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Puerto La Boca

Empanada Goodness
Copyright©2009 sandiego.com, Inc.

Puerto La Boca is an intriguing restaurant in an interesting location, a self-described “Argentinean Steakhouse” smack dab in Little Italy. Pretty sure Argentina is still on an entirely different continent than Italy. Maybe that’s why they have a few basic pasta dishes, you know, to fit in. They don’t need to because La Boca (as regulars call it for short) has enough chic and enchantment to stand up against any restaurant, or country, for that matter.

La Boca has an intriguing style. On one hand, the venue is simplistic in its décor and appeal. Just sit down, get comfortable and let the unique nuances unfold. Soft blue chairs surround linen draped tables in a somewhat tight interior. Don’t jump up too fast as there may be someone at arms length. A warehouse-characterized ceiling of pipes and track lighting are juxtaposed with unusual stained glass windows leading to the outside patio. The open-air kitchen attracts the senses with wonderful aromas and the occasional clamber of dropped pans.

The menu itself displays several styles and contrasts. Pastas, traditional Argentinean fare like Milanesa (delightful breaded meat topped with ham, egg, cheese and/or tomato sauce-$11.95) join “from the grill” dishes such as sirloin steaks and chicken breasts ($8.50-$12.95). Whatever the flair, La Boca pulled them off with great style.

Very flavorful brushetta amuse bouche (fabulously garlicky-that’s a good thing) appeared at the table barely before getting situated accompanied by the best chimichurri ever. Look it up and then buy some to take home with you. Who needs the rest of the meal with that and fresh baked bread to boot? Several visits provided the opportunity to sample a cornucopia of selections from La Boca’s eclectic menu. Must tries for appetizers are the Empanadas (traditional homemade Argentinean turnovers with choice of beef, spinach, corn, ham and cheese & chicken-$2.95) and the Champignones a la Provenzal (sliced mushrooms sautéed with garlic, white wine and a touch of lemon-$6). Both dishes stood out as very well seasoned and expertly crafted. The empanada’s flaky crust gave way to a wonderful, gooey corn interior, almost like a potpie. The mushrooms swam mightily in a light broth with just enough garlic to remember to keep your distance from other humans unless they are eating it too. No vampires in this joint.

Choripan Sandwich
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Choripan Sandwich (sausage sandwich with lettuce, tomato, chimichurri and fries-$8.50), Entrana 8 onzas (signature skirt steak-$12.95, with mashed potatoes or fries) and Halibut (topped with fresh tomato sauce, bell pepper and onion with mashed potatoes-$13.50) made us very happy Argentinean campers. The presentations completely ruled and portions were generous. A bounty of delicious and flavorful Argentinean sausage (with just a hint of heat) blanketed the sandwich. The skirt steak arrived a tad undercooked but was happily re-fired, transforming it into a hearty, excellently seasoned piece of beef. Delicate, moist Halibut shown through its accompaniments and retained a good sense of balance between the flavors and textures, not to mention the dazzling colors and aroma. La Boca truly engages every factor of a diner’s sensibility; taste, smell, visual, with minimum pain to the pocketbook.

Skirt Steak
Copyright©2009 sandiego.com, Inc.

Puerto La Boca’s team excelled in delivery and execution even though we were pretty much incommunicado during our business focused meal. Our wonderfully Argentinean server was charming, attentive and insured every aspect of the meal seemed effortless. La Boca is a great place to explore culinary magic without having to stray too far from your comfort zone. Enjoy!

The good – Interesting dishes and unique flavors. GARLIC!

The bad – on two visits the steak was undercooked…maybe it’s cultural thing. GARLIC!

Details »
  • City: San Diego
  • Phone: 619-234-4900
  • Name: Puerto La Boca
  • Address: 2060 India Street