Restaurant Review: Have Your Lake and Eat There Too

'Chronicle' foodies dive into the fresh offerings out west

Buenos Aires Café Galleria

13500 Galleria Cir., Bee Cave, 512/441-9000,
Mon.-Thu., 11am-3pm, 6pm-9pm; Fri.-Sat., 11am-3pm, 6pm-10pm; Sun., 11am-8pm
Have Your Lake and Eat There Too
Photo by John Anderson

Buenos Aires Cafe – Galleria

13500 Galleria Circle, Bee Cave, 512/441-9000
Mon.-Thu., 11am-9pm; Fri.-Sat., 11am-10pm; Sun., 11am-8pm

Argentina-born chef Reina Morris is well-regarded in the local restaurant community for the quality of her exemplary baked goods. Her empanadas are a bite of heaven with wonderful savory treasures encased in delicate, flaky crusts, and the alfajores of her homeland could be a national treasure anywhere. Based on my respect for her talent, I had high hopes for our visit to the Buenos Aires outlet in the Hill Country Galleria. The empanadas and desserts more than lived up to Morris' reputation, but we had some issues with both food and service. We arrived at 1pm for a ladies' lunch and found the large, comfortable restaurant pretty much deserted – no hostess to greet us, no one manning the bar. Eventually a young woman came forward with menus and told us we could seat ourselves. She appeared to be the only person working the floor and seemed much more focused on consuming her own lunch than providing service to the few customers the entire time we were in the restaurant.

The menu offers a selection of five different empanadas ($2.99 each) that make marvelous appetizers or a substantial meal when paired with one of the inviting salads. (We found the spinach salad with apples and candied pecans more appealing than the rather plain Caesar.) The award-winning Lomito Beef sandwich ($13.99) is as good a sandwich as you're likely to find in Austin: perfectly cooked tenderloin slathered with the house signature chimichurri sauce on a soft baguette. A plate of gnocchi ($11.99), on the other hand, was a disaster, with pasty gobs of dough in a tepid, too-sweet sauce. Avoid it. We couldn't explain to the flabbergasted women at the only other seated table why we two women would order four desserts but, to our credit, we did offer to share. The Quatro Leches cake ($5.99) and the Pionono roulade full of fresh strawberries ($5.49) are lovely to look at and worth the calories. And be sure to get some alfajores ($2.10) to go.

More Food Reviews
Review: Bao’d Up
Review: Bao'd Up
Mueller’s new steamed bun shop is hit and miss

Jessi Cape, Nov. 10, 2017

Peruvian-Inspired Food Bus Serves Killa Brunch
Peruvian-Inspired Food Bus Serves Killa Brunch
East Airport eatery Killa Wasi elevates casual dining

Emily Beyda, Oct. 27, 2017

More by Virginia B. Wood
Top 10 Savory Bites
Top 10 Savory Bites

Jan. 1, 2016

Open Secret
Open Secret
The not-so-hidden pleasures of dine

Dec. 25, 2015


Buenos Aires Cafe, Reina Morris, empanadas, alfajores, salad, sandwich, gnocchi, dessert

AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)