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The JT Insider Food Guide: Mendoza, Argentina

In Argentina’s wine region, world acclaimed chef Francis Mallmann tells us which spots to head for and what to try to experience the best of his hometown’s cuisine.

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Food of the nation

Argentina‘s national dish is asado and that’s what we do at Siete Fuegos, the restaurant at The Vines Resort & Spa [Named seven fires, this restaurant by Francis Mallmann takes inspiration from Argentinian gauchos and the country’s European influence, with famed dishes like the nine-hour, slow-grilled rib eye.] where we aim to reflect the idiosyncrasy of our people and the romance of our land. It’s the warmth and time that people dedicate, not only to cooking but at the table too, that make the food in Argentina special. The food here is a cultural language that touches all.’

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Three to try

Street Food: ‘Go for the empanadas at 1884 [This restaurant by Francis Mallmann is situated in an old winery and specialises in Argentinian cuisine using his signature fire-based cooking.].’

An Italian Influence: ‘Try the ravioli at María Antonieta [The menu features mushroom ravioli with fresh ricotta and sage butter.].’

Go Organic: ‘Get the organic bread, that’s made at Bröd Panadería.’

1884, Belgrano 1188, Godoy Cruz, Mendoza. María Antonieta, Belgrano 1069, Mendoza. Bröd Panadería, Chile 894, Mendoza.

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Where you’d take a friend

‘Mendoza has many great restaurants but I would certainly recommend trying out the ones that focus on the local cuisine. This is where I’d take a friend.’

Authentically local dining experience

‘While you’re in Mendoza get a chorizo sandwich from a roadside food seller for a real local experience.’

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A stellar setting

‘The most scenic place to eat in Mendoza has to be our place Siete Fuegos at The Vines Resort & Spa.’

Latest food trend

‘Dishes with goat have become a food trend here in Mendoza.’

Taking culinary classes

‘You can take part in cooking classes at my restaurant Siete Fuegos at The Vines Resort & Spa [These classes focus on Francis Mallmann’s famous fire-based cooking techniques.].’

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A chef worth checking out

‘Three to look out for are Vanina Chimeno of the restaurant María Antonieta [Vanina’s food focuses on the Mediterranean as well as the wine region’s produce, all the way from breakfast to dinner.], Sebastian Flores of the restaurant Florentino [This authentic Italian cafe and bistro, overlooking Plaza Italia, also exhibits local art and hosts wine tasting and live acoustic music events.] and Laura Pinna of Ampora [Laura leads culinary classes, focusing on typically Argentinian food, for Ampora.].’

María Antonieta, Belgrano 1069, Mendoza. Florentino Cafe Bistro, Montevideo 675, mendoza. Ampora, Sarmiento 647, Mendoza.

Greatest food memory in Mendoza

‘This has to be of cooking in the height of the Andes, over a tiny fire, surrounded by condors.’

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Having grown up in Patagonia and trained as a chef in Europe, Francis Mallmann has risen to culinary fame by starring in the TV cooking show ‘Fires of the South’, and by opening critically acclaimed restaurants including Siete Fuegos and 1884 in Mendoza, Patagonia Sur in Buenos Aires and Garzon in Uruguay. He can claim to have cooked for celebrities such as Madonna and Francis Ford Coppola, and has brought out his own book on cooking with fire called ‘Seven Fires’.

As well as giving visitors dramatic views of the Andes and world-class cuisine, Mendoza is a prime destination for wine tours. Venture further afield to discover the food and wine of South America.  

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