Friday, November 19, 2010

Pizza in Buenos Aires...with Pepperoni

Photo by Dan Perlman
Buenos Aires seems to have pizzerias on every other street corner. Any traveler or new resident from North America or Europe would be happy to see that, something many wouldn't expect in a South American city. But when you finally get around to eating pizza in Buenos Aires, you realize it is completely different from what you are used to.

In fact, there are many who claim it's the worst pizza in the world. I for one wouldn't go that far, since the average pizza I've had in Buenos Aires has been on par with pizza I've had in much of Europe and the United States in the states not on the east and west coasts, or major cities like Chicago. 

Pizza in Buenos Aires is seldom a thin crust by world standards and very far from "New York thin crust" standards.The mozzarella cheese used is often a softer type with a different flavor than people are used to (finding good cheese is an issue many expats in BA are quick to bring up...despite all the damn cows). The pizza crust is pretty thick, while remaining reasonable light and fluffy. Think of BA pizza as being more like a 3cm bread with sauce and cheese. 

The pizza culture is also a bit different than many are used to. You'll find virtually every pizzeria has a menu of different types of pizzas they serve. Not listed on these menus are toppings. So the Buenos Aires pizza culture does not include much self-experimentation. In many other countries, someone might have a special concoction of toppings they prefer that they order on a pizza. In Buenos Aires, it's more of just trying different options on a menu. And for the bold, it's asking for something customized with specific toppings, even when the menu doesn't encourage it.

So on my quest for the best pizza in Buenos Aires, I've tried a number of different places. Perhaps it's because it's what I'm used to, but the pizzerias that serve the closest to "New York style" pizza are the ones I prefer. 

I've only tried about 20 different pizzerias in Buenos Aires, but I already have a top few:

Siamo nel Forno
Costa Rica 5886, Palermo Hollywood, Buenos Aires

The best of the best. Siamo nel Forno is considered by many to be the best pizza in Buenos Aires, and I concur. The crust is cripsy on the outside, chewy in the middle. The cheese selected is real mozzarella, and not the lower quality cheese you get used to finding on pizza in BA. If you order a pizza margherita (see image), you'll get just a light amount of quality tomatoe, muzzarella y albahaca.



Pizzeria Morris
Costa Rica 5799, Palermo Hollywood, Buenos Aires
Morris has all the same options as every other Buenos Aires pizzeria. But what they do with the crust is what sets them apart as my favorite Buenos Aires pizzeria thus far. Just looking at this iphone photo, anyone used to pizza in Buenos Aires will see the crust is different than most pizzerias. It's crisp on the outside, slightly chewy in the middle. The sauce was also quite different, as it was a simple tomato sauce one would be used to from a traditional New York pizzeria. The photo to the left is just a simple Muzzarella pizza (salsa tomate y muzzarella) with the standard topping of whole green olives. If you're in Palermo, it's worth trying.


Punto Pizza
Paraguay 3779, Palermo, Buenos Aires
When ordering pizza in the United States, I was never a huge fan of pepperoni. I always liked it on pizza, but just rarely ordered it. But since pepperoni is a non-existent food item in Argentina, I was intrigued when I heard there was a pizzeria that served it.

Upon reading a blog, I learned about Punto Pizza, a local chain with 4 Buenos Aires locations. I admit, I cared less about the pizza and more about the fact that pepperoni as a topping was available. 

And it was well worth the trip. They only offer delivery and pickup. Since I'm without a phone in BA, that left only the option to walk over there.

The pizza itself was fairly average by worlds standards, but very enjoyable. I ordered a small pepperoni pan pizza (they offer both pan and thin crust). The crust itself, even for a pan pizza, was very light and fluffy. So it was a very light meal despite the cheese and pepperoni.  In reality, this pizza was pretty close in flavor to what it resembles: a Pizza Hut pan pizza. It was nothing special by international standards, but pretty good for BA standards. But hey, they have pepperoni pizza.



Piola
Libertad 1078, Recoleta, Buenos Aires

I don't have any photos, but Piola is worth trying as it's thin crust, compared to the traditional Buenos Aires thick crust I mentioned above. Their pizza isn't going to win any awards, but it's a good balance of the traditional BA pizza taste, with some of the benefits expats will enjoy.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Map of San Francisco Happy Hours




Living or visiting San Francisco and looking for a happy hour joint? Here ya go...


San Francisco Happy Hours



Saturday, November 6, 2010

Fabada Asturiana

A stew of beans, chorizo, morcilla, pork belly and potatos.
From El Preferido de Palermo in Palermo Soho, a restaurant specializing in dishes from the Asturias region of Spain.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Matambrito de Cerdo al Verdeo

Grilled pork flank, cut and served in a brown gravy with cooked green onion and papas espanol. One of the daily specials at El Trapiche in Palermo Hollywood.

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