The best to get to know a city and its culture is having a friend living there, who also enjoys the simple pleasures of life. Because there is something that the travel guides cannot provide; those ordinary details that make the identity of each neighbourhood in a city. Buenos Aires is known as the city of the 100 districts, and they all have places worth visiting. But for not being in the fashion-food-centres, many bars and restaurants go unnoticed for most foreigners who are passing through the city.
I live in Buenos Aires since I remember. I love wine, drinks and good food. For me, eating and drinking are two of the most enjoyable pleasures.
The boom of restaurants in Argentina is evident and Buenos Aires is the best proof of that. Hundreds of places with food from all origins, most of them in the fashion districts and following trends. But there are also many classics wherever, offering their best cuisine without looking the others. And Dambleé is one of those.
Just five minutes walking from the promenade of tango, located near the Abasto area. While eclectic place, ideal for enjoying alone or accompanied, especially if you are abroad because it´s open all day, serving breakfast, lunch, coffee and dinner, nonstop. In their rooms, you can appreciate and share the lives of many locals. Elegant ladies who have lunch daily and drink wine. If they can´t finish it, the waiters keep the bottle with a little sign with their names for next day, for example.
Dambleé means double sense, so it’s a bar and a restaurant in all meaning. A place where you can have lunch or dinner very well, or live a memorable food experience, you choose.
It’s a restyled building, in the traditional corner of Rivadavia and Sanchez de Loria, but also with the classicism of recognized restaurants. Born almost 20 years ago, as so many others Spanish immigrant bars. Created by Don Cano, who for years took care of the family. Until Gustavo (his elder son) arrived. He is a tireless traveller and gourmand who loves the product, and lives to serve it at the table. He wants to become the best Iberian restaurant cuisine in Argentina. Something very ambitious considering that the Spanish and Italian communities almost cover the whole range of culinary offerings of the country. Gustavo, who always is there, looks into their eyes and knows to offer and how to please his customers. Proof it yourself.
In Dambleé there is much cares in the preparation, and specializes in seafood; a bid to differentiate itself from the everywhere grills in Buenos Aires. But to succeed, not only must want to but also have to be there. It is therefore essential Gustavo’s presence, when buying fresh fish, to look out as the plates and if necessary, to put on an apron and cook himself. His ancestors and having cooked in Spain and Portugal influenced him forever. So he is encouraged to offer one of the largest fish menus of the country.
There are dishes that bear his personal stamp as ñoquis de bacalhau con crema de piquillos (bacalhau gnocchi with cream of peppers). But the offer is very broad, ideal for a break from Argentine steaks and enjoys the best from the sea in Buenos Aires.
Getting there is easy, since it is located in the heart of the city, between downtown and the trendy areas. According to your plan of urban hike, you can enjoy both day and night, before or after the Tango ride, or Abasto shopping, or even a coffee in traditional tearoom The Violets (Las Violetas).
The best tables are those near the bar because there is Gustavo leading the orchestra. You can start with a couple of fresh oysters and a glass of Argento Pinot Grigio, a vibrant white that enhances the delicious texture of the oysters, while studying the extensive menu. It is best get in the hands of Victor and Adolfo, two of the most experienced waiters there. And depending on your preferences let you go. Before finishing the last oyster, surely you may already have on the table exquisite anchovies; haddock loin marinated or smoked salmon salad with Brie cheese. Then hot snacks may appear as baby squid in its ink or scallop au gratin. All options ranging wonders with your Pinot Grigio.
The key is to ask and share. Not only to enjoy more options but to take compelling portions. To follow, you can choose one of the specialties of the owner, the rice: paellas, casseroles and risottos, or Bacalhau Pil Pil, with whom Gustavo makes mourn the Portuguese.
At this point of your meal, surely the white will not be more in your glass; so it’s time for a red. And the choices abound in a list with more than 400 labels. However, it is best to go for a nice, cool and well Argentine red, without cravings of overshadow the flavours of each dish. An Argento Bonarda, the second red variety implanted in the country and unique in the world; or an Argento Reserva Malbec, are both wines that can be adapted very well to these seafood options.
Of course there are the typical red grilled meats. But if you prefer meat rather than fish, the suckling Segovia or options based on pork are the most attractive. And Malbec will be the ideal wine to have a full enjoy.
But if you are looking for a very porteño dish that is not on the menu ask for Gustavo´s Revuelto Gramajo.
For the best end, the desserts can be very traditional, either rice pudding or dulce de leche (caramel) pancake.
Dambleé is a place to have a good time, because the atmosphere is nice and busy without being noisy. There is a TV for solitary meals, a picture gallery with photos of celebrities, and a private wine cellar that hosts the owner’s collection. Besides, all seats are comfortable.
In Dambleé you can live Buenos Aires for a while. Watching Rivadavia traffic; the longest avenue in the world; pass before your eyes, like hearty meals accompanied by fine wines. And so, take the unforgettable tastes of the city, living under the same soul, with you.
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