What to eat during my visit to El Calafate?

The Patagonian Lamb

If you visit El Calafate, you will surely want to taste some typical dishes of the region, discover new flavors, and not miss any local culinary recipe that will also be part of your memories upon returning from the trip. There are some local restaurants that are very good and we suggest visiting during your trip. But what are the typical dishes or local flavors that I should try in El Calafate?

The Lamb

The patagonian lamb is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the region. Whether called “Cordero al Asador” or “Cordero Patagonico al Asador”, it is an exquisite typical dish served in many places in El Calafate and the surrounding areas. Make sure to sample some of these local delicacies during your visit, such as costillas de cordero (rack of lamb) or bife de cordero (lamb steak). The preferred method of cooking in the region is roasting or grilling, and the lamb is locally raised on the Patagonian steppe. A highly recommended restaurants or “parrilla” to savor this exquisite lamb is La Tablita or Casimiro Biguá, both restaurants located in the city centre.

Another great idea is to taste the lamb in Isabel. They prepare exquisite dishes, and brought to your table on a properly cured field plow disk to give each menu option the unique flavor that only the disk provides.

It’s another way to enjoy lamb, but also other specialties offered by the restaurant. It is definitely a recommended place to visit!

The Guanaco

The guanaco used to be a staple food source for the first indigenous populations that inhabited the Santa Cruz and Tierra del Fuego provinces. The overpopulation of the species led the provincial government to encourage the consumption of guanaco meat again in recent years, leading to acceptance by the local population and integration into traditional dishes in El Calafate.

Nowadays, the consumption of guanaco meat “al asador” (grilled), in sauces, or preserved, has made it a gourmet dish, especially for foreign tourists. It is a tradition of the province’s ancestors and a must-try when it comes to figuring out what to eat in El Calafate

The lamb in Patatonia. Exquisite dish

The Trout

Another one of the typical dishes to try in El Calafate is trout, a fish native to the region and consumed by both locals and foreign tourists who visit the city. Most of the trout are caught in the surrounding rivers such as the Santa Cruz, Rico or Pelque River, making the city one of the few places in the world where this species can be fished.

El Calafate berry

The city takes its name from the calafate berry, a violet fruit used in jams, desserts, and special infusions in the region. According to local legend, if you taste Calafate, you will always return to Patagonia. In addition to the lamb dishes, make sure to try the lamb with Calafate sauce, which is a local specialty that combines the unique flavor of the fruit with the delicious Patagonian lamb. You will find these Calafate berry during your breakfast. Taste the exquisite jams!

Isabel Cocina al disco, amazing for Lamb, Guanaco, Trout…

Where to eat in El Calafate?

Well, without a doubt, these are my favorite places to try typical dishes in El Calafate. If we talk about Patagonian lamb, you can choose La Tablita and Casimiro Biguá, two restaurants located in the city center. But you can also taste this delicacy at the ranches visited from El Calafate: Estancia 25 de Mayo, Nibepo Aike, El Galpon del Glaciar.

To enjoy Patagonian lamb in stews or prepared on a plow disk, Isabel is undoubtedly the ideal place. They combine local products to prepare exquisite dishes. Here you can taste trout, lamb, guanaco. It’s delicious!

Finally, to try the Calafate berry, we suggest stopping at Ovejitas de la Patagonia or La Churreria, where you can taste this local flavor.


Picture of Ramiro Rodriguez

Ramiro Rodriguez

25 years working in travel market, as Sales & Marketing Manager in RipioTurismo, Marketing Manager in Nuevas Ideas Travel Consulting Group. Writer and travel lover.

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