Opened in November 2001 in an old house on the avenida Sarmiento, Azafrán was one of the first indications of a revitalized food-and-wine scene. It began as a grocery that stocked sausages, cold cuts, cheeses and the best selection of wines in the city. Three years later, chef Paul Ranea took over the kitchen, creating dishes grounded in Argentine tradition and informed by classical European cuisine. He stuffs his empanadas with fillings such as duck confit and malbec-soaked figs, and wraps local beef in tender layers of blue cheese, spinach and dough. Azafrán’s wine selection remains the most comprehensive in Mendoza, weighing in at about 600 labels and including the best the country has to offer. To save on paper and also to reference its beginnings as a store, Azafrán has no wine list: Instead, guests are invited to browse the shelves and choose a bottle to enjoy with dinner—paying just the retail price.
Sarmiento 768, Mendoza, Argentina
is the author of Descorchados, an annual guide to the wines of South America, and covers Chile for W&S.
This story appears in the print issue of February 2015.
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