Tonno Canitas, Buenos Aires.

September 2018.

You won’t be going to this little place unless you happen to be staying in a particular Palermo neighbourhood, but it’s probably emblematic of several hundred such bistros in this fascinating city. First day in town, we walked a few blocks from our AirBNB, looked into three or four little spots but immediately identified this one as what we wanted: relaxed atmosphere, small families and couples, big windows on a corner, great smell.

Nobody speaks English here. But no problem, with hand signals including pointing and Google translate we ordered a simple Mendoza rose, and then ordered a large Roquefort calzone (pizza flipped over to form a semicircle like a pasty or chausson aux pommes) to share.

What we got was delicious but a bit different from expectation. The cheese tasted and felt more like provolone than Roquefort, but was improved by lots of little green olives (with pits), tomatoes, ham, and a wilted green probably arugula. We’ve had better pastry, but weren’t complaining. Nobody would have understood anyway.

Conversation was at a tolerable decibel and music was latin easy-listening, not pounding rock.

When I went up to pay, the guy was all apologetic indicating he was adding a 10% service fee to the price of approximately C$24. I got out Google translate and let him know that for the service, the food, wine and the price, which would have been four times as much in Vancouver Canada, I would be paying him a much bigger tip than that. He happily made it 15% and deferentially gestured to the smiling young middle-aged waitress who was the soul of efficiency.

Food 8.1, service 8.6, ambience 8.9, value 9.5, peace and quiet 7.9.

About John Sloan

John Sloan is a senior academic physician in the Department of Family Practice at the University of British Columbia, and has spent most of his 40 years' practice caring for the frail elderly in Vancouver. He is the author of "A Bitter Pill: How the Medical System is Failing the Elderly", published in 2009 by Greystone Books. His innovative primary care practice for the frail elderly has been adopted by Vancouver Coastal Health and is expanding. Dr. Sloan lectures throughout North America on care of the elderly.
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