It’s very easy to lose track of time when walking through the historical corners of Buenos Aires, Argentina, hunger being the only thing to break its spell. Luckily, the city contains multiple world-renowned dining options, which unfortunately aren’t always open at all hours. Those looking for quality food after hours should only learn an address, easy to remember and that at the same time gives name to the restaurant located there: Santa Fé 1234.
The picturesque establishment, a historical constant of the city, just celebrated 60 years of serving traditional Argentine food to the public. Besides holding a contest focused on Mother’s Day and several activities to celebrate with its frequent customers, the restaurant takes this opportunity to renew and adapt to the times. Without ever losing that special touch that makes them stand out, of course.
This establishment in the heart of the Metropolitan area borders the boundaries of Retiro and Recoleta, two of the most representative neighborhoods of the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, with close proximity to other well-known areas like San Nicolás, Monserrat, Balvanera and Palermo. It’s a short walk or bus ride away from several of the city’s cultural touchstones such as the Obelisk, Recoleta Cemetery, Colón Theater, Plaza del Congreso (Congress Square) and the Casa Rosada (the Presidential Palace). Describing its location as “centric” would not be an exaggeration.
The presence of the Santa Fé 1234 restaurant on one of city’s top streets – a short distance away from its cultural, entertainment and business centers – adds to its charm. Customers could be residents of the area, office employees, college students or foreign tourists, it doesn’t matter. The point is, anyone can easily find the place to enjoy a pizza, empanada, sirloin steak, sorrentinos gratin, pink Mediterranean salmon, calzone or cup of coffee with croissants.
The Santa Fé 1234 Story
Santa Fé 1234’s gastronomic reputation dates back to its beginnings in 1959 as confectionery. Three immigrants from Galicia, Spain with culinary experience forged the restaurant during its inception. Through the years they became known for their croissants and expanded their menu with local and international dishes such as pasta, brick-oven pizza and cuts of meat.
Several factors have contributed to Santa Fé 1234’s longevity, but they all stem from the concept of preserving the quality of flavor in their menu. “The essence of our business is that our dishes taste great,” says Marcelo Fernández, the restaurant’s manager since 2013.
Santa Fé 1234 is much more than a restaurant. Its third floor houses a production plant that operates 24 hours a day. Each ingredient in their dishes is prepared or processed there, from the basket bread to their handmade pastries. They employ a full-time master pasta maker in their team for that very reason, in order to create from scratch the main ingredient of their succulent Italian dishes prepared with an Argentine touch.
Many people living in the city have likely enjoyed their products, even those who’ve never visited the place. Santa Fé 1234 also supplies croissants, pastries, pizzas, bread and other foods to more than 30 other restaurants in the metropolitan area. Catering services are also available for offices and events.
The round-the-clock production plant allows Santa Fé 1234 to serve guests from 6am to 3am every day, even 24 hours a day during Fridays and Saturdays. Santa Fé 1234 remains one of the few restaurants in Buenos Aires open 24 hours. Furthermore, the kitchen staff makes sure their dishes are served fresh at all times. “You can come in here at two or three o’clock in the morning, order a sirloin steak right then and the kitchen has to make it for you,” says Fernández. “And it has to come out the same as it should on normal lunch or dinner hours.”
Santa Fé 1234: More Craft than Tradition
According to Marcelo Fernández, the flavor of the dishes in Santa Fé 1234 goes far beyond its fresh ingredients. The secret is that each item in their menu has a personality. “Personality is key in this business. I could eat a Milanesa anywhere, but I like the Milanesas we make. That doesn’t mean the Milanesas elsewhere are bad, but the one here has personality,” Fernández explains.
His definition of “personality” is closely tied to his preference for the term “artisanal” over “traditional” to describe the Santa Fé 1234’s menu. Fernández believes the second word simplifies his culinary offering. “When an artisan assembles something and achieves his goal, none of the products he makes is the same.” We can compare this concept with that of a theater play, where the script is always the same, but each presentation differs from the previous ones.
For the entire Santa Fé 1234 team, the added value of a personal touch is worth more than process optimization or cost reduction. That’s why they hire culinary artisans at their production plant, prepare their pizzas with a brick oven instead of an industrial one, and prepare each pastry by hand. Nothing on the menu tastes pre-packaged or frozen.
A Look into the Future
The milestone of Santa Fé 1234’s 60th anniversary has served as an opportunity for its team to redouble their efforts. Waiters are training constantly, for instance, to ensure the quality of the culinary experience.
For the same reason they take care in their home delivery service. Your dishes can be ordered by phone or through popular online ordering apps. The idea is to keep the value of the brand high as “food comes in sight” according to Fernandez.
Among the resturant’s upcoming initiatives, Fernández revealed they’ll soon launch their own food truck with a mobile kitchen to serve hot and cold dishes at events of all kinds or locations. “The goal is to cover a much wider radius so that people can enjoy the same experience they have when they come to visit us.” Fernández appreciates this new and “pleasant challenge.” Similar past trials have served him as a learning tool to further improve the restaurant.
Undoubtedly, Santa Fé 1234 strives to satisfy its customers wherever they may be with their artisanal menu. Every tourist in Buenos Aires deserves to find it on their own to enjoy its delicacies. If only there were some easy way to remember their address …
Where to Find It
Avenida Santa Fe 1234, Buenos Aires, Argentina
+54 11 4811-2356 • +54 11 4813-2769