Review: Pipí Cucú

Sometimes it bugs me that Palermo seems to take all the credit for the cool restaurants and cafes that Buenos Aires has to offer. Sure, it definitely seems to have more concentration than any other part of the city, but as a proud resident of Retiro (80 year old grannies, what’s up) I fully support other parts of town that have great culinary offerings.

Before I moved downtown, I used to live in Belgrano (le sigh, I still miss it). Leafy green trees providing shade over the quaint cobblestone streets, beautiful old homes now turned into embassies, adorable families puttering about on Saturdays. It’s a lovely place, really. But perhaps one of my favorite spots in Belgrano has to be Pipí Cucú, tucked away just blocks from Palermo Hollywood.

It’s a spot that will sate your need for a café con leche on a Saturday afternoon just as well as it can serve you up a delicious lunch or dinner nearly any day of the week (except Sundays). Charming and vintage, the interior is sprinkled with vintage seltzer bottles, mismatched antique cutlery, colorful ribbons dangling from the chandelier, and a black & white checkerboard floor. The clientele is equally as hodge-podge: elegant older ladies out for their weekly social gathering, young couples canoodling over dessert, a lone diner getting lost in the newest bestseller.

The menu offers a variety of deliciously simple plates with a twist, from salads and seafood to rich risottos and braised meat. You can’t really go wrong no matter what you order, and no matter how good your dish is, you will still want to sneak a bite of what your dining partner is chowing down on. The bar menu is equally as enticing, though they don’t make their original and delicious cocktails at lunchtime (sad face). A nice wine list makes up for that tiny detail.

We shared the goat cheese, pear and arugula salad. Topped with crunchy black sesame seeds, this was a perfect starter. Effortless yet tasty, the dish stood out for its simplicity. It was perfectly dressed, too.

For our mains I went with the chicken curry served over crispy rice noodles. My date had the prawn and saffron risotto. Both were delicious, though the risotto was a bit more of a bomba due to the cheese quotient. Definitely not the dish to order if you have to engage in any strenuous activity after your meal – it’s a guaranteed food coma (but a good one). The chicken curry was surprisingly good – I guess I didn’t know what to expect but I loved the crunch of the rice noodles. While the sauce was rich and complex, I liked that the chicken wasn’t drowning in it.

This time around we didn’t order dessert (probably had something to do with the massive picada we ate – and wine we drank – before even going to lunch), but the menu has something to tempt every sweet tooth. From tiramisú to pears marinated in champagne to caramelized bananas, you can be sure that your meal will end on a high note.

Service is friendly and efficient, the bartender (and perhaps manager/owner? I never have figured that out) is super buena onda and fits nicely into the scenery. Pipí Cucú is a wonderful place to meet a friend for a post-work coffee or cocktail, to host a Saturday luncheon with girlfriends, or for a romantic dinner tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the trendier parts of town.

Pipí Cucú
Ciudad de la Paz 557- Belgrano
Open Monday – Saturday from 12pm-1am
4551-9314

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