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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

iCentral Market

I have probably been to iCentral Market (Puerto Madero - esq. Pierina Dealessi y Macacha Güemes; 011 5775 0330) a dozen times, and for some reason I have not yet posted about it.  I love this place.  It's a great stopping point when we bring visitors to Puerto Madero to walk around, it is one of the few places I know will have a good salad, they have a great outdoor seating area and they are accommodating to groups, babies and English speakers.

There are two sister restaurants, iCentral and iFresh Market, both located in Puerto Madero one cross-bridge away from one another.  iCentral has a take-out counter for quick meals on the run, which is a rarity in the cafe culture of Buenos Aires, and if you proceed through their housewares and gift shop area you will walk right into the restaurant. 
Eating lunch with our friends visiting from the US at iCentral
The tables are nicely spaced out, so you don't feel like you are sitting on top of each other and the chairs are plush and comfortable.  The menu is ample, with a few items in each category; salads, sandwiches, entrees and desserts.  As far as drinks are concerned, they offer the usual water and soda selection, but they also have lemonade and fresh squeezed juices that are excellent.  I usually get the mint and ginger lemonade, which is served half frozen and is great as a summertime beverage.  It is even better when enjoyed with my smiling husband, as pictured on the left. 

They start you off with a nice selection of bread, served with herbed butter pats covered in sea salt.  Being a salt lover, I enjoy this touch.  Additionally, the waiter brings an amuse bouche to the table as they come to take your beverage order.  These have ranged from pate to a cream cheese based bite.  One of the more recent additions to the service is a bowl of hot water and towels that is brought to the table for you to wash your hands.  The towels look a lot like dinner mints, so don't be fooled, but when you submerge them in water they grow - similar to the pills-that-become-dinosaur-sponges that were so popular in the 80s.  I have never ordered anything that I didn't like, but recently, I've stuck to ordering either a salad or a sandwich.  They have interesting salad combinations, unusual for Buenos Aires, such as a pear and Gorgonzola with Dijon dressing (pictured below) or smoked salmon with poached egg and capers.  They also have a daily soup, the most recent time we were there it was squash and carrot and it was outstanding.

iCentral's summer menu has a delicious grilled chicken sandwich that I usually gravitate to, but since they have switched over to the winter menu, I have had to deviate from my norm.  The vegetarian sandwich is good with eggplant, squash and zucchini, but the real treat when you order a sandwich is the little bowl of fried potatoes that come with it.  This is their take on french fries, little crudely cut potatoes that are served the same as french fries.  One of our friends ordered the pastrami sandwich with arugula and his only complaint was that it came with too much brie cheese. 

If you have room for coffee or dessert there are several options.  They have just recently started serving ice cream, and although it is not quite as good as Arkakao, it is respectable.  I prefer their coffee drinks, which are as pretty as they are good, for example, here is my cappuccino:

With any sort of coffee order, they serve these meringue dulce de leche filled cookies.  I'm not big on the meringue part, but the dulce de leche is delish.  

So here is the downside of iCentral, it is pricey.  Not Cabana Las Lilas expensive, but over the last month or so they have raised their prices by 20 - 30 pesos per entree.  I expect these sort of prices in Puerto Madero, it's one of the more expensive areas of town, but it is frustrating to have the same meal that two weeks ago was US$8 cheaper. 

I still enjoy iCentral, and as long as they don't continue to raise their prices at this ridiculous rate, I will continue to meet friends here for lunch and bring our people from out of town to enjoy their hand towels and meringue cookies. 


  1. Dawn,

    Your posts reeeeally make me miss Buenos Aires. I didn't go this year because I got a short-term job at a summer school in Georgia (the country, where I did Peace Corps). That was six weeks, so it didn't leave much time for another BsAs excursion.

    It looks like everything is going well there. how is your Spanish these days? I'm in Iceland now but going to Spain next. We'll see how much I remember.


  2. We miss you too Jeff! Your Spanish was far better than mine, you'll do just fine in Spain. I'm still taking lessons, but nothing as intense as the school. Post photos from Iceland on Facebook! I hope you decide to come back, even if just for a visit, we could go to Oui, Oui!