La Casa Polaca Offers Kitsch, Borscht and… Live Piano Music

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I sauntered up to the tall black gates when the uniformed groundskeeper approached me and asked if I had a reservation. I didn’t. And it was a Friday night. He corroborated both facts, and added that there would be a 45-minute wait. As many onlookers would agree, La Casa Polaca imbues an air of exclusivity and intrigue. A tiny sign by the gated entrance whispers the presence of a restaurant, and a few small windows at the ground level peer into a curious dining salon. And so, we were especially excited about getting in when the news came of an available table.

My Kelty and I walked back up to the double-gates, stepping past the line and through the one-gated door that was swung open.

Our host, aka “the groundskeeper,” ushered us through the outdoor corridor and down the staircase into a peculiar haven. Pink upholstery outfitted the chairs; white table cloths dressed the tables; and art pieces evocative of village life adorned the walls. Kelty and I sat down, and a couple minutes later, the piano man began to play a classical number. Since I was wearing a long white wool coat that cold winter night, our kind waiter placed it on the adjacent seat and tucked a tablecloth over it.

I became even more engrossed with the menu. All the Polish dishes were subtitled in Spanish. In search of borscht (the iconic Polish beet soup), I instead found “Barszcz czerwony” or “Sopa de remolachas.” This deep pink soup came in a large white bowl, and offered a perfect balance of savory cream and sweet beets. While borscht is usually more substantive with chunks of beets and assorted vegetables, this well-blended soup had a decadent flavor. And it really hit the spot.

For my main entrée, I ordered the traditional bigos or “Chucrut guisado,” a stew of sauerkraut and mixed pork pieces with a smoked sausage on the side. When I asked for hot sauce, as I usually do, I was actually given something with a kick to it. A side bowl of paprika, which came accompanied with the typical Argentine warning, “Careful! It’s really spicy.” I graciously spooned the paprika on top of the sauerkraut, and delighted in the mixture of flavors. Though I wasn’t blown away, the dish was very home-style and hearty, and this was exactly what I was looking for that night.

For dessert, Kelty and I had the “szarlotka,” the Polish version of apple pie, and vanilla ice cream. Brought up on the classic American dessert of warm apple pie and cold ice cream, we missed the contrast in temperatures between the two; the pie was just room-temperature. But I think I’ll foray into the rest of the large dessert selection that included cheesecake with raisins and pears in borgoña wine.

In addition to the traditional culinary offering of pierogi (dumplings), prepared with various stuffings and sauces, and chlodnik (yogurt soup), La Casa Polaca serves the classic Argentine steak—with Eastern European touches—as well as various pasta dishes. I also made a mental note to come back for its variety of crepes: ricotta and walnut, mozzarella and bacon, or sauerkraut and mushrooms.

Though I cannot vouch for its authenticity, La Casa Polaca certainly presents a unique offering: a kitschy atmosphere and delicious borscht. And hearty plates of soups, stews and sauces that will fill your tummy with warmth especially during the cold winter nights here in the Southern Hemisphere.

To find more restaurants in Buenos Aires, check out our delicious dining guide!

La Casa Polaca
Jorge L. Borges 2076, Palermo
Major credit cards accepted.
Open Tuesday to Saturday, 8PM-12:30AM
Prices: Appetizers and Desserts: $10-20/ Entrée: $24-35

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