A Shrine to Argentina’s National Dish
Times are tough in Argentina and they say the average citizen is consuming less than his normal 130 pounds of beef per year (which is more than twice as much as Americans eat.) You’d never know it, though, at La Cabaña Las Lilas, one of the most famous steakhouses in the world, which grills up some 90 tons of steak annually.
Founded in 1905 and occupying a converted warehouse in the docks area of Puerto Madero, wood-paneled Las Lilas is the king of the capital’s parilladas (grills), and the destination of choice for government-invited VIPs brought here to experience the quintessential national specialty. Argentine steers are raised on a grain- and hormone-free diet that produces meat less marbled with fat and therefore lower in cholesterol. It is unrivaled elsewhere in the southern hemisphere, or perhaps anywhere in the world, a fact of which Argentineans are justifiably proud.
Although Las Lilas specializes in steak raised on its own 17,000-acre estancia, an alternative house specialty is the parillada, a mixed barbecue of things not commonly coveted back home, including sweetbreads, kidneys, and brains. Best to stick with the steak and accompany it with Argentina’s excellent red malbec wines from Mendoza.