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Carlitos in Castelar became a place of refuge during the power cut with its welcoming lights and tempting, elemental smell of grilled meat, sugar and fries. But Carlitos is a favourite whatever the weather, season or occasion. Simply put – the lomitos and burgers are damn good.

The lomito is a favourite here in Argentina. It’s a burger the Argentine way; a sandwich of thin tenderloin steak – ideal comfort food; the best ones are tender and tasty. The lomito completo at Carlitos arrives in a bread bun the size of the plate oozing with cheese, lettuce, tomato and ham. You choose the extras, if you’ve got the space in your belly – fried egg, avocado, mayonnaise, aubergines (grilled and slightly pickled), Roquefort, pickles, pancetta, onions…. All these option come in hamburger form too, where the lomito meat is substituted for the regular ground meat patty.

Carlitos is more famous for its pancakes but I admit we are too enamoured by the lomitos and the burgers to try them. The menu comes in a bound folder and runs to over 10 pages. If you try to read it all you’ll never order. Best to focus on your favourites.

The wine list is short and good value (there’s a decent Malbec at $45 pesos a bottle but it’s not too exciting). The juices are worth a look – the lemon juice was immediately to my liking because it tasted of tart lemon and not of sugar.

Choose sweet potato chips or regular chips (or fries; whatever), plus salad if you want to feel a little less fatty. We’re not sure we like the way they bring the chips to the table first, before the burgers, which results in us wolfing down a chip appetizer and leaving less room for lomitos.  But they will bring everything together if you ask.

Our local is shaped like the prow of a ship; a wedge-shape tapering to a point with one table at the apex (our choice when it’s free) overlooking Santa Rosa avenue and the ever-so-less-tasty MacDonald’s. There are Carlitos branches all over the place downtown and in the west.

Carlitos food is comforting, filling, and tasty, service is efficient and friendly and our local is a romantic place to dine. Well, the romance part may be due to the fact we’re newly married and not to the bustling, busy surroundings…. OK. The stove is not working properly, it’s getting late and it’s a holiday. I suggest a trip to Carlitos for lomitos right now.

Pic courtesy of Nellie Nichols foodie blog

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