Puerto Madryn ’s dining scene is mostly uninspired, with diminished creativity and innovation, but there are exceptions.
Good choices for breakfast, snacks, and coffee include Café Mar y Tiempo (Roque Sáenz Peña 112) and the Lizard Café (Avenida Roca and Gales, tel. 02965/45-5306), also a decent pizzeria. The Havanna Café (Avenida Roca and 9 de Julio, tel. 02965/47-3373), though, is probably the best confitería.
Madryn’s only Welsh teahouse, Del Chubut (Avenida Roca 369, tel. 02965/45-1311) also sells takeaway alfajores (cookies sandwiched around sweet fillings like dulce de leche) and torta galesa (a dense black cake).
La Barra (Bulevar Brown and Lugones, tel. 02965/45-5550, lunch and dinner daily) is one of several moderately priced pizzerias. Reinvented as a sports bar, Ambigú (Avenida Roca 97, tel. 02965/47-2541, lunch and dinner daily) has eight TVs and Wi-Fi, but pizza is still the best bet here (although the scallops aren’t bad).
Part of its namesake balneario, Vernardino (Bulevar Brown 860, tel. 02965/47-4289, lunch and dinner daily) has stuffed pastas (around US$6–8) and house wine by the glass, but it’s a little too family-friendly for a quiet dinner. Down the block, the comparable Yoaquina (Bulevar Brown 1050, tel. 02965/45-6058, lunch and dinner daily) has good lasagna (US$7) and raspberries with cream for dessert.
Cantina El Náutico (Avenida Roca 790, tel. 02965/47-1404, lunch and dinner daily) and Puerto Marisko (Avenida Rawson 7, tel. 02965/45-0752, lunch and dinner daily) are traditional seafood choices. The former is especially popular; the latter has its seaside location to recommend it, but service is erratic and the kitchen slow.
Made in the metal-clad Magellanic style, with Georgian flourishes and a brick interior adorned with artifacts from the early days of settlement, La Vieja Esquina (Mitre and Roque Sáenz Peña, tel. 02965/47-5601, lunch and dinner daily) has a varied menu of meat, fish, seafood, and pasta. For warm nights, there’s outdoor seating and a play area for kids, but an illuminated soft-drink sign scars the historic exterior.
In new quarters, Mar y Meseta (Avenida Gales 32, tel. 02965/45-8740, www.marymeseta.com.ar , lunch and dinner daily, US$10–20) boasts intriguing dishes like gnocchi with lamb, prawn ravioli, and crab cannelloni in a shrimp sauce, but not everything is available every night. Consider the lamb skewers with onion, bacon, and peppers, or the abadejo (pollock) in a honey sauce.
Named for the almond tree that shades its entrance, El Almendro (Alvear and 9 de Julio, tel. 02965/47-0525) is one of few Madryn restaurants that provides quiet dining in sophisticated surroundings at reasonable prices, with items such as ravioli stuffed with Patagonian lamb along with a pesto of almonds, basil, garlic, and mint (US$8), plus simple well-executed dishes such as lomo tres pimientas (three-pepper steak). With good desserts, a decent wine list, and attentive service, this is one of the city’s top choices.
The kitchen can be creative at Plácido (Avenida Roca 506, tel. 02965/45-5991, www.placido.com.ar , lunch and dinner daily), but the appetizers, desserts and drinks are unconscionably expensive by Argentine standards—a modest malbec by the glass, for instance, costs almost as much as an entire bottle of pretty good wine in some other places.
Madryn has superb ice creameries, including the 40-plus flavors at Vía Roca (Lugones 51, tel. 02965/45-0704), and Kebom (Avenida Roca 540).