Agosto… A special dining experience in Buenos Aires

By Tracey Chandler

If you’re looking to try something different when it comes to dining in Buenos Aires, try Agosto, located in Buenos Aires… a semi-closed-door restaurant, with a set menu which focuses on healthy eating in very pretty surroundings.

“Agosto”… the perfect example of Buenos Aires’ cosmopolitan attitude

Buenos Aires is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Latin America and the city’s population, whether referring to natives or foreign residents/tourists, is always on the look-out for something new. Buenos Aires is definitely a city which invites creativity and it’s also a city which buys into the idea of “new,” “innovative,” “special,” “organic,” etc.

It’s easy to find a well-cooked steak, accompanied by chips and salad and a tasty bottle of red in any part of the city, but Buenos Aires is open to new experiences and relatively interested in embracing other cultures/approaches when it comes to food and dining. This is why restaurants like “Agosto” do relatively well and why its semi-closed-door nature attracts a lot of attention.

The question is… how good a restaurant is “Agosto,” what does it have to offer to the hungry visitor and is it worth the table reservation? I went on a hungry hunt to find out…

Is the menu tasty?

The menu in “Agosto” is a set menu. The portions are small and the dishes are many which, in my opinion, is a really great way to dine. You don’t get full up on one dish and your palette gets to experience a whole host of flavours in one sitting… advantage point number one for “Agosto.”

Seven dishes were served in total… a French onion soup, a corn and guacamole croquette, yukka-plant chips, faina with a tomato salsa, a squid salad, a pureed-potato cupcake and a pear flan to finish. The puree, which was served after the squid, was just a little too much…. straight into the dessert would have been a better option, the faina was pretty bland and the squid, unfortunately, was a little over-cooked (how difficult it is to get squid just right!).

However, the corn and guacamole croquette was awesome… crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. The pear flan was light and not too sweet and the French onion soup had a very strong taste… it was a perfect starter. The cocktails (Tiki Drink) were also really well-prepared. An extra dash of vodka would have gone down well, perhaps, but the fusion of passion fruit and forest berries (all fresh!) was really tasty. The presentation of the food and the size of the portions was also just right.

What’s the setting and service like?

The service was impeccable. The staff were happy, attentive, polite, careful and very interested in making sure that their guests were having a good time. This is really important as one of the most common criticisms of Buenos Aires restaurants is that the waiters really hate their jobs and couldn’t care less whether or not the guests at their tables are having a good time and have everything they need.

The restaurant is set inside a beautiful house, which has a huge patio rather like what The Secret Garden, written by Frances Hodgson Burnett, would have been like, and where the guests are invited to sit and dine. The garden is decorated tastefully with soft fairy lights and candles and it’s easy to convince yourself that you’re no longer in the middle of a huge, manic city, but in a relaxing beach destination with a laid-back attitude to life instead.

If you enjoying feeling spoilt when you go out to dine, “Agosto” has all the right ingredients to make sure you feel like a prince/princess for the evening. It’s a semi-closed-door restaurant, because you do have to phone up in order to book a table beforehand and from the outside it looks like an ordinary house. There’s no obvious promotion of the restaurant in any way to the general public, but… once you have been or the first time and you know where it is, it is possible to just turn up on the night and be permitted entrance, which is why it falls under the category of semi-closed-door.

Obviously, if you turn up on the night without making a reservation, you run the risk of not having a table because the venue is a small and intimate one, but arriving unannounced for drinks and nothing more is always an option and something which a number of people clearly enjoy doing in Buenos Aires, because at about 12pm the venue began to fill with people sharing drinks in small “standing huddles” dotted around in various parts of the garden.

How much and is it worth it?

The diamond question… price… is it worth it? The seven course menu and a couple of cocktails came to a whopping 250 pesos. I’m not sure that the quality of all the dishes served when I went warranted such a high price.

Having paid 250 pesos, I don’t have any intention of returning. I enjoyed the evening, it was great to be in the garden and to try a different style of dining in Buenos Aires, but the price is beyond the reach of most people in the city. When a restaurant is financially inaccessible to the majority, it needs to be a knock-out in terms of taste, and “Agosto” didn’t quite live up to its calling.

Having said that… top marks go for ambience, attention, presentation, creativity and style. I don’t regret going and it’s always interesting to see how Buenos Aires continues to develop an continues to push the boundaries in terms of concept and style.

If you’re feeling economically reckless… go for it! There’s no website, so contact Federico (the owner and chef) in person via the following telephone number to make a reservation… 15 5763 0909. If you want to just drop by for a drink, the address is Olleros 4137 (it’s located in Villa Crespo, half a block from Avenida Corrientes, and very close to the Federico Lacroze train station).

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