Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Buenos Aires Pizza Showdown - El Cuartito vs. Guerrín

Pizza in South America? In Argentina? Yes, yes, y'all. I have to say that I was a little skeptical before our trip, but I kept reading all of these raves about Argentina's pizza. As I mentioned before, Italian immigrants came to Argentina in droves and brought much of their cuisine with them. Forget about the beef! Argentina has great pizza and gelato, too (that's for another post).

When doing research about pizza spots in Buenos Aires, two names kept coming up, Guerrín and El Cuartito. I somehow felt like I had to take one for the team to make sure you guys could see what each place had to offer. I'm always trying to help YOU out. ;)

Let's start with El Cuartito.

I liked the vibe of El Cuartito. It was a Friday afternoon, and the tables were filled with Porteños (the nickname for Buenos Aires residents) in large groups with large, square pizza pies, and a few had beers. It seemed like quite a few groups of co-workers. I saw almost no tourists (always a good sign), but what really stood out to me were the old Argentinian movie posters and tango paraphernalia.

El Cuartito's Dining Area

Old movie posters....I didn't realize the extent of the Argentinian movie industry.

The most common and truly local type of Argentinian pizza is called the fuggazeta. It's all dough, cheese and onions. For those of you into "white pies" (no tomato sauce), then this is definitely for you. We decided against a full pie for a variety of reasons, but you can try fugazzeta by the slice, too. For me, it was just waaay too much cheese (Yes, there can be such a thing). I'm not used to provolone oozing off of my pizza pie and plain, almost raw onions and I don't mix very well. This just wasn't for me, but I'm glad I got a "slice" (pun intended) of the local specialty.

El Cuartito's Fugazzeta. I so wanted to like this. :(

Husband J was ready for the real deal. To describe Argentinian pizza in my own words, I'd guess I'd tell you to imagine if Chicago deep dish and New York's version of a thin crust pizza had a baby. The crust of the the pizza at El Cuartito was beyond doughy and honesty resembled bread. The cheese was fine, the ham thick and salted, but, for some reason I couldn't help feeling like this tasted like an open-faced ham and melted cheese sandwich with some olives thrown on top. This was passable pizza in my book, but I don't think I'll be seeking it out again. 

Check how thick that crust is!

To be honest with you, we actually went to Guerrín BEFORE we made it to El Cuartito. Just like El Cuartito, at Guerrín you can stand at the bar á la an Italian trattoria. Make your way to the back and seat yourself. Guerrin offers fugazzeta as well, but Husband J and I were both too hungry to really mess around. We'd just wandered around most of downtown Buenos Aires. Instead, we ordered something similar to what we'd had at El Cuartito.

This is pizza, my friends. PIZZA.

Our pizza at Guerrín - tomatoes, olives, ham

The crust was thicker than the usual Neapolitan or New York style that I eat, but it was just enough to be both crispy and a little springy but not breadlike. The cheese was melted perfectly. The lovely hidden surprise? Fresh, tender ham. The slices of tomato brought out the tangy tomato sauce underneath it all. This was darn good pizza. Husband J and I polished this pie off pretty easily. 

I like that Argentinian pizza is a little different from the Italian and U.S. versions that I've eaten before. Italian culture has influenced the country in a different way, so it should have its own take on such a popular dish. So, yes, don't sleep on Buenos Aires' pizza. Really.

El Cuartito
937 Talcahuano 
Buenos Aires, Argentina

1368 Avenida Corrientes
Buenos Aires, Argentina


Janice Temple said...

Great article! I must try Pizza in Argentina now. It is on my to do list

April D. Thompson said...

YUM! I went on a beef rampage when I visited Buenos Aires, but this looks and sounds delish. Next time will have to give the pizza a try. I like a thick and doughy crust, so El Cuartito might not be so bad...

Katie said...

That looks so interesting! Definitely have not tried a pizza quite like that before!


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