Trattoria Olivetti, Buenos Aires.

October 2018.

We wanted a break from the local staple of beef, and had had a pretty good Italian lunch at Sottovoce two days previous so we went for this street-corner bistro, well-reviewed by a variety of sources. It was in walking distance, and we were hungry after wandering around a couple of civic gardens. Our reservation was unnecessary, lots of room on the main floor and also the mezzanine, where we scored a ringside table with a view of the main area and street.


Our server was an enthusiastic friendly lady who did her best speaking English for which I thanked her, but the food wasn’t quite at expectation. The menu seemed a bit strangely-organized, with starters, mains, and side items apparently mixed together under Spanish and Italian headings. Unfortunately it’s not online so I’m working from memory here.

We started by sharing a buratta-based antipasto which was pretty good but probably benefited from the famous starving-client-first-bites phenomenon. Our two mains didn’t measure up. Robin’s (seen here on the right) was gnocchi in a white sauce but the sauce lacked flavour so there wasn’t much contrast with the plump dumplings. Salt helped. Mine was a bit better, round raviolis with meat filling, benefiting from a very nice traditional Italian tomato sauce. Unfortunately the meat had a dry mush consistency so things amounted to the tomato sauce with accompanying relatively empty calories from my point of view.

We drank a very nice chenin blanc, and the price as always in Buenos Aires was very good by our home standards.

This place has a pleasant atmosphere and comes across as a straightforward genuine family Italian bistro. Maybe the chef had a day off, but I suspect (in one case I know) there is better Italian fare elsewhere. Food 7.0, service 8.8, ambience 8.9, value 7.8, peace and quiet 8.1.

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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