Santa Maria is all about the steak – Argentinian, of course. Which sounds good for a place that prides itself on its parrilla skills, but not when almost everything except the beef was a disappointment. A starter of sweetbreads had the vinegary taste of jarred garlic and a damp, crumbly texture, while sardines on toast was no more than the sum of its parts. Except for some decent, volcanically hot chips, the sides and accompaniments also missed the mark: a green salad was wilting and undressed; chimichurri was a clot of dried herbs suspended in oil and vinegar; bread rolls were boring. And yet our steaks were flavour bombs just waiting to go off. The house red (a 2010 malbec, the dominant grape on the list) was a good match. The combination of raw brick and warm-toned wood gives the place a stylishly robust look, and it’s roomy too – a good thing, because it’s often full. The first-class steaks are no doubt what draws the punters, but co-owner Alberto Abbate can’t plead ignorance of matters non-beef – he has also had a hand in Argentinian joints Zoilo and Casa Malevo, where they really know how to make the whole menu work.
Our steaks fly all the way from South America directly to our wood and charcoal old-fashioned grill, along with the finest selection of Mendoza's best Malbec. It all makes for a wonderful experience.
If you love steaks, this is a 'must' in your list.
Don't hesitate. Book now and get ready to enjoy!