All natural-centric restaurants should follow the Hierbabuena model. A cheerful food haven that welcomes all dietary walks of life – the meat eaters, the vegans, the vegetarians, the pescetarians, the lactose intolerants, the celiacs, and the gluten free-ers. It’s a different take on what it means to eat conscientiously as a carnivore-friendly vegetarian restaurant where meat eaters can feel at ease in a green bizarro restaurant world.
Sometimes those healthy style organic-all natural-vegetarian-vegan-raw restaurants scare me. It will be the day when I comfortably sit in a bright yellow space surrounded by inspiring motivational
propaganda quotes while trying to decipher exactly which ingredients are in a live-raw-vegan-seitan-tofu-seed-filled “cheeseburger”. But Hierbabuena isn’t like that. In fact, it can be enjoyed by all of us who share an appreciation for good food and beautifully crafted dishes that are skillfully made with fresh produce, quality ingredients, focusing on flavor and seasonality.
It doesn’t get much lovelier than this set up – vintage, cosy, and charming, with pinstriped turquoise walls, warm lighting, checkered table cloths, shelves stocked with organic specialty products, wines and aperitivos, crates of fresh produce, and outdoor seating with antique patio furniture on one of the most beautiful streets in Buenos Aires.
It’s open for breakfast, lunch, merienda, weekend brunch and even transforms into a romantic intimate restaurant for dinner.
Right as you sit down the mozo brings you a bomb eggplant emulsion. ORRR if you go in prime lunch or brunchtime, it’s more like you struggle to find a table and calmly wait for someone to bring you the eggplant dip. AKA service can be quite slow *yet friendly and buena onda* during the rush hour. This ain’t the place for a quick bite, so only go if you are in the patient mood, because remember: it says a lot about you if you are shitty to restaurant workers. (And it tells a lot about a restaurant if the waitstaff is shitty to you.)
Back to the dip of my dreams: Hierbabuena also sells this eggplant dip at the Buenos Aires market and I recommend you buy it by the jar, take it home, and whisper sweet nothings in its ear.
Cafés and café consumers of Buenos Aires: just say NO to unadventurous lemonade with ginger, mint and mouthfuls of sugar, and get ready to be schooled by HB in the juice department (yes, I said juice department.) Natural juices, power juices, YERBA MATE juices, flavored water, fruit smoothies, yogurt smoothies, and TEN different kinds of mother fucking lemonade. T-E-N. Let’s start a well deserved slow clap chant for juice. Juice. JUICE.JUICE.JUICE.JUICE. JUICEJUICEJUICEJUICEJUICE.
Avocado sandwich: thin slices of roasted chicken topped with melted cheese – the kind with crispy broiled burnt bits – avocado, tomato and mayo and served on homemade whole wheat bread. Huge portions, lovely produce, and just a solid sandwich you want to keep on eating and ordering again, I still would have been more into it if the mayo had been substituted with the eggplant dip. Major plus: GLUTEN FREE bread option available for you gluten-phobes.
The lunch special is where it’s at, and probably one of the better executive menus in the city: two options that rotate daily and includes a pitcher of seasonal lemonade (or wine, beer, water), and dessert or coffee/tea. The dishes range from abundant energizing plates like a guacamole and fig wrap with pickled vegetables, roasted vegetable risotto in a sweet garlic vinaigrette, quinoa medallion, and that kind of business. The heaping plate o’ nourishment above: roasted butternut squash simmered in coconut milk, with brown rice and black bean salad.
Merluza terrine topped with a green sauce, served with red peppers and roasted eggplant – this was the plate that pleased even those who tend to scarf down milanesas, miga and chori for lunch.
Hierbabuena serves a mother of a brunch on Saturdays, Sundays and feriados (11:30am – 4pm) which includes hot drinks, cold drinks, trifle, French toast, roasted potatoes, Caesar salad, eggs Florentine, muffins, budines, champagne. Yes. All of that. It’s a lot of food. And unfortunately skinny girls who want to share one order with five of your best dieting boluda friends, guess again — it’s sadly limited to two people per order. (Brunch photos by Hierba Buena)
Hierba is such the hotness even the trendiest dogs are desperate banging down doors to get a table.
Caseros 454, San Telmo
Mon: 9am – 5pm, Tues – Wed: 9am – 12am, Thurs – Sat: 9am – 1am, Sun: 9am – 12am
Average price: Lunch special 80 pesos, other: 150 pesos
Word on the street is that Hierbabuena is opening a natural deli market, stay tuned for details…