¡Lo comimos tutti!
My folks returned to the States the other day, though not before we shared yet another exceptional meal at Il Matterello, an unassumingly elegant restaurant in La Boca, just a few blocks from La Bombonera, the stadium of Boca Juniors.
The exterior of the restaurant consists of brightly painted sheets of corrugated metal, typical of La Boca (more on this later); the interior is small, bright and simple. When we arrived, about half of the ten or so tables were occupied; by the time our appetizer hit the table, the place was full and there was a line in the entryway. I was glad to have made a reservation.
We were seated at a table by the kitchen, which is partitioned only by a small bar, so we could see the food as it was brought out. A favorite, which I nearly ordered, seemed to be tagliatelle (thick noodles) heaped with fresh arrugula. All the pastas, both stuffed and noodles, are homemade, by the way.
After an antipasto of fresh mozzarella, grilled eggplant, fried zucchini balls, more zucchini with melted parmesan, olives and salami, we dug into our main plates: spinach cannelloni – rich and not too cheesy, lasagna and tagliatelle alla puttanesca. The puttanesca was chunky, such that a different flavor predominated each bite: olive, caper, anchovy.
My Dad kept saying he thought he was in Italy. Might have been the food, but it might have been the clientele: mostly porteños in their Sunday garb, interspersing forkfuls with big hand gestures and exclamations that aren’t all that far from Italian.
For desert: vanilla ice cream with a shot of espresso and beignets with sambayón ice cream, covered in a chocolate sauce, which was so good that a few more bites would have been enough to convince me that I was an Aztec king.
The exact price, I don’t recall, but curiously, my dessert (15 pesos) cost more than my main plate (14). Go figure.