That Monday feeling

You don’t need to explain your need to go out on a Monday evening – not to me, at least.

Ninina now opens in the evening, including Mondays.
Ninina now opens in the evening, including Mondays.

But the question is where. Usually a day of rest for most bars and restaurants that open six days a week, sorting the wheat from the chaff – indeed, even finding any wheat – in Buenos Aires on Mondays can prove complex.

Whether the need for a drink or a bite to eat is related to a weekend as short as an expletive, or the traditional blues that go hand in hand with the first day of the week have got the better of you, this classy guide to the Mondays should cover your bases.

While expat haunt The Gibraltar (Perú 895) and its sister public houses The Bangalore (Humboldt 1416) and The Shanghai Dragon (Aráoz 1197) are failsafe options for a pint and some pub grub on a Monday night, they aren’t your only watering-hole options in the city of fury.

Brand new on the scene is Palermo Hollywood’s Tesla (Gorriti 5801). With an ample line of tapas, such as meatballs, garlic prawns and sweetbreads on the menu, as well as burgers and other sandwiches plus a selection of craft beer on tap for 50 pesos a pint, the future looks bright for Tesla, and it’s sufficiently urban without being overly hipster.

Tipple o'clock at Tesla on Mondays.
Tipple o’clock at Tesla on Mondays.
Also in Hollywood, and in case you’re stuck for sip inspiration, night owls should flock at Negroni (El Salvador 5602) whose ample cocktail list is available until 2am Monday nights. They also serve a mean lamb-burger.

Staying in Palermo, Wherever (Fray Justo Santamaría de Oro 2476) is a great low-profile spot to deal with a case of the Mondays. This bar with a definite pub attitude has a superb line in whisky in all its forms. Irish whiskey fans will appreciate the Tullamore Dew, Connemara, 12-year-old Jameson and Tyrconnell on offer, for example.

Celebrating its second anniversary this past week, take matters up a gear at Verne Club (Medrano 1475). Its ample classic and bespoke cocktail list – the latter which is inspired by Jules Verne’s novel 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea – is created by star bartender Fede Cuco and team. Try the Opium Fashioned, where bourbon meets black tea syrup and orange bitters, literally a smoking concoction. You can also tuck into gourmet hot-dogs topped with goat’s cheese and caramelized onions created by Spanish chef Yago Márquez.

Recoleta and Microcentro
There are three hours of joy to be had at Portezuelo’s (Vicente López 2160) happy hour on Mondays. Choose from the likes of Bellini, Pisco Sour and Margarita at two-for-one prices until 9pm. However, the longest happy hour in the city award goes to La Puerta Roja (Chacabuco 733) in San Telmo, which goes on for a whopping 10 hours from midday onwards every weekday.

Shout Brasas & Drinks (Maipú 981), a relatively new addition to Microcentro, now has 32 wines on tap. Count them! That’s quite the ample selection of fermented grape juice. You should also cast an eye at the sexy cocktail list and tuck into culinary gems such as chicken liver paté with toasted brioche and the incredible baked cauliflower.

In Microcentro on a Monday night? Head to Shout.
In Microcentro on a Monday night? Head to Shout.
For a get-me-pissed-quick-squeeze-me-slowly type of drink, head to BASA (Basavilbaso 1328) for Ludo De Biaggi’s Moscow Mule. Don’t get too sloshed, though, because it’s definitely worth sticking around for dinner and sampling trout carpaccio or the pork flank marinated in coriander, lime juice and jalapeños.

South America’s best bar is also good enough to keep punters fed and watered. With last orders at 1.30am on Mondays, make Florería Atlántico (Arroyo 872) your last port of call for a refreshing Chinchibirra made by head barman Sebastián Atienza’s fair hands.

For budget eating just about under 100 pesos on a Monday night in Palermo, NOLA and Gran Dabbang should hit the spot albeit in different ways. Liza Puglia’s fried chicken and sandwiches at NOLA Buenos Aires (Gorriti 4389) – backed up Broeders craft beer – slathered in one of various hot sauces is a cure for the homesick of the US’s Deep South. Gran Dabbang Café (Scalabrini Ortiz 1543) (Buenos Aires Herald, May 17, 2015) will get tastebuds salivating with their curries and aromatic dishes spanning India, Malaysia and Singapore.

Bistro fare
Uco (Soler 5862) also keeps its doors open on Monday nights, so you can dip into Irish chef Edward Holloway’s contemporary fare such as oxtail sorrentinos or the catch of the day. A Nos Amours’ (Gorriti 4488) menu deals in French cuisine; think sole risotto or ricotta gnocchi that form part of the daily menu.

For a great market-to-table menu that changes up on a daily basis backed up by an equally delightful wine list, Aramburu Bis (Humberto Primo 1207) is the perfect option for those looking for a bistro on the south side. Those stuck on Palermo but in need of a similar option should head to Antonio Soriano’s Astor Bistro (Ciudad de la Paz 353) in Colegiales.

Beefy fare
For a dish that could possibly be more Argentine than steak, sample some pizza a la parrilla at Morelia (Humboldt 2005). The Las Cañitas branch also opens Monday nights. Staying on the grill, contemporary parrilla Miranda (Costa Rica 5602) also sizzles an array of meat on Mondays, as do classic steak houses Don Julio (Guatemala 4699), La Cabrera (Cabrera 5099), Le Grill (Alicia Moreau de Justo 876) and La Brigada (Estados Unidos 465).

A recent addition to the Monday night scene is classy baker Ninina (Gorriti 4738), easing you from tea time straight into supper. Upping the ante with a brand-new dinner menu, kick off with a Beet Martini made with vodka, maraschino, egg white and beetroot and grapefruit juice designed by star barman Lucas López Dávalos, before indulging in Ninina’s evening menu that includes seafood pasta loaded with mussels and the like, as well as a rack of Patagonian lamb best teamed up with sautéed kale and spinach.

Staying in Palermo Soho, Casa Cruz (Uriarte 1658) is another classy Monday night option. Think seafood tabbouleh or organic garlic-stuffed chicken; veggies will appreciate spinach risotto or roast veg lasagne. Their wine list is also a sight to behold. For al dente pasta that might leave a dent in your wallet, Donato de Santi’s Cucina Paradiso fits that particular bill, though the Arevalo 1538 eatery only opens until 10pm on Mondays.

Overdraft alert
Want to break the bank or damage that platinum plastic? Osaka (Soler 5608) remains as tempting and wallet-busting as ever. Besides classic sushi, ceviche and Peruvian fusion, give the new Kobe Grilled Maki salad or Asia Lamb Ribs, served with an Asian pesto and creamed corn teamed with huacatay (Peruvian black mint) a whirl.

Still looking to impress a date? Head to Frapanese eatery Tô (Costa Rica 6000) for its Japanese slash French fusion that sushi-go-round kaiten conveyor belt or La Rosa Naútica (Alicia Moreau de Justo 246), which also creates all manner of Peruvian delicacies such as ceviche and tiraditos.

The upshot of all this? The street of Gorriti looks like your best bet for varied Monday night consumption, so much so someone could start a Gorriti gastro crawl (I thought of it first).

Buenos Aires Herald, May 31, 2015

Last week I was in Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia for Encuentros…

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