(New Worlder) Where there’s fantastic wine, fantastic food invariably follows, and Mendoza’s dining scene lives up to this rule. Winery fine dining was pioneered by Francis Mallmann’s Restaurante 1884 at Bodega Escorihuela Gascón in 1998, with an array of wineries across Argentina’s largest grape-producing province following suit over the past two decades; Bodegas Lagarde, Susana Balbo Wines, and O.Fournier among many others deal in exquisite paired tasting menus. Let’s be honest: There’s nothing quite as sweet as sipping on a glass of Argentina’s favorite red grape in Malbec heartland with a view of the Andes. And, let’s not dismiss downtown Mendoza. Chef Pablo Del Río is en su salsa with Fuente & Fonda and Zampa, while solid dining experiences are also had at Azafrán and María Antonieta. Here’s our rundown of the best spots to settle in for a meal in Mendoza.
Siete Cocinas’ fans were up in arms when Pablo Del Río closed his fine-dining establishment in 2016 –and more so given that new kid Zampa rose from the ashes in the same location. Del Río’s happiness with the decision shines through, however, with a delicious array of small plates from trout sliders with olive mayo, rabbit sausage and roasted bone marrow. Eating instructions are clear: using your hands is totally acceptable. Definitely ask for wine advice from jolly top somm Mariano Moreno; also keep an eye out for top winemakers kicking back here. zampacocina.com.ar
Culinary pioneer Francis Mallmann is behind Mendoza’s original winery restaurant in Godoy Cruz, the southern district closest to Mendoza city. To be expected, fire, in all its technical formats from clay oven to parrilla, is at the heart of this fine-dining establishment where a tight ship serves up an impeccable array of fire-touched ingredients such as charred goat cheese with bell peppers, seven-hour slow-cooked lamb, and roasted peaches and plums drizzled with mascarpone. Dinner only. 1884restaurante.com.ar
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