Break for the border for good wines and an eclectic menu
Monica Vendramini/Press Image
Make a metaphorical break for the border at La Frontera, with an owner hailing from Argentina and a menu inspired by cuisines from all over South America. The lesser-known younger cousin of the well-loved Argentinian steakhouse, Martín Fierro, La Frontera first fired up its ovens in 2006, 26 years after co-owner Ana Maria Massochi had first opened Martín Fierro. And it still feels like a local secret, despite being sandwiched between two of the neighbourhood’s busiest roads.
It’s no secret for the older, well-dressed crowd that fills the place most weekends, when you might want to consider booking ahead. If you do find it full, perch yourself on a stool at the charming bar and order a glass of wine while you wait. The resident sommelier Ezequiel Rodrigues has put together an excellent selection of 120 wines, and it’s pure pleasure to hear him describe the options. Or if you’ve got a favourite bottle sitting at home, they don’t charge corkage for BYO (bring your own).
With soft jazz playing in the background, and a single candle on each white-clothed table, the ambience is warm and charming – it’s not your typical carnivorous steakhouse vibe, although there’s certainly no lack of meat on the menu. We ordered paleta de leitão (suckling pig), cooked in the oven for three hours, with a crisp pork scratching on top, accompanied by a Tuscan farofa (bread crumbs) and potato purée. It was surprisingly light, tender and full of flavour. You might just find yourself buying a return ticket.
By Barbara Arvanitidis
R$27-$87; lunch R$42
Open noon-3pm, 7.30pm-midnight Mon-Thu; noon-3pm, 8pm-1am Fri; 12.30-5pm, 8pm-1am Sat; 12.30-5.30pm Sun
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