Aptly named Porteño – a term that translates to port city dweller and is commonly used to refer to a resident of Buenos Aries – you need to come to this Argentinean grill with an empty stomach. Created by the enigmatic team behind Bodega, chefs and owners Elvis Abrahanowicz and Ben Milgate, the food is heavy, hearty and typically Argentinean. There’s a lot of meat and stream of small plates sporting delicious char-grilled vegetables, rich salads, cured fish and empanadas.
Abrahanowicz and Milgate brave the heat from their specialty parrilla grill, working quickly to satisfy the constant flow of customers. On the parrilla, you can find whole lamb and suckling pig carcases, Abrahanowicz’s father raising and lowering them with ceremonious precision. Note: the suckling pig always sells out, so best to order that one as soon as you arrives.
Porteño’s decor and interior architecture feels authentically Buenos Airean, with the main seating area housed in an indoor courtyard beneath the gaze of the bar above. Tiled flooring, portraits of Eva Peron, cowhide furniture, pony skin lamps, a diagram of cuts of beef painted across the workbench where you’ll find Abrahanowicz and Milgate carving it up – this place is surely going to keep you interested.
There are private dining spaces, the upstairs bar (Gardel’s) where you will likely find yourself for a drink while you wait for a table, cellar rooms, atrium terraces and balconies. But by 7.30pm the place is full and Porteño doesn’t take bookings for fewer than six people, so bring a crew or get there early.
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