The Perfect Plate of Rabas: El Preferido de Palermo

Long before Palermo Soho flooded with overly trendy porteños, when Spanish was still the dominate language of the neighborhood, El Preferido de Palermo opened as a standard almácen-like bodegón: no frills, attentive service, solid food.  Since the opening in 1952, this restaurant on the corner of Guatemala and Borges has stayed true to its heritage, specializing in a Spanish influenced porteño menu: tapas, guisos, picadas, parrilla, pastas, mariscos.   Half almacén with high bar tables and half restaurant with a more traditional dining room, I had the pleasure to DOWN one of the best plates of fried calamari.

The space, always filled to the max with both a local and tourist crowd, ideal for both people and product watching.  Stacked on the walls are cans and jars of local and imported products: olives, peppers, artichokes, palmitos, and Fernets, with massive salamis and ginormous hams dangling from the rafters.

Perusing the menu, I had a real hard time what to choose.  I know they do a good guiso, but I didn’t want anything too hearty, the picadas also looked wonderful, but I wasn’t in the mood for salty meaty delights.  Looking around I saw a common theme at each table: rabas, rabas and more rabas. Almost every single table had a massive plate of fried calamari. I could definitely get into some of that.

There’s nothing like a large plate overflowing with perfectly fried, salted, lemony calamari lightly sprinkled with flakes of parsley.  I’ve eaten many-o-plates of calamari in my South American adventures, in Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, and time after time it comes out a bit off: still frozen, too greasy, too soggy, too mushy, too chewy… I could write a whole blog post on my trials and tribulations with the round fried disks.  But I do not have any complaints about these calamaris – especially since they are served on top of a double whammy of fried loveliness: papas españoles (Spanish potatoes) and when done correctly (and these were), consist of the perfect hybrid between a chip and a french fry. 

That’s it. A great plate of rabas,  a cold liter of Quilmes and soak in the charming atmosphere.

El Preferido de Palermo
Jorge L. Borges 2108
Monday – Saturday: 12pm – 4pm, 8pm – closing
Tel: 4774-6585

Last two photos from Guia Oleo and Flickr.




  1. Celina says

    I haven’t been to this place, but I would like to recommend the rabas from La Robla, on Costa Rica & Medrano. I tried them yesterday and was very impressed -the best ones I’ve had in years. Not greasy at all, no bits of batter falling off or anything. They look a lot like the ones on the first photo, but less shiny. Very, very pleased.

    By the way, does anyone know if it’s possible to find crumbed squid rings? (other than the crappy frozen ones they sell at supermarkets, which fall apart when you cook them). Thanks.

  2. says

    Hi Allie! Great place, great post. I love El Preferido even more in winter!
    It’s my first comment, but not my first time in your blog, so I’ve two doubts: Are you an argentinian girl? Do I always has to write my comments in english?

  3. says

    I haven’t been able to figure out what they serve only in the restaurant side and what you can get on the bedegon side, but I am a huge fan of the Asturia style beans-ham-sausage thing available on the restaurant side.


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