Café San Juan: Worth the Hype

If Tony Hawk and Chef Ludo had a love baby, it would probably come out something like Leandro ‘Lele’ Cristóbal of the acclaimed Café San Juan. Sexy Argentine celebrity mega chef, total groso in the kitchen, TV personality, reality TV show star, tattooed douche bag bad ass, and skater boy playa has made Café San Juan one of the most popular restaurants in Buenos Aires. I’d describe the cuisine as mutt-like modern Argentine with some Spanish sprinklings and a few love-juice squirts of the chef’s Hungarian roots. Café San Juan has gotten lots of hype over the years, and while it’s no longer the hidden treasure it used to be, the food is still pretty damn good.

the dishes really shine. they have bold flavors. They have soul with unique combinations of ingredients. they are all winners. the menu? an inventive selection that is always changing depending on what is in season. there are no physical menus, just a portable blackboard that the waiter places uncomfortably on the table while you choose what you are going to eat: tapas-type dishes, large rustic sharing plates full of seafood, meat, more meat, fish, more seafood. choosing what to eat becomes a chore, not only does everything look good but you have the added pressure of a guy standing in front of you holding this heavy blackboard impatiently waiting for an overzealous gringa to make crucial food decisions for him . it’s a bit stressful.

Reading: Cafe san juan leandro cristobal

Let’s get to it. if you like pâté, ask for the rabbit pâté with plum jam or for those who don’t zpeak ze Spanish rabbit pâté with plum jam. it also comes with a wand of fresh herbs in the middle.

Talk about zoo breath, eat the bruschetta tapenade appetizer with anchovies, and kiss someone with an extra tongue.

csj offers a few different marinades. I’ve seen pickled rabbit, chicken, and lamb tongue all over the menu, and while I tried the chicken and lamb, and it had nice balanced flavors, I’d probably go for something else for another round.

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mussels are more my styyyyyle. once in a restaurant I ordered a large plate of what I thought were mejillones (mussels), but I actually ordered a huge portion of poorly cooked mollejas (sweetbreads). it was a sad day. Luckily the mussels really are mussels at Cafe San Juan and this huge tray brimming with shelled critters in a totally sippable earthy broth came out to greet me. he was so excited about this plate that he couldn’t keep the camera steady.

I don’t remember what this was, some kind of fish (really useful, I know) with lots of vegetables in a sweet and spicy sauce with crunchy bits. Terrible explanation, big plate of food that I licked clean. literally. I put my tongue close to the plate and licked it up and down until there was no more drop of sweet sauce to be seen.

I bet you want to run your hand across the computer screen and put those skrimps in your mouth right now? Prawns with tomatoes and mushrooms may sound a bit meh but it was simple, clean and cooked to perfection. the tiny slices of garlic gave it an extra kick, and I always like to get a little extra action with the fresh shrimp.

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Savory desserts are practically what I like the most in the whole world. really. sometimes I carry a salt shaker and sprinkle it over chocolate or dulce de leche in restaurants. this chocolate mousse cake bomb was topped with salty almond delight. a full power up. I got a baby boner.

The only disappointment was the bife de chorizo. the meat, overcooked in some parts, raw in others, and the vegetables had chunks of fatty chorizo ​​in the mix which I would normally really like (they don’t call me the queen of chori for nothing) but it was just too greasy <see puddle of fat on the plate>. I know others who rave about bife de lele, so my dining companion was convinced the poorly presented dish was intentional as we were caught filming inside the restaurant without asking.

For one hot minute, putf (yeah, I just turned picking up the fork into an acronym) was going to go to audiovisuals (you know, like the library section), venturing into ba restaurants and recording all the food. experience. For a test run, CSJ seemed like an ideal place to start, as it’s the only restaurant in Buenos Aires that already has its own reality food show. Long story short, I’m not one to be in front of the camera. awkward and awkward, watching the playback of me eating, slurping, and licking plates was more painful than having to endure a birthing video in freshman health class, or watching a movie with my dad where there’s a rough sex scene.

I’ll remove my annoying white whining complaints: yes, san juan coffee used to be better in the glory days when it was still something of a secret. And compared to other restaurants in Buenos Aires where reservations don’t really exist, they are a bit of a Nazi reservation with a strict policy. (the horror of a restaurant that really wants to turn the table, I know). but it’s still pretty delicious for a reason, and not just because her entire door is covered in all the press, or because they’re on tv, or because lele is a big hottie who gets her hands dirty (mmmm dirty).

It’s because csj has an excellent team of chefs who serve up soulful food with a lot of vibes, energy, and honesty, and they work wonders in the kitchen.

café san juan san juan 450, san telmo tel: 4300-1112 tuesday – sunday: 12pm – 4pm, 8pm – closing

note: café san juan has opened a second location, la cantina (chile 474). both serve excellent food, but the original will always have a special place in my cold black heart.

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