Gourmet mansions: three proposals to eat in historic mansions in Mar del Plata
MAR DEL PLATA.- Historical heritage, stylish architecture and… a café. Perhaps an Ayurvedic breakfast. Or why not a cocktail with good gin from Mar del Plata as soon as the sun begins to go down. The pairing between listed historic mansions and fine dining It is an ideal combination to shape renewed proposals that find an opportunity for their presentation in society since this season and with a lot of tourism.
With the wink of the municipality and conservation organizations, private investments arrive on spaces that complement the emblematic Villa Victoria, which is owned by the municipality; the Villa Normandy Y Villa Santa Paula, both in the hands of companies. All are protected for their historical, architectural and cultural value. The very good reception of these initiatives anticipates that, in the short term, some other of these mansions dating from the beginning of the 19th century could be added to the trend. twentieth century.
In what was the summer house of Victoria Ocampo, the plates and cups gained space in the landlords’ housing stock, now reserved for the kitchen and the preparation of the menu, which ranges from breakfasts to pizzas. In the chalet on Colón and Viamonte, the service is provided in what was once the garage, with a healthy proposal at sidewalk level, and then a restaurant in the basement. And around what was the Dardo Rocha chalet there are two offers that share part of the gardens, one more linked to the cafeteria and the other more focused on gourmet meals and cocktails.
“Gastronomy, which is an intangible heritage, is a great gateway to access and learn about cultural spaces and allow them to be enjoyed in another way,” he tells THE NATION the architect Graciela Di Iorio, former director of Casa sobre el Arroyo and specialist in architectural heritage who valued the positive result of these undertakings.
Villa Victoria, which dated 1912, based on the assembly of the pieces that the writer’s father had brought from England in their entirety, he had long ago reserved one of the rooms and part of the ground-floor galleries to serve some snacks and simple pastries. Now, the offer to delight in flavors has moved to the adjoining park, in the open air among aromas of rosemary, lavender and linden, always with free access to that space.
Although it is confused with a guest house, since some time ago it housed artists invited by the municipality, this construction that complements the Villa Victoria towards the Lamadrid street sector it was the residence of the landlords and from there comes the commercial name of these days: Avelina, in memory of Avelina Laguardia, who together with Antonio Rubio were his historical companions in that summer residence.
“We had planned to recover that building and we had the recommendation to remove the gastronomic space from the main house, which was now used as a merchandising point of sale,” explained Carlos Balmaceda, secretary of Culture of the commune.
What began as a tender that turned out to be deserted became a public-private project. The restoration work, with a project by professionals from the municipality, was carried out with contributions from a private investor who took charge of the space, which now offers customer service only in the immediate gardens, between umbrellas and cane chairs that they used in its origins the spas of these beaches.
Something similar occurs around the picturesque two-storey house that Rocha had built for his wife, Paula Arana Merino, which is supposed to be a work by Pedro Juan Benoit. The collected documentation leaves doubts as to whether it was he or whether he finished what his father, Pedro, designer of the cathedrals of La Plata and Mar del Plata and son of Pierre, a French engineer, had started. It is estimated that it was inaugurated in 1910 and, after a process of deterioration, it was restored by its last owner during the last decade.
Its wide parks on the corner of Lamadrid and Garay had been offered for an apartment building development project with the condition of preserving the original dwelling intact. Where those several-story-high constructions were projected, Ficus and Botanic now shine, with wide open spaces, artistic interventions on furniture closely related to nature and a view that allows the historic construction to shine, current office headquarters of a technology company.
Gonzalo Moreno is one of the partners who played this big and different bet that is Avelina, Ficus and Botanical. “We aim at places declared heritage to prevent them from being given another destination that puts them at risk and, without invading their interior, take advantage of their green spaces to enjoy the surroundings from that place and for people to get to know those houses with history better, while enjoying a gastronomic experience and with style”, he explained to THE NATION.
On the heights of Avenida Colón, right on the southeast corner, Villa Normandy used to be during recent times the departmental headquarters of the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the federal jurisdiction and the Italian Consulate. The Lorini Abraham family, owner, linked to the real estate sector and responsible for reconditioning what was once the garage to give it some superior use, listened to Juan Pablo Citaddini’s proposal to put not a traditional cafeteria, but something much fresher and more innovative, with natural flavors and good use of both the covered space and the internal patio and sidewalks.
“We arranged a very different menu from the traditional and close, but distant from the Güemes commercial promenade, quieter and always with space to park cars,” he explained to THE NATION. The good result of Good Juice excited and paved the way for Angkor, name of a restaurant that he himself created and exploited in Mar del Plata 16 years ago and that now reopens in the basement of the mansion designed by Gastón Mallet and built by Pedro Besozzi for Félix Deloir.
“In the restaurant, they cook in kamados, Asian volcanic stone ovens, and the dishes range from Spanish octopus to rib eye,” Cittadini highlights of a space with a careful setting, with an original brick ceiling, just like in Bon Jus.
Eduardo Agüero, president of the district delegation of the College of Architects of the Province, valued these ventures as “an exploitation of the patrimonial asset that, hand in hand with gastronomy, allows access to historical buildings and in private hands to appreciate them from another angle and proposal”. “It is a more virtuous use than when those constructions remain as amenities of developments that only their owners enjoy,” he told THE NATION.
For next February 10, the anniversary of the founding of Mar del Plata, an event is also announced in the Villa Miter parks, a few meters from Villa Victoria, where the Roberto Barilli Municipal Historical Museum Archive operates. There, the coincidence of renowned chefs is expected and cooking over fires, in the open air. Another step of gastronomy to unite flavors and culture, a link that is strengthened by rescuing the local architectural heritage.