Buenos Aires City Guide

Canal Parrilla al Carbon Restaurant Review
Fine dining at a fraction of the price.


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This bright airy restaurant is located in Palermo between Parque Las Heras and Ave. Libertador.  The Canal Restaurant, a mid-sized parrilla in Palermo, offers a wonderful parrilla with all of the class and touches of a fine dining restaurant.  We had passed this restaurant a dozen times, but were turned off by its bright interior.  On a night we were too tired to walk any farther we decided to try the parrillada para dos (parrilla for two) special they had displayed on a chalk board out front.  We were surprised and delighted by the food, the service and the atmosphere.

We entered the restaurant at normal Argentine dinner time, about 10 p.m.  It was a Wednesday night so there wasn’t a large crowd, and most of the patrons were dining outside.  As soon as we pulled open the door a server rushed to greet us, asked us where we preferred to sit and even pulled out my seat.  I thought it was strange when I laid my jacket on the seat next to me and he brought a table cloth over to cover it, but I later learned it was to protect my jacket from the sizzling parrilla platter.

The bright lighting we had originally avoided was actually quite pleasant.  It was refreshing to be able to see one another clearly, without the shadows of a normal restaurant.  There is a second floor, more of a balcony where you can look out over the entire restaurant and the street below.  From the bottom floor you can see the dark wood bar stacked with hundreds of bottles of wine.  There is a small display of wine, cheese and meat which tempts you to try one of the Argentinean Malbecs.

Canal Parrilla al Carbon of Buenos Aires, Argentina
Canal Parrilla al Carbon
Jamon (ham) and Melon Appetizer
Jamon and Melon Appetizer (1/2)
Argentinean Parrilla
Parrillada por Dos

The menu was simple, but it included all you would expect for a typical Argentine meal.  It included a small list of appetizers, various salads, a large selection of meats, four or five sides such as potatoes and cream of broccoli, pastas and a long list of desserts.  There wasn’t a separate wine menu, but an entire page was devoted to the various regional wines.  Our server was very helpful in explaining some of the various cuts of meats on the menu.  We ordered the parrillado para dos. He told us everything that was included, and then asked if we were familiar with these cuts of meat.  (The typical Argentine parrilla includes many things not normally consumed in the U.S., like blood sausage and kidneys.)

To compliment our parrilla we ordered a Mendoza Malbec, Latitud 33º.  It wasn’t very expensive, about 30 pesos or $10 USD.  I was surprised by how much we enjoyed the flavor; normally my wine selections are not very good.  This wine, however, tasted great with everything – the appetizer, the salad and the parrilla.

We started our meal with the melon y jamon appetizer.  It was delicious.  The honey dew melon was bright green, juicy and very sweet.  The ham was salty and tender.  The combination was completed by a small piece of red pepper, which all went with the wine wonderfully.  I was very surprised by the portion size of the appetizer.  When we ordered the server asked if we would like two portions, we said only one, and he said he would bring two plates.  He brought two enormous slices of melon completely covered in thinly sliced ham.  He divided the jamon and melon onto two separate plate so we didn’t have to figure it out for ourselves.  It took me a while to finish my portion; I couldn’t resist eating it all.  I was afraid our meal would come out before I had time to finish; I hate feeling rushed.  Fortunately, our server stopped by our table to check on us and told me to relax, I had plenty of time.

A few seconds after devouring the last of my green melon he took our plates, replaced our silverware and brought the salad.  The salad was very fresh; the lettuce was green and crisp, and the tomatoes were full of flavor.  Unlike many of the salads I’ve been served in Buenos Aires this salad was well mixed with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar I had requested.  Usually they serve you a bowl with each item clumped together as if you don’t want the combination of flavors.  If you are familiar with a typically Argentine meal than you are aware that they eat their salad with the main course, not before as we do in the U.S.  So, right on schedule, our parrillada para dos was delivered minutes after the salad.  The plate was sizzling and popping so violently I had to scoot my chair over so I wouldn’t be covered in grease.  I couldn’t believe the amount of food.  There were two large tire de asado (ribs cut the opposite way), a thick, 12 inch slab of vacio (thick, juicy but tough steak), a chorizo (sausage), a morcilla (blood sausage), moulleja (breast tissue), rinones (kidneys), and chinchulines (intestines).

Everything was delicious.  I couldn’t believe my boyfriend and I ate every piece of meat!  Well, every piece was eaten, although I only tried a few different cuts.  My boyfriend loves morcilla, but is constantly disappointed by what is sold in the U.S.  The morcilla at the Canal Parrilla al Carbon was some of the best he had ever tasted.  My favorite part of dinner was soaking up all of the juices on my plate with the fresh baked rolls.

We couldn’t of asked for a better meal, and all for the bargain price of 121 pesos ($40 USD), before tip.


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