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A lot of people come through Purmamarca, Argentina on a day trip, and some others might spend one or two nights here. I stayed an entire week! Since my guest house only provided breakfast, and didn’t allow us to use the kitchen otherwise, I ate out all my lunches and dinners. I tried my best to go to a new restaurant for each meal. While certain things seem to be slightly more expensive in Purmamarca, such as lodging and laundry, the food prices tend to compare quite nicely to the rest of the region. Wondering where you should eat in Purmamarca? Check out the list below:
ON THE STREET: Both delicious and affordable, trying out the street food is always a great idea. The most common food you’ll see sold on the streets of Purmamarca is a “tortilla rellena.” Generally there are two options- ham & cheese, and corn & cheese. They usually cost about 200 pesos ($1 usd) each. You’ll see grills down all the main streets in Purmamarca selling them. They smell good, they’re delicious, and they definitely don’t break the bank.
CAFETERIA EL ALGARROBO: This spot has a perfect outdoor patio to sit in the sun and watch the goings on in the main plaza. I can’t find it on Google Maps, but it’s next to Lo de Mateo. They have empanadas (deep fried only), humitas, fresh orange juice, and of course, cafe con leche. This is a great spot for a merienda, or snack. It seems to be the same owner as Restaurante el Algarrobo (listed below), as the exteriors are very similar.
RESTAURANTE EL ALGARROBO: Just a half block from the main plaza on Calle LaValle, sits this magnificent and unassuming restaurant, with the word ‘comedor’ above the main door. I came here one evening for dinner and asked for something typical of the region. They recommended to try the llama parrilla. It was fantastic. Grilled llama, rice with an egg, grilled vegetables, and potatoes. I also got a glass of red wine. All for $1250, including tip ($6 usd).
KUNTUR RESTO BAR: This spot is just a 45 second walk from El Algarrobo on the same street, LaValle. I came here for lunch one afternoon and got a great seat by the window. The space is actually quite large and has a ton of tables in the back as well. Sometimes I like to order food with names I haven’t tried yet, just to see what it’s like. That’s what I did here, and got the ‘Tira de Asado,’ which turned out to be long strips of grilled beef ribs. I was also able to choose one side between salad, rice, or potatoes. I won’t lie, I didn’t love the meat, but only because I actually don’t normally like ribs, and it was a bit too fatty for me, though the flavor was quite nice. Along with my meal, I ordered a fresh lemonade. The total for everything was 1630 pesos ($8).
I highly recommend coming here for dinner. Not for the food exactly, but for the atmosphere. I had the vegetarian ‘risotto,’ which was made with quinoa rather than rice, and I didn’t love it, though it wasn’t terrible. I imagine the meat dishes are quite delicious. However, the reason I absolutely fell in love with this place was the atmosphere. I arrived around 8pm, so there really weren’t many people yet. But around 8:30 it started getting crowded, and at 9pm, the band started playing. They played traditional Argentine folclorica music, and everyone sang along and clapped their hands. The main singer also went around asking everyone where they were from, and everyone clapped for each other. It was all very warm and welcoming. Veggie risotto + wine + tip = 1300 pesos ($6.50 usd).
RUTA 52 CAFETERIA RESTAURANTE:
I stumbled upon this place purely by accident one day for lunch, and I’m really glad I did. The inside felt cozy and warm as the musician up front played more Argentinian folclorica music on his guitar. Once again, all the Argentinians there clapped and sang along to all the songs I have never heard before, but loved. A woman at another table had ordered the fresh lemonade and cazuela de llama (llama stew), and when it came out I said “that’s what I want.” I liked, but not loved it. I wish the broth had a bit more flavor to it, and I also wish there were less meat chunks and more veggies to round out the meal. But I still enjoyed myself. Cazuela de llama + lemonade + tip + 100p tip for the musician = 1600 pesos ($8 usd).
DEL SOL-PARRILLA & RESTAURANTE:
This restaurant sits right on the corner, and is very easy and obvious to find with its bright yellow sun on the front. Decent food, terrible service. Similar to most restaurants in Purmamarca, you will be able to enjoy live folclorica music with your meal. Personally, I didn’t feel the ambience of this restaurant was as warm and inviting as several others I went to. Also, I felt like I was a burden to the servers who sat at the register chatting with each other, ignoring the customers. I definitely don’t need super attentive service, but I do appreciate the bare minimum, and this place was not it. It took ages to put in my food order, (food came quickly actually), and then ask for the bill, and even longer to get my change. When I looked back at the register to see if the waitress was going to bring my change, she was just sitting there chatting. Only once I made eye contact with her did she finally bring my change so I could leave. I ate the llama al disco, which was like a stew with potatoes and rice. The flavor was rich and the llama was quite tender. I recommend for the food, but not the service. Llama al disco + lemonade = 1600 pesos ($8 usd).
This was my most expensive meal, but also one of the best. The ambience was incredibly warm, cozy, and inviting. I sat next to the fireplace. I was here in the evening, the lights were low, and the music was pleasant. This was one of the few restaurants that didn’t have live music, but it was a nice change to lay low and read my book. I ordered a glass of Malbec, lomo de ternera, and mashed potatoes for a total of 2500 pesos (including tip) ($12 usd).
KUNTURI CAFE TIENDA:
Unfortunately I only discovered this place on my last day. But it seems to be the only spot in town with a roof terrace. The food menu is a bit limited, as they only had pizza and empanadas available when I went. But they have several cafe and drink options. It was a lovely place to sit, read, and have a meal in the sun with a beautiful view. You can find the entrance just off the main street of Rivadavia, just before reaching Calle Salta. You’ll pass through a small courtyard and the stairs are to the left.