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.
If you love steaks, this is a 'must' in your list.
Don't hesitate. Book now and get ready to enjoy!