Buenos Aires, Argentina
Pablo Jesus Rivero with Guido Tassi
What makes it stand out: All the beef at Don Julio is from grass-fed Aberdeen Angus and Hereford cattle, raised in the countryside outside Buenos Aires. It is stored in a climate-controlled refrigerator for at least 21 days to reach optimum maturity. Then grillmaster Bienvenido ‘Pepe’ Sotelo cooks all the beef on a traditional “V” iron grill. Match with beautiful Malbec for the full experience.
Typical dishes: While Don Julio serves pretty much every part of the cow, owner Pablo Rivero recommends ordering house cuts like bife de cuadril (rump steak) and entraña (skirt steak). For a starter, opt for the fried beef empanadas and the crispy mollejas (sweetbreads), which are lightly seasoned with just lemon juice and salt.
A brief history: Rivero, the son and grandson of established livestock producers from Rosario, opened the restaurant in 1999 in his early 20s. Now a respected sommelier as well as one of the city’s highest-profile restaurateurs, he is also known for his exemplary approach to hospitality, which has won Don Julio an Art of Hospitality Award at Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2018. The restaurant also vies for the title of the premier parrilla in Buenos Aires, and last year, for the first time ever, took home the award for The Best Restaurant in Argentina at Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants.
What’s the dining space like? The building dates to the 19th century, with the interior walls lined with empty wine bottles, converting the rustic space into a welcoming wine sanctuary. Diners from around the world leave their personal mark signing the labels of the great Argentine wines with handwritten messages.