El Gaucho

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59 Steenstraat, Leiden, Netherlands
gaucholeiden.nl/en - 071 513 2530

El Gaucho Leiden Reviews

planxty planxty
117 reviews
Definitely one for the carnivores. Apr 06, 2017
The night after our excellent pan-Asian meal (see previus journal entry for details) in a completely and somewhat surprisingly empty restaurant my friend decided that we should try El Gaucho which is, as the name suggests, Argentinian and therefore obviusly a going to be a grillhouse. It had been recommended by some local work colleagues who praised it very highly. It was close to the places we had been before and I suspect drink or two in the Rembrandt were probably called for beforehand.

Walking into the Gaucho was complete deja vu from the evening before in that it was another beautifully appointed restaurant with not a single sinner in it. Again we were placed in a window seat (old waiter's trick to make the place look less deserted) which again gave a view over a canal but that is nearly impossible to avoid here. Menus were duly produced and it was exactly as predicted - meat, meat and more meat. Actually they do cater for veggies, they have a vegetarian option, one vegetarian option so if your vegetraian guest does not like stuffed potatoes then they are going to struggle.

Speaking of struggling, I knew I would struggle with the portion of meat they were going to give me but I am damned if I was going to ask for a lady steak which is smaller portion they offer. Just to compound the felony my friend decided we needed a starter, is she mad? In the event that turned out to be two chorizo as pictured which were very flavoursome although not the same as you would perhaps find in Spain and one each was not too heavy an undertaking.

Then just take a look at the lorryload of meat he came and planked on the table before serving. It was cooked to perfection and the carrots and beans accompanying it were mercifully not cooked into submission so had a decent bite to them. The small accompaniments of roasted garlic and onion were so tasty and roasted garlic is a favourite of mine although it does stink my tiny kitchen out when I do it.

The entire delightful carnivore repast was accompanied by a very decent bottle of red wine. At least I thought it was decent but I know nothing about. As I have said before I do not know a Merlot from a marlin.

It has to be said that Gaucho is not cheap even by what I consider expensive Dutch standards but it is very, very good and definitely worth a special occasion. Once again it was the slow dander home on a pleasant evening to walk off at least a few of the calories.

Highly recommended.
El Gaucho restaurant.
El Gaucho restaurant.
Very flavoursome chorizo.
Portion for one, sir?
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planxty planxty
117 reviews
One for the carnivores. Apr 04, 2017
On one of the evenings I was with my friend in Leiden she had booked us a table at the El Gaucho Argentinian Grill which was handy as it was about three minutes walk from the wonderful Cafe Rembrandt where we used to meet up and and which forms the basis of a separate review elsewhere in this journal. I have absolute faith in my friend's knack of picking a good restaurant as she has demonstrated an unfailing ability to do so over the many years we have known each other. Added to that, she works regularly in Leiden with many Dutch colleagues and they had spoken of this establishment in glowing terms. As I have mentioned elsewhere I am a great believer in local knowledge and we had had a brilliant result with an Indonesian restaurant the night before on the recommendation of a local guy and which again forms the basis of another review here.

Having made the short trip to the premises we entered to be warmly greeted by a very pleasant young lady and seated in a window table. To be honest, we had plenty of choice as the place was completely empty. OK, it was a midweek night but my friend informed me that the Dutch like to take their evening meal pretty early and we had obviously missed whatever evening service rush there may have been. Still, there were enough staff on duty to have serviced a full restaurant and that ensured that service was very efficient and friendly but I have come to expect that in Netherlands anyway.

There is an open kitchen which I love as a) I can watch pro chefs at work and I love to cook myself. I would watch cooking programmes on TV all day, and often do. b) it shows that the kitchen has nothing to hide and this place was spotless and obviously well looked after.

El Gaucho is an Argentinian grill and it really is a place for carnivores and I fear that vegetarians will struggle here with vegans having no chance. This is a place for people that like to gorge on dead animals! We had been told that the portions here were generous and so we shared a starter of Chorizos @ € 7.50 which were biled as "Grilled Argentine sausages" (the menu is bilingual in Dutch and English). They were not chorizo as I understand them but they were very pleasant and the taste reminded me slightly of Cypriot pastourma although not quite the same.

For mains, my friend had chosen a steak which is obviously the house speciality but the merest glance at the menu was all I required. If there are ribs on a menu then it will take another exceptionally interesting dish to tempt me away from them and so I plumped for the linguistically odd "Costillas de cerdo all you can eat @ € 23.00 and described as "Perfectly marinated spare ribs, all you can eat." I am sure there must be a Dutch phrase for all you can eat but they chose to juxtapose the Spanish with English for some reason.

There is an option of a one off serving @ €18 and honestly I suspect this would have been ample. All you can eat? The first serving would have been all three men could have eaten over two meals. As I say, I love ribs and have eaten them in different styles in many different countries but I have never before seen a serving that huge. As they say, the camera does not lie so judge for yourself. Again apologies for the quality of some of the images but even in an empty restaurant I just feel uncomfortable firing off flash.

The menu description is entirely accurate as they were indeed marinaded to perfection although I could not put my finger on exactly what the marinade might have been made of. They were cooked to a nicety and literally falling off the bone. Some of the best ribs I have eaten anywhere. The accompaniments of roasted onion and a whole roasted garlic bulb (which I love) were all that was required as further veggies would have been superfluous for me although my friend's steak did come with some well-cooked carrots and green beans. Needless to say, there was no way I could wade through that much food and so I had to send for reinforcements. Still, fair's fair and I had had a couple of mouthsful of my friend's steak which was so tasty and very tender. I do not know if the meat is locally sourced or imported from Argentina but wherever it originates it is of absolutely top quality.

What I know about wine you could write on the back of a postage stamp and so I always leave it to my friend who is a bit of an expert and in collusion with the obviously knowledgeable server she chose a beauty (a Merlot possibly?) that complemented the meal perfectly. After having gorged myself so completely, the concept of a dessert was right out the window although I was tempted by the "Vanilla ice cream with fresh mango and tequila" which sounded like an interesting marriage of flavours.

Full to the neck as they say where I come from, we took ourselves off into another pleasant Spring night to try and walk off at least some of the ludicrous amount of calories we had consumed. As always local knowledge had come up trumps and my friend's Dutch colleagues had certainly not steered us wrong as el Gaucho, whilst certainly not a budget option, is an absolutely top-class place. The fact that it has been going for 25 years in what is a very competitive and uncertain market probably speaks for itself.

Very highly recommended for a special night out.
El Gaucho restaurant, Leiden.
El Gaucho restaurant, Leiden.
El Gaucho restaurant, Leiden.
El Gaucho restaurant, Leiden.
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Toonsarah says:
Sounds excellent and the food looks great!
Posted on: Apr 09, 2017
AdamR3723 says:
Great review!
Posted on: Apr 09, 2017

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