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>> Buenos Aires
Costa Rica 5644
Tel: +54 11 4776-7374; 11/4776-7370
If you only have one night to go out for dinner in Palermo Viejo, this is the place you should choose. Federico Olabarrieta opened his restaurant in 2000 and oversees the service and the food here each night from the busy bar. The severe architecture, cold grays, steel elements, and clean white marble slabs belie the warm, wonderful service and food you will receive here. A small patio out back also offers outdoor dining. Lit entirely by candles once darkness sets, the place is transformed and soon fills with a young sophisticated crowd. The building was once the atelier of the daughter of Fernando Botero, the Colombian artist famed for his rounded portraits of people, and Colombian influences in the food celebrate this connection. Federico's Basque heritage is also evident in some of the menu items. The location of the restaurant was previously a fruit market, hence the name "Central" for Central Market, and bins of fresh fruits and vegetables in the vestibule celebrate this previous usage of the space. Food portions are large, and the menu has only eight main selections, which rotate seasonally. All are very good, with complex and contrasting ingredients. Salads are superb, sometimes with bitter flowers thrown in with the greens for colorful, tasty touches. Dinner prices push this into the expensive category, but lunch is a bargain at $4 for a prix-fixe menu. If you've already eaten elsewhere, come for drinks and enjoy them in the lounge area with its low, white leather sofas.
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