Eye of the Tigre

2011.Jan.07 Friday

in Life, Restaurants

“Time is the substance from which I am made. Time is a river which carries me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger that devours me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire that consumes me, but I am the fire.”

– Jorge Luis Borges

It’s been awhile since I’ve popped up to Tigre, and the other day a friend and I decided it would make a nice day trip – his first time. Most of the times I’ve gone it has been with Henry’s niece and nephew in tow, which means going to the amusement park, or for a specific event, so I didn’t have time to really wander. This time, we decided to walk the circuito turistico, the walk around the older part of town, away from the bustle of the docks. Turns out, it’s fascinating!

Monument to the Rowing Clubs
The circuit starts from the main bridge right opposite the regular train station. If you come in via the Tren de la Costa, as we did, you’ll have to along Av. Mitre, aside the Rio Tigre, to the bridge. From there, you cross and turn right onto Av. Lavalle and then follow around in a big tetrahedron until you return to your starting spot. Now, this monument actually shows up a bit down the road, but seems a fitting start to this post – a monument celebrating the various rowing clubs of Tigre, of which, it turns out, there are a lot.

Italian Rowing club
The 1910 building housing the Club Canottieri Italiani is actually along Av. Mitre, so if you’re coming from the scenic train, you’ll pass by it almost immediately. If not, you’ll see it from across the river as you meander. This is more than just a rowing club, being a 1200 member sports club with a gym, pool, two soccer fields, paddle ball courts and various other sports. Many of the buildings for the various clubs are quite ornate, as you’ll see. There are also quite a few that are of little architectural interest, and I haven’t bothered to include them here.

Buenos Aires Rowing club
This is the main building on the trail for the Buenos Aires Rowing Club. This one dated 1878, which, based on what we saw at the monument a bit further on, might be the first of the clubs.

Villa Carmen
The 1910 building called Villa Carmen at Av. Mitre 370-380 was designed by Italian architect Alfredo Olivari for Grace Kay de Hogg as a private residence. Due to its dilapidated condition, it was to be torn down a few years ago, but the city stepped in and declared it a heritage site – they’ve preserved the architecture, though not the function – I’m not sure what the building itself is being used for, but the grounds are now a privately run parking lot.

Delta water taxis
Just before you cross over the aforementioned bridge, you’ll find the docking area for the water taxi system – this isn’t where you pick them up head out onto the Delta, but, basically, the parking area.

Buenos Aires Rowing Club
The Buenos Aires Rowing Club actually has two more buildings, this one along Lavalle, and another out on one of the islands.

Club de Regattas America
The Club de Regatas América, built in 1928, is primarily a rowing club, but also has other sport activities, and a restaurant open to the public in the evenings.

Club de Regatas La Marina
Probably the most elaborate of all the buildings, the Club de Regatas La Marina is one of the oldest, built in the 1870s, and one of the earliest organizers of races between various clubs that were starting to spring up. It’s located out on one of the islands, but is imposing even from across the river.

Argentina Rowing Club
The 1905 building for the Rowing Club Argentino seems almost more like a ski lodge that ought to be located on a slope somewhere, but, this is it.

Il Novo Maria del Lujan
Only about halfway through our walk, we decided to stop for a leisurely lunch at Il Novo Maria del Lujan, at Paseo Victoria 611 – mostly because it was one of the first spots we saw that wasn’t pizza or parrilla – and, because it had a beautiful garden where we sat right along the river while we ate.

Maria del Lugan - picada de frutos del mar
We decided to just order a bottle of wine and the cold seafood platter – both the 98 pesos price tag and our waitress seemed to assure us that it would be more than enough. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. It was pretty good, just a bit skimpy – some little thumb sized mussels that were a touch watery, some slightly overcooked shrimp, some lovely smoked salmon, a quartet of baby octopuses, some bay scallops, and some pickled herring (a trifle over-pickled for our tastes). Overall, other than the shrimp, fresh, and we were able to tone down the intense acidity of the pickled herring with a bit of mayo. Still, it wasn’t quite enough for a full lunch for two, so…

Maria del Lujan - tallarines con rasputi
We headed into the house specialty, pastas – here a plate of housemade tallarines with “salsa rasputi”, which was described as a combination of wild mushrooms with ragu – it wasn’t clear that it was served half and half – the mushrooms quite good, though needing a touch more cooking, the ragu decent – I’ve had better, I’ve had worse.

Maria del Lujan - raviolones de centrolla
The raviolones de centolla – giant ravioli with king crab – was the winning dish of the day. While not giant, they were decent sized, squid ink ravioli filled with fresh king crabmeat, and topped with a shrimp and cream sauce that was bread wiping good once the ravioli were gone.

Overall, not a bad little spot. I’d pick a different appetizer, but the pastas were delicious, and some of the other food we saw coming out to tables looked great and people seemed to be enjoying. It’s a pricey place, but, you’re paying for the ambiance as much as the food. It won’t melt your credit card, but I’d have one with me….

More to come…


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