Parrillas and small restaurants managing to keep prices down

  • We are really surprised, after several months away from Argentina, that the meals we usually eat in favorite restaurants seem generally not to have skyrocketed while we were away. If you are here all the time, you probably don't have the sticker shock that we occasionally experience when we leave and come back, for instance, to a pizza place we love, whose prices zoomed from 270 to 600 (did flour, olive oil, tomato sauce and mozzarella increase that much?).

    We applaud the small restaurants that manage to hold the line on prices, and we hope, to keep their local regulars coming back in this time that is tough for retailers and customers alike. What are you noticing in Palermo, Tigre, and BsAs province?

  • I was about to ask about your impression on prices this year.

    We noted a huge price shifts in some places, and no considerable increase in others.

    Obviously, we have stopped going out to eat just because we are not in the mood to cook something, after we have been 'burnt' a few times with places costing 15 USD per person (remember, we don't eat meat so it's mostly vegetarian stuff).

    We are very price conscious, we can cook, and we usually have time to cook, so we like to go out if we want to try something we can't get at home or if we are really tired. In the first case, we want something exotic to us, in the second, something cheap.

    Cheap means under 800 ARS for the both of us. Of course we don't order beer because it is minimum 200 ARS (the same bottle, at the supermarket is 90 ARS).

    When we go out for pizza, we usually order the basic pizza (muzzarella) because the topping can make the price levitate of 150-200-300 pesos. Also desserts are on the order of 200-300 pesos, when at the bakery you can get a cake for that price.

    I'll admit that most of it, once converted into USD, is not a lot of money, but the psychological weight of hundreds of pesos is shocking to me.

    The other day I saw my ironing board sold for 3499 ARS in a ferreteria, and two days later it was sold for 1500 ARS where I bought it 4 years ago. Twice as much. My husband bought an all-purpose glue in a ferreteria and it cost 90 ARS more than in another one. That's a staggering difference, even in USD.

    So, everybody put up random prices, and this is NOT helping inflation and the psychological hysteria surrounding it.

  • You are so right, serafina - it is the random pricing that is crazy-making. An example -- Do you ever go to that little secondhand place on Scalabrini Ortiz (esq. Paraguay, on our side of S. Ortiz)? We browse their used cd's and buy oldies from time to time. A few years ago, 8-10 ps was a normal price; last year, 20-25. This year 80-100. Of course the cd's are still dirt cheap in dollars, but the large % increase is insane. They are the same cd's that have sat there gathering dust for years, of course, so it's not a question of their paying more to get them; rather, it is probably panic that their rent has increased, their own cost of living, etc. so they just throw a price on them and on everything in the store. We always buy something from the old couple there, because we sympathize with their situation, but the randomness is off-putting.

    When we go out to eat, the food is ALWAYS better than we can do at home! So we go for the atmosphere of the restaurant, and are rarely disappointed in the food. OK, sometimes. We don't eat a lot, so we usually share. Yesterday we went to La Escondida on Costa Rica, because we like the salad bar. My husband had meat, which wasn't stellar. But I had a delicious grilled chicken breast with the salad bar (350 or so) and it was 'way more than I could eat. The salad bar alone is 290 and has lots of raw veg options plus grilled potatoes, alfalfa & bean sprouts, etc. And a bottle of Maria de Codorniu extra brut costs 390 there -- in our local chino, it is $260.

    Atmosphere? Dark parrilla, with antique tools on the walls. Outdoor seating if you like, but we prefer the very backwall, by the plants and small fountain. If you haven't gone there, you might want to try it. We first went in 2005, back when their beef was tender! But now it will be our go-to for chicken and/or salad bar. Vegan food is so inexpensive when you buy it at your corner verduleria (the whole salad bar table would cost less than 290!), so I understand your frustration.

    You really said it in this sentence: "I'll admit that most of it, once converted into USD, is not a lot of money, but the psychological weight of hundreds of pesos is shocking to me."

  • Cat food - a 1.5 kg bag was $590 mid-August (post-PASO), and it was $670 this week.

    The dollar has increased of maybe 1-2 pesos in the meanwhile, so it is over 2 USD increase in a two-month period.

    Maybe they'll keep this price until after elections, so on October 28, the product might actually be cheaper... but Serafina needs to be fed MEOW (now)!

  • Most people seem to think it is best to buy NOW anything you will need in the coming weeks or months. But that is a system that works only if you have cash on hand, and, if you earn in euros or dollars, if you believe that inflation will outrun the exchange rate.

    There is a school of thought that says a Fernandez win would send the peso down. If the F/F ticket won and the peso went down to 70/dollar, you’d be mad at yourself for having to step around mounds of cat food and flour bags bought at the price of 60/dollar!

  • bite your tongue!

    No choice but to considering the closest McD's must be a two hour drive away. :P

    There was a rumour they were building one here but it turns out it's a ruddy petrol station instead!! All the young ones say they would love to have a McD's here so something is not quite right. I suspect the council are refusing them permission. :thumbdown:

  • McDonalds prices have gone up, all those fast food chains in fact (over the last 3-4 months).

    In fact, a quick glance through Rappi and PedidosYa shows most places have gone up, fast food or not.

    And yeah, I feel the cat food pinch too, and the cat litter pinch as well! serafina, what brand are you feeding?