A friendly Argentinian bartender of Italian heritage once told me that really his country should be speaking Italian rather than Spanish because people of Italian descent were in the majority. It seems that the main deviations from Castellano (standard Spanish) are caused by Italians trying to speak it. In fact the Italian immigrants, mainly from Liguria (particularly Genoa), Piemonte and Tuscany, but also Naples and the south, contributed many of their dialect words to the national language, and together created a new local dialect in Buenos Aires known as Lunfardo.
Naturally Argentinian cuisine was also massively influenced by these immigrants and there is a huge legacy in Buenos Aires in the form of restaurants, pizzerias, coffee shops, bakeries and gelato parlours. Many of these businesses can be found in the central neighbourhoods and the three reviewed below are all along Avenida Corrientes, a major central artery (my map here) in the neighbourhood of San Nicolás (map here). They would make a good pit stop after working up an appetite from walking around nearby Plaza Lavalle (see separate post).
Pizzeria Guerrin (Intermediate B+), 1368 Avenida Corrientes, www.pizzeriaguerrin.com
I’ve mentioned my dislike of Fugazetta, the local style of pizza, elsewhere (see my review of El Cuartito in my Recoleta post) but this place isn’t actually too bad. They make a thin crust ‘a la piedra’ version as opposed to the thicker pizza ‘de molde’ at El Cuartito. The buzzing atmosphere also adds to the experience.
I went for the classic combination of Fugazetta and Farina , a chickpea pancake with its roots in Genoa (both B). Some locals put the Farina on top of the pizza and eat them together. Apparently you’re supposed to have a glass of sweet Moscato wine with it as well but it was a bit early in the day for me.
If you find the ground floor too frenetic there is the quieter Sala Familial upstairs. Guerrin has been an institution since 1932 and is definitely worth a visit.
And for dessert…
La Pasta Frola (Intermediate B+), 1365 Avenida Corrientes, www.la-pastafrola.com.ar
This Sicilian pastry shop is immediately over the road from Guerrin and has been around even longer, since 1917.
I treated myself to my favourite Neapolitan pastry, a Sfogliatelle Ricce made from thin layers of crunchy dough (‘ricce’ means ‘curly’) filled with orange and cinnamon flavored ricotta cream, which was delicious (B+).
Or if you’d rather have gelato…
Heladeria Cadore (Intermediate B+), 1695 Avenida Corrientes, www.heladeriacadore.com.ar
Cadore is a region in northern Italy near the border with Austria, just over 100km from Venice. In 1881 the Olivotti family founded the Cadore ice cream parlour there and in 1957 some of their descendants moved to Buenos Aires and opened this gelato shop.
New flavours are added all the time but I can particularly redcommend the Dulce de Leche (pictured) which is a local classic. I hear the lime flavour is good too.
Although not Italian, it’s also worth checking out El Gato Negro www.donvictoriano.com.ar, a lovely old cafe and spice shop two doors down from Cadore, at 1669 Avenida Corrientes. Sadly it was closed on the Sunday when I was there. Next time!
Now for an architecture tour to walk off those calories…