El Federal - Buenos Aires

Retiro . Buenos Aires


Overall Rating

  • Ambience 60%
  • Service 70%
  • Food (Execution) 80%
  • Creativity 80%
  • Value 80%

Trapiche Alaris Dulce Consecha

Restaurant Details
El Federal - Buenos Aires

Locale: Retiro
Address: San Martín 1015

Telephone: +54 911 4313-1324
Restaurant Type: Casual Dining
Cuisine: Argentine, Eclectic
Price: $$$
Hours: Sun - Sat 10 am to midnight[/types] [/types] [/types]

Summary of Review
El Federal is comfort food, Argentine-style. Indigenous ingredients prepared in creative ways. Unfortunately, ambiance and service don't live up to the food. Reasonable prices for such good food make El Federal worth a visit. We just wish they'd paint the place.

Campari - Red Experience

Trapiche Alaris Dulce Consecha

Restaurant Review for El Federal - Buenos Aires

Review by:
Rating: 3.8 stars
Review Date:

It had been more than a year since I had last visited El Federal. I had never written the review and I can’t really say why. Perhaps it is because the photos had taken before were so poor I was avoiding the pain of viewing them. Whatever the reason, my memory of the visit was cloudy at best.

I remember the food was good. Not spectacular, but very good. And remember that the restaurant’s ambiance was not all that impressive. In typical Latin American fashion, it appeared as if nothing had been changed in the past eight years since the place had opened. The décor is nothing short boring. There were cardboard wine boxes sitting out in plain view on the bar. Dozens of decals posted on the front glass façade in no particular order of fashion. Framed pictures and magazine reviews plastered all over the main wall with no order or arrangement. Absolutely no attention to detail or order. Brown fake-leather table covers. Cheap tableware. This reminded me of the same messy lack of décor we saw at Paraje Arévalo.

Thankfully, the quality of the food far exceeded the atmosphere. Chef Paula Comparatore has taken indigenous ingredients, preparing some of them in very traditional ways and others in a more unique fashion, such as the pan-fried dorado breaded in panko and coconut. That doesn’t sound all that revolutionary, but, in fact, these ingredients and the way they are prepared are seldom seen in Buenos Aires, where ill-prepared pastas, overcooked steaks, and boring pizzas are what you have traditionally seen on restaurant menus.

Each dish fares from a different region in Argentina. The wine list is just as varied, with a significant portion of the list dedicated to wines from Patagonia.

Although not on the menu I made inquiry about an humita I’d seen in the menu online, and was told it was available despite not being the menu. It was a mixture of corn, peppers and sweet onion, baked in corn husks. The tamale was delicious although nothing quite the same as any other humita I’ve experienced in any part of Latin America.

On the prior visit my friend and I tried the Chilean sea bass (inaccurately translated as Atlantic hake) and the Patagonian rack of lamb. (I note that the English translation of the menu is horrible so don’t rely too heavily on the translation you see there.)

Both the lamb and fish were executed perfectly. The ribs were a heavy, wine braised, comfort food creation. The sea bass a more delicate dish.

On the most recent visit to El Federal in November of 2016, I opted for the braised pork ribs, accompanied by a brochette of veggies sitting in the same corn concoction that was in the humita. The accompanying veggies were unimaginative, but that big double-cut pork rib was delicious. Perfectly cooked, falling off the bone. Significant portions of fat on the bone had totally rendered to a scrumptious buttery texture. The pork had been rubbed with achiote peppers and cane sugar. The preparation was comfort-food heaven. Highly recommended if you braised meats.

The service was acceptable but there seemed to be the same lack of attention to detail in the service as there was in the ambiance. The waiter was very nonchalant.

Prices were very reasonable for both food and wine.

The food at El Federal is great. Regrettably, the ambiance and service don’t quite live up to what’s leaving the kitchen.

El Federal

El Federal - Buenos Aires

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