Downtown - Microcentro, Retiro
- Ambience 80%
- Service 85%
- Food 85%
- Creativity 90%
- Value 90%
- Logistics 90%
The full review for La Galette
When I think of French cuisine, I think of country classics. Coq a Vin, Boefe Bourgegone, Bouillabaisse, and of course, Crêpes Suzette.
Buenos Aire has more than its fair share of French immigrants yet a noticeable shortage of French restaurants. With the recent closure of La Bourgogne in the Alvear Palace, the scarcity of viable French dining options is even more apparent.
I’ve sampled crepes at a few of the creperias around town such as C’est Cool in Recoleta and Crepas in Palermo. But I felt as if none of these really conveyed even an attempt to be authentic. Like so many restaurants, they offer a gimmick with little or no French authenticity.
But my new find, in downtown Buenos Aires (actually in Retiro close the Plaza San Martín) is a little French creperie called, appropriately, La Galette.
The word galette, has varying meanings, depending on where the word is used geographically. It can be used generically to refer to any number of crusty savory pies, such as the Galette de Rois (King cake), customarily prepared and served on the day of Epiphany in France. In French Canada, it usually refers to a large sweet cookie.
The most common use of the word in France is for a specific form of savory crepe, almost always made with buckwheat flour, technically known as a Breton crepe. Although outside of France you can often find savory crepes made with that wheat flour as, same as a dessert or breakfast crepe, that practice is uncommon in France where the less sweet buckwheat pancake is almost universally used for savory preparations.
La Galette, in Retiro, prepares savory crepes, both ways, the traditional Breton crepe using buckwheat flour (which happens to be gluten-free) and with a whole-wheat flour, which is also used for all their dessert crepes. They offer a variety of both savory and sweet fillings.
The couple that owns La Galette (he’s from Argentina, she’s from France) have attempted to prepare the crepes as authentically as possible, use French techniques and the same type of ingredients used in France. Of course, as with all food in Argentina, none of the actual ingredients are French, merely Argentine imposters.
They also offer, at lunch and dinner, one single main course dish. At the time of this review, that main course dish was a chicken and potato bouillabaisse.
I have tried a variety of the buckwheat and wheat-flour crepes, both savory and sweet, and they are the best you can find in the city. They are delicious.
I have also tried the bouillabaisse. The chicken, sitting in a light, well-seasoned broth, was perfectly cooked, moist and tender, as were the accompanying pieces of potato in the stew. The prix menu at lunch is a great value. Highly recommended.
They offer a breakfast menu as well. Do they have omelets, you ask? Oddly, the answer is “no”. But they do offer a Croque Monsieur and a Croque Madame, which for my money, is better anyway.
The waitresses are all bi-lingual. One, a French native, speaks French, Spanish and English quite competently, as do both owners, who are usually onsite overseeing everything. The décor is simple, but pleasant. The service and the execution of all the food equally excellent. La Galette’s French personality is rare enough to make this little restaurant worth a drive or a long walk from any of the surrounding barrios. It is, I believe, that unique.
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