For every new favorite, there is a classic counterpart. Munich is the kind of place that hasn't changed much since it opened in 1956 and continues to serve the same home-style local fare. Its' prime location alongside that other Recoleta institution La Biela (the traditional cafe to go to pre-or-post cemetery visit) makes it perfect for first-timers visiting the city who want to get a taste and feel of a local hangout. Munich is where my husband, his parents and his siblings spent many long Sunday lunches and where he took our eight-year old son for lunch on a previous visit to Buenos Aires in 2007.
El Munich (as regulars call it) is brightly-lit with lace-curtained windows to keep out the curious, mounted animal heads (boar, deer and lots more), green leather banquettes, wooden panelling, white-linen tablecloths along with the jacketed and bow-tied waiters who've seen just about everything and served everyone over the years. Munich is like one of Paris' classic brasseries (Brasserie Balzar or Bofinger maybe?) serving large portions of classic dishes in a non-nonsense way.
No sooner had we squeezed into a booth and when a plate of assorted bread (breadsticks, crackers, rolls) was set down on the table along with the leather menus. There's lots to order at Munich and their extensive menu is filled Argentine classics like milanesa (fried breaded beef escalope) and revuelto gramajo (sauteed potatoes, onions and ham topped with a runny scrambled egg) but simpler dishes like grilled beef and fish are also available.
A had some grilled fish, An had the pollo Maryland (essentially a chicken milanesa which came with a piece of breaded banana and crispy bacon strips) and I threw caution to the wind and chose the chicken kiev (a large breaded rolled chicken breast filled with oozing butter and herbs). As usual, we shared a green salad and some shoestring fries. Don't go to the Munich expecting towers of food or herbs strewn all over your plate. Here portions are large, food tastes as it should and is presented without any fuss on simple white plates. Service is efficient and although the crowd is made up of mostly old-timers (just like the waiters), the atmosphere is friendly enough. The only thing that's changed with the times are the prices which can be a little bit steep for standard Argentine cuisine, but for a bit of local flavor, the Munich can't be beat.
R. M. Ortíz 1879
La Recoleta, Buenos Aires
Telephone: +54 11 4804 3981
*Open daily except Tuesdays for lunch and dinner