I’m never thrilled to have a long-time favorite restaurant get even more tourist exposure, but I did enjoy reading this. It makes me look forward to returning to that great parrilla aroma. Even when I remind myself of the long line of business people and tourists who have “discovered” Don Julio in recent years, and the inevitable upscaling of what used to be a quiet local place.
Confirmation that it is bad news when an international newspaper runs a story about a favorite restaurant, in this case, Don Julio:
December 2018: Bife de lomo (shared) plus a bottle of Trapiche extra brut vino spumante plus 15% tip: 1400 pesos total
October 2019: Bife de lomo alone is 1700, no Trapiche offered, but a lesser bottle is 890. plus 15% tip: 2790 pesos total.
100% increase in 10 months isn't normal inflation. Don Julio and, I suspect, other internationally known restaurants, are pricing themselves for tourists and high-end locals. This used to be our go-to parrilla for ordinary meals, as the cost was similar to other parrillas and we love the ambience and the food. Until two years ago, there were no dignitaries or escorted limousines or waiting lines. Then 2 years ago, La Nacion did a big Sunday magazine story about Don Julio and La Cabrera and their chefs. Suddenly they became embassy favorites. Then international food writers amped up their praise.
Their meat is excellent, and we still have our favorite waiter, Gabriel. We will still go for special events, though not for the ordinary wednesday lunch in the 'hood. Its target audience has completely changed, undoubtedly partly due to the media hype.
The good news is that somehow, other parrillas and bodegones seem to be trying to keep the price increases to a minimum. But that is for another thread.