I’ve had to adjust my culinary expectations in a few ways since living in Buenos Aires, with fish and seafood being one of the biggest sacrifices I’ve had to make. Well, my friends, I’ve found respite. Yes, a place where I can stuff my face with the freshest of fresh and with enough variety to satisfy nearly every fish-y craving. El Muelle on the Costanera Norte, my new best friend.
What I really want to know is why it took me so long to head over there to eat. I’ve driven by it countless times on my way out of the city, and even have friends who’ve been there – The Club de Pescadores – for weddings. It’s kind of this bizarre little outpost that is happily situated on the Río de la Plata. No, not on the shore … as in, you cross a little bridge to get there and if you’re lucky enough to sit on the balcony or near the windows you’ll realize you’re eating ON the water (makes sense since all the fisherdudes are there). It’s great.
The building is illuminated a bit like a telo at night but that’s fine with me. El Muelle is located upstairs in the Club de Pescadores – take a peek around if you can before going off to eat. It’s pretty cool. Anyway. The space itself is open and well-lit, and I can only imagine the views you’d have if you went for lunch. The waiters were super accommodating and helped us choose a table on the balcony that wasn’t too windy.
Let me just say that after last weekend’s let-down, our meal at El Muelle was utterly spectacular. The service was incredible – our waiter was friendly and talkative but professional and not once did we have to wave him down – and the food was just beyond.
There were four of us, and we decided to order two starters and three entrees. We went with the Fritatta de Mar (rabas, calamaretti, scallops and shrimp fried up and served with three different sauces) and the Langostinos en Costra de sal de limón (huge-ass prawns cooked in lemon salt). Hello lover. The fritatta was good – You can’t really mess up fried seafood bits – but the langostinos were heaven on Earth. I was taken back to one of the best meals of life on the Algarve coast: big, meaty prawns, cooked simply and to perfection. Luckily no one else liked the heads so I was slurping up brains-a-plenty.
We split the three mains and just kind of went to town. The menu might seem a bit intimidating; there are tons of options and if you’re hungry it’s hard to make a decision. Of course we had to go big and order the Pulpo Español a la Gallega (cooked up with some boiled potatoes and pimentón), and went with Leguado en salsa de Camarones (Sole with a shrimp sauce and a corn souflee) and Arroz Azafranado con Chipirones (saffron rice with little baby squiddies) which was kind of like a paella (but obvs not).
Let the foogasm-ing begin. The pulpo was, of course, out of this world. I will eat octopus in any form, and this was simply delicious. I would have added maybe a touch more pimentón (luckily the waiter brought us some peperoncino to spice it up) but otherwise it was cooked perfectly and just yumcity. The squiddy rice was really good but definitely took 3rd place to the pulpo and the sole. I wasn’t too amped up about the sole with shrimp sauce at first (maybe due to past traumas involving both of those things), but I was definitely eating my words when the plate was brought out! The fish was flaky and light, the shrimp sauce not at all overpowering. And while I thought the corn souflee was a random accompaniment, it turned out to be a nice surprise. At this point I was basically on the floor moaning and asking to be bathed in octopus. Typical.
Once the dishes were cleared, we finished off our second bottle of wine and enjoyed the breeze. After a little breather we decided that there was indeed room for dessert and went with the trio of creme brulees (regular, chocolate and dulce de leche). The only one that was so-so was the chocolate one (a little too grainy with sugar, sweet even for my tastes) but the vanilla and dulce de leche bits were smooth and refreshing. Wash that down with a glass or two of Cointreau and I’m ready for bed.
All in all, the bill came to be about AR$210 a person. Take into account that the Pulpo a la Gallega was AR$175, and you’ll realize that El Muelle is a pretty good deal considering the quality of the seafood you’re about to scarf down. Add to that really upstanding service and a unique location and you’ve got yourself a great restaurant. I would – and will – go back to El Muelle in a heartbeat. Like I said, the menu is long enough to keep you tempted for many meals. Might have to make this a monthly seafood date….
Av. Costanera & Av. Sarmiento – Club de Pescadores – 1st Floor
Fridays & Saturdays 8am-1am