Keeping on trend with the huge crush I have on my own neighborhood, let’s visit another Palermitano transplant in Retiro: Farinelli. Situated on a sunny corner of gallery-lined calle Arroyo, Farinelli serves up fresh-baked pastries and delicious savory bites like sandwiches and salads, all in a space that makes you want to cozy up in a corner seat and just watch the world pass by.
After Argie fashion designer Benito Fernández closed his shop in the same space, I was hoping/praying/wishing that someone would swoop in and capitalize on the chance to bring a little bit of onda to the barrio. Welp, it finally happened. With another spot in Palermo – on Bulnes and Cerviño – Farinelli brings the promise of croissants and fresh fruit juices in an area overrun with stale medialunas and burnt coffee (even though the resident abuelos love that kind of thing).
Breakfast is always a treat – fresh muffins (banana and dulce de leche, blueberry, chocolate chip), scones, lemon cake, and croissants that are so buttery and delicious you’ll think you’ve died and gone to heaven. I always take advantage of the fresh fruit piled up on the display counter and usually order a giant glass of watermelon juice to wash it all down, though pretty much any fruity combination is possible (bonus: they don’t add sugar or anything unless you want them to).
As the morning wears on, the pastries are swapped out for platters of sandwiches and heaping bowls of that day’s specials. Though there is plenty of room to sit and eat, Farinelli is hoping to teach the porteños the magic of take-away: its tag line is “Para sentarse, para llevar,” after all. Sandwiches run a bit on the small side but are tasty nonetheless – definitely taken up a notch from the regular lunchtime offerings. The cured salmon with wasabi mayonnaise was a real treat and I only wished it had been a big bigger so I could have scarfed it down even faster. A variety of inventive salads (think feta cheese, roasted veg, homemade dressings) and mains (ceviche, smoked eggplant and goat cheese croquettes, etc) are available and will definitely make your mouth water.
The space itself is bright and happy, with high ceilings and white subway tiles lining the walls. Huge picture windows face the leafy sidewalk of Arroyo and let in tons of natural light. Smooth wooden chairs and a nice big communal table right in the middle definitely make it a good place to catch up on some emails, that new book you’re reading, or to spend a couple of hours chatting with an old friend. The amazing floral arrangements are provided by Florería Atlántico, which is just a few steps down the road.
Service is friendly if not a bit slow; since you can either order at the caja or wait to be greeted at your table, confusion often ensues. Be prepared to either wait, or don’t be afraid to speak up and tell them your order directly. Otherwise, expect service with a smile. Also, if you’re an early bird like me, bear in mind that those flaky pastries might not actually be ready at 8:30am – on my last trip I was told I’d have to wait until 10:30 to get my paws on one. Not practical for those of us that have to make it to the office at a reasonable hour.
All in all, it’s an ideal spot that Retiro desperately needed. My only complaint is that it’s not open on Sundays, though that’s probably a good thing. Double dose of croissant on a weekly basis – not the best for my ever-expanding waistline.
Arroyo 900 – Retiro
Monday – Saturday, 8am-8pm