If someone asked you about the food and music of Argentina, your first response might have something to do with tango and bife de lomo. Few are familiar with the word peña and the traditional folk music it entails. Of course, tradition is nothing without food, and for those without the time to visit the northern provinces where peña was born, La Peña del Colorado on Güemes brings a taste of northern tradition home to Palermo.
A good peña experience hinges on an atmosphere that is both intimate and intense, and del Colorado is all about setting the right mood. Long banquet tables cut down the illusion of isolated dining parties as families of children and abuelos sit comfortably beside couples and groups of friends. The largest of the restaurant’s three dining areas is for those interested in dinner and a show. The cozy arrangement makes it easy to overlook that the room seats up to 90 people, and the combination of food, wine, and music, makes everyone in the crowd fast friends.
The night begins around 9:30pm with orders of tamales and humita to start the evening. A second round includes more wine and locro, a traditional soup with beans and corn, along with something off the parrilla menu. Every night, del Colorado plays host to various folk musicians or bands from northern provinces like Salta and Jujuy. The shows last about two hours and are usually followed by patrons continuing the festivities with drums and guitars that are spread about the tables. Many here are even regulars who know to bring their own instruments specifically for this special after-party.
Cover charge for the shows run from $10 to $20, but the additional cost is definitely worth a taste of tradition that goes beyond Buenos Aires.