In a neighborhood better known for nouvelle cuisine treatments of Argentine food, Pablo Rivero and his parents built Don Julio into a mainstay by presenting top-quality plates of classic parrilla steak-house fare. Served in an airy old building with brick ceilings and a balcony overlooking the main dining floor, the steaks are huge and top grade, the waiters who serve them are friendly and attentive (a rare combination in Buenos Aires), and the list of 150 Argentine wines runs from $10 classics to $360 splurges. Unlike the more famous Cabaña Las Lilas, however, Don Julio (named after a hard-drinking family friend) feels family owned and is popular with locals as well as tourists. Before you hit the steak, try the artery-stopping chorizo sausage appetizers.
Insider Tip: If you commemorate a special dinner with a bottle of wine here, you’ll be asked to sign the bottle describing your meal for display on the shelves around the restaurant (there are hundreds of such bottles on view).
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From the From the May 2008 Food & Wine Go List
Farmers in the Minas Gerais province (known for its gold mines) developed two distinct but related cuisines, one using beans, rice, sugarcane, corn and fresh vegetables, and another focusing on portable staples like dried meats and manioc. The carefully labeled clay-pot buffet at this bare-bones restaurant represents both genres, displaying Minas Gerais specialties like vibrant salads, tiny multicolored peppers and dishes such as chicken with okra, beans with pork (pig ears, tails, feet) and oxtail with watercress.
We loved: (smashed beans with pork loin); (red beans with manioc flour).
Insider tip: The restaurant’s homemade cachaça is sold by the bottle to take home.