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No. 41 of the 50 Best Restaurants of Latin America – really??? – Restaurant Tegui (26. October 2017)

| February 28, 2018 | 0 Comments

I was really looking forward to pay the Restaurant Tegui a visit – currently ranked No. 41 on the list of the 50 Best Restaurants of Latin America. Unlike in the Don Julio, the No. 21 on the same list, the reservation process wasn’t an issue at all. I even had to move the reservation on relatively short notice to a day earlier and it wasn’t a problem at all. Once you’ve arrived there, you kind of have to look for the entrance as it isn’t like a ‘proper’ restaurant from the outside. It is basically just a door in a wall and you’ll have to hit the bell so someone will show up to open for you.

When you’re in, you’re served a glass of champagne as a starter which is a nice gesture. But then we basically have to wait for 15 minutes on the cushions which are located right next to the entrance. Creating suspense is fine but 15 minutes is way too long. And, ha ha, the couple which got in way after us was seated first. Excuse me please? And it’s not like the tables were all occupied – everything but two tables was empty. Really?

Anyway, after we’ve finally taken our table, our waiter brought us the menu which is basically just a way to inform you as there is one “tasting menu” (2’200 ARS) which we decided to have with the “wine pairing” (800 ARS). At first, water was served and that wasn’t a good start as he mixed up who had sparkling water and who had still water plus the water tasted like chlorine as it was basically tap water with added gas. So, we had a bit of an unpleasant start.

Before the actual menu starts, some amuse bouches were served – firstly, a water cress leaf, a kale, and a carrot. The carrot was too sour for my gusto while the kale and the watercress were actually great.

The “maté bread with butter” was actually quite amazing in taste and went well with the butter.

The second amuse bouche was interesting but there was too much liquid in it. So, I was looking forward to the actual menu.

It looks nice, doesn’t it? The wood. The glass. So nice. The “ricota” as the first dish was called combined with flowers was a lovely start. The ricota was aromatic and rich (although a bit too much for my gusto in terms of size) and went well with the flowers. The first wine which was served with it went well along.

The second course was “ostra” (oyster) which was served with green strawberries and tasted fine. Not a big fan of oysters still but at least this wasn’t tasting like salt water with lemon – as the lemon was substituted with the green strawberries plus the salt water was replaced by the seaweed. Nice, but nothing more.

I have never tried frogs legs before – or at least I can’t recall. So I was quite curious to try the “rana” (frog) – served with a water melon soup, pickled water melon slices and frozen oil, it was actually one of my favourite dishes that evening. However, the frog leg itself doesn’t taste like much.

The best dish that evening was the “Ñandu”. Now, the ñandu is apparently a bird, so I guess it’s the first time I’ve ever eaten a ‘poultry tartare’ but I must admit – I quite loved it!

The “tortellini” looked nice – but see something – it is always the same way they are serving food. I mean, okay, the wood looks nice, no question but it is special, and so is the glass. So why would you keep repeating the same form of service over and over again? It isn’t creative anymore after the first time you’ve used that.

The “typical Argentinian bread” which came with the tortellini was – somehow based on puff pastry dough or the like – absolutely great. A bit dense but great.

The next course in line was “anchoa” which stands for anchovies. But I’m pretty sure it wasn’t anchovies we got served but sardines. Well, how could you know what you’re eating, right? Besides the fact that it was obviously not anchovies, it was prepared interestingly. Firstly, you would get the fish skin on top of the course to eat …

… after which the cover of the dish would be lifted and you’ve find another ‘anchovy’ with a cream of cauliflower …

… to which some sourish liquid was added. And while the first part was lovely, there was definitely way too much liquid in the pot in the end. The fish – whichever it was – was basically drowning in that sauce.

Sometimes, a simple dish is the best – the “pato” was refreshingly easy and not too sour. The consistency and texture were good – a solid dish.

The “liebre” I frankly can’t recall. I don’t remember it bad or good – so it must have been rather average. One little episode about the sommelier though – so, as one wine of the wine pairing we got served a wine called “Plop!” which had dwarfs on its etiquette. And it was a bit sparkling. Which made us wonder so we asked the sommelier if the wine was supposed to be sparkly. He tried and said, well no, but hey, try this. And what he had done in the meanwhile was to go back to his wine stand and shake the bottle with the wine vigorously to check if it was gassy or not. And it was, obviously. So he just kept shaking it, pouring it into a decanter and serving it again – to compare. I mean, really? You’re shaking the wine rigorously in front of your customers? Wow! I was surprised – and not positively!

As the next dish contained an ingredient we all didn’t know, called “chilto”, we got it served to try it in its pure form. First in it’s “sweet form” which was not particularly sweet but still kind of sour.

And then to compare in its “sour form” – and let me tell you that was quite sour. I thought of that as a nice gesture though. So, our waiter was kind, jovial, and friendly. But he should have focused instead on our table, on our plates, our glasses. The water glasses weren’t refilled properly, the water even run out (after we had helped ourselves). And I get it, it’s not key to the food experience but when I’m dining in Buenos Aires for approximately 170 CHF and in No. 41 of the 50 Best restaurants in Latin America, I expect an almost flawless service. And we’re not there yet – at all!

The “chilto – mandarina” was basically tapioka in chilto sauce with pieces of chilto and a mandarin sorbet. Very orange. Not bad but also nothing breath-taking.

The “durazno – maiz” which was the last official dish was fine – the corn ice cream lacked a bit in taste which was overcompensated by the dried fruits. In moments like these, I always remember why I prefer cheese for dessert.

The friandises landed on our table – and weren’t explained until about 5 minutes later when the waiter had asked us for honest feedback. Well, he got it but frankly, I suppose he wasn’t too happy as we weren’t too happy either.

What is nice about the place though, despite everything else, is the atmosphere. Not only because the room is held in a simple yet appealing design but also because you have a basically unobstructed view of the kitchen – which you also pass on your way to the bathroom. Quite nice really.

To be honest, I wouldn’t want to try the Tegui again. The food was nothing spectacular, the atmosphere is great, the service is not at the level it should be – neither the sommelier nor the waiter nor the ‘receptionist’ (not sure if you call her like that). And frankly, for what you get, the price is too high. 50 Best Restaurants of Latin America? I sure hope not, else the picture is quite saddening for the whole continent!


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Contact Details:

Restaurant Tegui

Costa Rica 5852

C1414BTJ Buenos Aires (AR)

Tel.: +54 11 47 70 95 00

E-Mail: info@tegui.com.ar

Homepage: http://www.tegui.com.ar

About the Author:

I started the blog in October 2009, while living in Milan which I definitely consider to be one of the food capitals of the world. I was in touch with food since my early childhood (as my father is a former chef). Whenever I can, I travel the world to discover new places, to meet people but mostly to try local dishes and to find hidden gems! If you know a place worth going, please drop a line to: info@thediningexperience.org. Currently, I am a member of the following food-related associations: Chevalier @Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Zurich-Ville; Membre Gourmet Dégustateur @Ordre Mondial des Gourmets Dégustateurs [OMGD]; Gesellschafter @Goldener Fisch and Member @Slowfood Convivium Zurich City.

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