Retiro . Buenos Aires
- Ambience 90%
- Service 80%
- Food (Execution) 90%
- Creativity 80%
- Value 80%
Address: Arroyo 872
Restaurant Type: Casual Dining, Gastro-Pub
Cuisine: Eclectic, Seafood
Hours: Mon-Thu 7pm to 1:30 am[/types] Fri 7pm-3:30 am, Sat 8pm-3:30am[/types] Sun 8pm to 1:30am[/types]
Summary of Review
Restaurant Review for Florería Atlántico
Rating: 4.2 stars
Julian Diaz defined the new genre of Speakeasy cum Gastropub in Buenos Aires with his first creation, Bar 878. And though he may be remembered for that, his collaboration with infamous local mixologist Tato Giovannoni to open Florería Atlántico, will be the pièce de résistance of his career.
Florería Atlántico carries on its business behind the façade of a flower shop. Yes. You can buy flowers, wine and gin in the flower market on the ground floor. But behind the faux cooler door is the “real” Florería Atlántico. Down the stairs you go. Into a long narrow basement housing BA’s most happening bar cum restaurant.
With the bar spanning the entire length of the space on your left, accommodating stool after stool of BA’s most beautiful and most affluent residents, there’s barely enough room to push your way through the crowd standing between the bar and the single row of tables along the right wall.
There is a mural full of imagery of fictional aquatic creatures behind the tables to your right and brushed steel lamps on crane-necked supports illuminating the tabletops.
The ambiance is clean and modern, but without any of the stale, cold aura that is so often radiated by the modern industrial-loft style spaces that have become so popular in Buenos Aires and throughout the world.
I could go on and on about how cool Florería Atlántico is as bar. But today I’m reviewing the restaurant.
I must preface my comments by stating that because I’ve always wanted to avoid the almost constant wait for a table, on all of my visits to restaurant I’ve opted to grab a space at the bar to have dinner. For this reason my assessment of service might be somewhat different than what you’d experience at a table.
The food menu is abbreviated. Nothing more than a handful of gourmet tapas and an even shorter list of main course items. Of course, they have a couple of steaks on the menu. That’s mandatory for any restaurant serving food in Buenos Aires, right? And they have a few seafood dishes. And that’s it. But the thing is, these few dishes are probably done better than anywhere in the city.
In an over-crowded kitchen directly behind the bartenders, there is a small army of cooks churning out dish after dish of delicious food, most of which is grilled on that weird antique style barbeque pit you can see in the image slider.
I’ve had the fish on several occasions and it was always seasoned and cooked just right. But for this outing I ordered the rib-eye and beer.
If I could conjure up a complaint about this bar it is that they have an extremely limited selection of beers. They have Quilmes (which barely classifies as beer), Heineken (which is only nominally better) and a bottled stout. Being the least of all evils, I elected to have the stout with my steak.
In timely fashion, barely half-way though my beer, my steak arrived. It was huge, spanning the entire length of the plate. Despite the fact that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of steakhouses in BA that specialize in steaks, this steak is better than 99% of what you get at those steakhouses. It may not quite be up to the standards of that dry aged steak I had a few nights earlier at Le Grill, but it was very close, at half the price.
And unlike Le Grill, where you have to order a separate side dish a la carte to keep your steak from getting lonely, at Florería Atlántico the steak comes accompanied by some hasselback potatoes and a small scattered lot of these luscious cherry tomatoes, lightly dressed to boost their natural sweetness. The sides on this dish are perhaps more impressive than the steak. Those hasselback potatoes were perfectly crisp on the outside and buttery creamy on the inside. The perfect foil for that steak. And those fresh, ripe cherry tomatoes brought the contrast of sweetness to the plate.
Chimichurri? Well … sort of. There’s a little drizzle of an oil infused with peppers and spices that would classify as a chimichurri sauce but this one is about five times as good as any chimichurri I’ve tasted.
I urge you to treat this plate of food with respect. Take a stab at one of those cherry tomatoes with a bite of that juicy steak on the fork and dab it all in just a little bit of sauce on the plate. And then into the gob it goes. It’s a symphony of flavor on a fork.
No kidding. This is a great plate of food.
For an astoundingly low US$13 on the day I went, you can have this steak accompanied by these delicious sides. This is not only one of the best meals in Buenos Aires. It’s one of the least expensive.
And if you sit at the bar like I did you can be entertained by the bartenders flaming orange peels with their little blow torches and adorning drinks with basil and rosemary. It’s on par with Cirque de Soleil.
You know that little aluminum scraper waiters wearing bow ties at the fancy restaurants have in their pockets next to the corkscrew? If you’re wanting to see a waiter use one of those to remove the tiny crumbs from your ultra-white table cloth while Frank Sinatra sings songs from the 40’s … well … don’t go to Floreria Atlántico for dinner. But if you’re wanting the best food at the most happening spot in town well … Florería Atlántico’s the ticket.
Florería Atlántico… …