Last weekend we went to Mar del Plata (also known as La Ciudad Feliz), a beach city 400 km (249 mi) south of Buenos Aires, over the Atlantic coast. It was a little bit chilly but great to walk around, enjoy the sea view and the food Mar del Plata has to offer. I realize that this is a great destination for foodies. From seafood to alfajores, here is what you don´t want to miss:
1) Seafood. I love fresh fish (not much all other seafood). In the Port of Mar del Plata there is a gastronomic pole where you can find lots of seafood restaurants one next to the other. Mar del Plata is one of the major fishing ports in Argentina, so fresh fish is a must. I particularly like CHICHILO. Here I tasted a free sample of algae fritters (it was very similar to spinach fritters). I had tuna empanadas and my hubby enjoyed the calamari casserole (Cazuela de calamares)
2) Alfajores. The typical Argentinean treat, made of two cookies filled with gooey dulce de leche with a chocolate or sugar bath. The best alfajores are from Mar del Plata. Now, you can find the favorite brand Havanna all over the country, in 9 countries and is available online if you are abroad.
3) Ice Cream. In Mar del Plata you can have a taste of the best ice cream in the world. Well, in Argentina ice cream is one of the best, made by Italian immigrants and their descendants. Usually, a family business. There are lots of ice cream shops over the city, but the best spots are Helados Italia y Lucciano´s (and Freddo of course, but not typically marplatense). The last one impressed me with all the best ice pops I ever had. Made with the best ingredients, chocolate and dulce de leche, strawberry, cream, etc. My daughter loved it! (and so we did)
4) Produce. It must be the closeness to the field and farms, the air, I don´t know why… but fruits and vegetables bought in Mar del Plata markets taste better. Especially vegetables like corn, potatoes (a nearby city, Balcarce, is known for been a big potato producer) and fruits like kiwi! I just find out that the fruit production reached international quality standards and that the 50% of the Argentinean kiwi is produced in Mar del Plata. The conditions of the Argentina coast are ideal for the production of this fruit, because it has characteristics similar to those of New Zealand, the leading producer of kiwifruit in the world. In this season, which began in mid-April and ended in mid-May, about 4,500 tons were harvested fruit in the area. Only part of the production is exported, because firstly seeks to meet domestic demand. In Buenos Aires city kiwi can cost around $50/kg (and sometimes they are too hard and acid) vs. $20 in Mar del Plata and they were sweeter and with an amazing tropical taste.
5) Eating out. The gastronomy in Mar del Plata has endless options. Besides seafood restaurants, I would recommend: For a nice asado La Guapa, for pasta Dei Fiori (hard to get a reservation) and Tiziano and for varied food Dos 55, a new restaurant with a very nice ambience and great food from meats to pasta.
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