Saturday Date Night mission: different restaurant every time.
I’ve been wanting to take Juan to a restaurant that I’d gone to with a friend who had visited in October, because it was such a tremendously lovely experience in itself. Since Juan hadn’t been there, I suggested that we head over for him to check it out.
An Italian pasta house in the Palermo neighborhood, Marcelina y Garcia is truly the result of carefully planned service meant to provide guests with the best overall experience.
Set in a cozy ambiance, the restaurant’s decor is simple and homely. Its walls are decorated with kitchen utensils, such as draining bowls, rolling pins, and wooden spoons, and a clothes line runs across the top of the room, from one walls to another, with three colorful aprons pegged to it, all part of the decoration. The moment you enter the restaurant, the first thing that greets you are tall shelves lined with endless jars of different sauces, all produced by the restaurant itself.
Because we’d gone at night, the lights were dimmed and felt as it we were guests at a dinner party, seated in a large living room.
From the very start, it was a remarkably satisfying experience.
Since we hadn’t made a reservation, and it was 10.30pm on a Saturday night, we had to queue for at least 40 minutes for our table to be available. Of course, the wait was so much more pleasant with ice-cold champagne to while the time away.
I mean, just how many restaurants serve you with a glass of chilled champagne when you wait for your table?
After we finally got seated, we headed over to the very impressive antipasto buffet table, for which one serving was included in the cover charge.
An entire range of different Italian appetizers set to wow the senses – there were dried tomatoes dipped in olive oil, salami slices, sauteed broccoli with garlic, pan-fried mushrooms, cold cuts of meat, mozzarella cheese and olives, and so many other types of antipasto whose names I don’t even know.
Everything tasted so delicious (coupled with the fact that we were so hungry since we only got our table at 11.10pm) that we stuffed ourselves with so much antipasto, it was hard to imagine we hadn’t even been served our main courses.
Marcelina y Garcia is a place specializing in pasta, but since I’d had homemade pasta at Campo de Fiori just a couple of days ago, I wanted to eat something other than pasta (I know, kind of ironic).
The restaurant’s list of recommendations thankfully included beef, fish among other pasta dishes, and I immediately decided on a very temptingly described grilled salmon in cream leek sauce, accompanied with penne pasta, rocket salad and cherry tomatoes.
Here’s my verdict: Incredibly mind-blowing. Stupendous. Ridiculously delicious.
The salmon had been grilled just enough to cook it without losing its humidity, resulting in a very tender salmon fillet generously drizzled in a very flavorful cream sauce and finely chopped leek. The penne pasta made a great side dish to accompany the intense flavors, and the rocket salad together with cherry tomatoes gave a fresh touch to the dish.
After dinner, we were obviously too stuffed to have dessert, and when we called for the bill, the waiter surprised us with a complimentary plum-colored digestive drink, essentially a cocktail of red wine, champagne and orange juice.
We’d imagined that the meal would have cost us a fortune, but surprisingly, with a 20% La Nacion card discount, it was only 100 pesos per person, with tips included (USD 20).
VERY VERY WORTH IT. I’m rating it 9.5/10!