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Patagonia Sur, Buenos Aires

801 Rocha
La Boca
Buenos Aires
Tel: 54 11 4303 5917's insider take:

Francis Mallmann, the globe-trotting dandy who is Argentina's best-known chef and restaurateur, selected an appropriately southern city location for this breathtaking culinary love letter to the myth-rich, far-southern region of Patagonia. On a graffiti-splattered corner of La Boca, Mallmann installed B.A.'s most romantic dining room in a gorgeously reinvented old Italianate town house. If some of Mallmann's other properties obscure Patagonia Sur's light, that's a shame. In fact, it's a gleaming gem, with a menu full of Argentina's greatest hits: ensalada de centolla (spider crab salad), homey lentil stew, succulent roasted Patagonian lamb, and even a modern take on choripan, the local equivalent of a vendor hot dog, turned out with Cordon Bleu panache. The wine list brims with the very best Argentine bottles. (Try the 2002 Malbec from Finca La Anita.) Mallmann has a sweet tooth, too. His flan casero con dulce de leche y crema prompted one seen-it-all porteña to proclaim it the best she'd ever sampled.

Open Tuesdays through Saturdays noon to 3 pm and 8 pm to 11 pm.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.