Bread Basket

Green Salad

Empanadas de la Casa

The restaurant itself is located inside the Park Hyatt Mendoza. I'm generally pretty turned off by hotel restaurants, and I was hesitant to go here at first even despite reading very positive feedback; but, the fact that this is a hotel restaurant makes no difference with food quality or authenticity. In addition, the restaurant boasts a 300 bottle cellar, making it a nice starting point for our first night in wine country. The space is very open and is shared, somewhat, with the lobby of the hotel. While the restaurant is segmented off to the side, lobby noise does travel to the table. Despite the wooden tables, checkered floors, bowls of fruit and dried vegetables that decorate the restaurant, it still feels like eating in the lobby of a hotel. But, that doesn't really matter once the food hits the table.

The bread is served hot and is baked on the property. We started with a simple greens salad (gotta eat any sort of vegetable when it's available down here) and empanadas asadas. The empanadas were piping hot (I nearly burnt my tongue); but, once they cooled, were light and delightfully not greasy.

Saint Felicien 2005

We decided to pair our main courses (everyone ordered meat) with a Saint Felicien 2005 Malbec from Catena Zapata vineyards, as per the recommendation of the sommelier. The wine was really dark and reminded me of fresh blueberries with a little bit of vanilla. It was a really nice start introduction to Argentine wines. Now, for the main courses. My friends ordered the lamb (medium), goat stew, and angus rib eye (medium-rare). I didn't try the goat stew (I really wasn't in the mood for goat) but I did try the lamb and rib eye. Both were a little over-cooked for my tastes ... personally, I like my meat rare, edging on the side of raw. None of the steaks were marinated and or any nonsense like that. The ribeye especially, had a really round flavor that made me very envious ... that is, until, I had a bite of my steak.

Lamb

Goat Stew

Bife de Lomo

I ordered the bife de lomo (also ribeye ... not sure why this was labeled differently on the menu) rare and, frankly, it was the most tender, flavorful, juicy steak I have ever eaten. It topped my experiences at Peter Luger, Striphouse, and BLT Steak -- ok fine, BLT Steak shouldn't be in that list. But you get the idea. Wow. I was silent for most of the meal after that steak came, mostly because I was so engaged in the incredible flavors; but, partly because I was hoping no one would ask for a taste! I guess that's another benefit of going out with a table of girls -- you get to try everyone else's food but rarely will one of them ask for a taste of yours!

All in all, this restaurant is very highly recommended and, despite having only gone to two restaurants in Mendoza, I would return to Azafrán anytime in hopes of getting another bife de lomo quite like the one I had experienced.

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