If you've ever wondered what Argentine food is like (or just want to try
something different), then a meal at Viva! Argentine Cuisine should be a
priority. This eastside restaurant has only been open a few weeks, but it has
already become one of my favorite places to eat.
Empanadas (stuffed, handmade pastries that are fried) are a good start. I went for lunch. It consisted of a traditional ground beef empanada--stuffed with green olives, small pieces of hard-boiled egg, bell pepper and onions--alongside a cup of lentil vegetable soup. This tasty combo made for the perfect lunch and only cost about $6.
Eager to go back for dinner, I departed from the empanadas and started off with proveleta. This dish is a not-too-melted piece of provolone cheese with olive oil and herbs served with toasted bread; definitely different and definitely tasty, especially if you are a cheese lover.
Not often do I comment on salads at a restaurant, but the house vinaigrette was also great and went well with the herby flavors of the proveleta.
My entrée was Pastel de Papa, Argentina’s version of shepherd’s pie. It’s also the epitome of comfort food. You get a mound of mashed potatoes, ground beef, onion, and green olives all mixed together and topped with cheese. It's so hearty, I can easily imagine an Argentine cowboy eating it on his ranch.
There is a rustic feel to Viva! The atmosphere, however, is calm and
welcoming with the walls painted the soft blue of Argentina’s flag and a
small, fresh flower displayed at each table. The staff is a big part of why I
enjoy eating here and why the environment is so inviting.
Each time I’ve been to Viva! they have been welcoming, energetic, helpful and genuinely grateful for my visit. The only thing that could make a Viva! meal better is a glass of wine, which will be coming soon. Viva! expects to have a liquor license in hand in a month or two, I'm told.
A full menu and other information can be found on Viva! Argentine Cuisine’s Facebook page.
Location: 2270 Barnett Shoals Road
Hours: Open daily 11-3 for lunch, 5-9 (5-10 Thursday-Saturday) for dinner
Notable dishes: Empanadas (beef, ham/cheese, spinach/mushroom), soups (lentil veggie,butternut squash bisque), sandwiches (Argentine cheesesteak, Milanese, Viva! Dawg), Lomo Con Papa Fritas, Milanese, steaks, proveleta, Argentine sausage,
zucchini bread, Bella Blue Chicken, Pastel de Papa, lasagnas (four cheese, four
cheese with beef, veggie and white sauce), fresh baked cupcakes and other deserts.