January 27, 2014 Jounieh Keserwan Lebanon Middle East

Punta Del Este: A Lovely Argentinian Experience


Welcoming: 4/5

Food Temperature: 7/10

Ambiance / Music: 6.5/10

Menu Choice: 4/5

Food Taste: 27/30

Architecture / Interior: 8/10

Food presentation: 8/10

Service: 9/10

Value for money: Soon

Finally, after all this time, I had the chance to go and try Punta Del Este. On my birthday, along with my family, we went to discover this fine Argentinian restaurant. When reserving, I was told to better come at 9pm, because that was when the music and ambiance picks up. It was love at first sight when I walked in... My hopes became so high and was looking forward to experiencing love at first bite.
Punta Del Este is built on the shores of Jounieh around a pool that welcomes you all day long during summer days. In winter days, the pool adds a gentle ambiance, while the bar and the dining space hosts hundreds of guests for dinner or drinks.
Few months ago, I was toured around the resort in which you can book one of three suits up on the first floor. Beauty, simplicity and purity where you can relax after a long day around the pool and wake up with a sooting view of the Mediterranean. Check out the pictures in the photo gallery.
The restaurant is a fine piece of architecture:
  • Reach the entrance and take a right into the main dining area or left to the pool side and lounges
  • Inside this large square is a beautifully decorated South Asian bar style where yellow lights, old style ventilators and dark wood transports you into the dancing continent
  • To the right is a long bar filled with full of bottles
  • As you walk in, look up where the logo, or a cross shows the North, is painted on the wall
  • Next to it is a large rectangular mirror that makes the place look a bit bigger
  • Outside, next to the pool is a long bar where drinks are served. It's usually more crowded than the restaurant itself
  • All tables are decorated with candles, salt and pepper with bamboo placemats
Dinner started with carrots and mixed crunchy nuts while we ordered Edamame covered with soft sea-salt and two pitchers of margarita: Lemon and strawberry. I loved their margaritas - something I have been craving a while, and the Edamame, expect to taste a flavor much better than the ones served in Japanese restaurants.
I expected some fajitas or maybe nachos... But no, don't plan on eating any Mexican food. Remember that Punta Del Este is an Argentinian eatery where food is based on meat, pork, fish and chicken. The cuisine has strong Mediterranean influences, this is why it is appreciated by all in our country.
Let's enjoy some fine Argentinian food:
  • Trozos De Pollo Crujientes (Crispy chicken chunks sautéed in a chili-sweet oyster sauce): This Argentinian Trozos tastes exactly the same like the Chinese Chicken Sweet&Sour. A handful of fried chicken chunks covered in an envelop of something that should be definitely more crunchy that what is served. The sauce is delicious and the overall taste good but not great. Adding to that the crunchiness it needs would have made it a unique creation.
  • Provoleta Grillada Con Jamon Y Tomatoes (Grilled Provoleta cheese with ham, sun dried tomatoes and a small mixed salad): An interesting plate of cheese melting in a casserole; "I didn't feel the ham". Tasty and enjoyable, but better be avoided by people with cholesterol symptoms. Since it's heavy and fatty, this signature would be better shared where each guest will taste a bite that'll be enough
  • Picas De Camarones (Grilled lemongrass-ginger shrimps skewers. Huancaina dip): Wow. Those shrimps are spicy but great. Soft tender shrimps served in a strong spicy marination and melt under your teeth like butter. Some fine, so simple, so tasty and enjoyable
  • Beef Salad (Mix greens, mango, sweet peppers, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and peanuts, caramel-ginger oyster dressing): That's what I call a great salad. Rich and generous with a mix of textures and crunchiness and a sweet aftertaste. Each ingredient is felt separately, served in a large bowl filled to top. The best part are the crunching peanuts and the thin sliced cucumbers that add a touch a finesse
  • Pizza a la Parilla (Argentinian style grilled pizza, caramelized onions, rosemary, provolone cheese, ruccula and black olives): If you think you've tried all Pizzas around town, think again. Punta Del Este offers an Argentinean style pizza that confirms this cuisine influences with the Mediterranean. Combining the Italian perfection and Lebanese knowhow, an oval Pizza is close to our local mankoushe but surely more stylish. A thick dough is covered with a rich filling of cheese with a smoky taste as well as caramelized onions that add a touch of sweetness and style. Soft in the middle and crunchy on the sides, this pizza is not to be missed
  • Calamar A La Parrilla (Grilled fresh calmer coriander-garlic lemon dip): Served as is with no breading, two large pieces of calamari are fresh and hard to chew as they should be. A strong grilling aftertaste is interesting to mention. Yummy!
  • Tuna Mit-cuit & Potato Galette (Half cooked tuna coated in sesame seeds, potato galette, sautéed parmesan-mushrooms and rice wine soy sauce): Simply majestic, simply superb! Thick slices of half cooked tuna served on a bed of fried potato galette and covered with black seeds. That's really an indescribable plate. Every bite is unique where the sesame seeds crunch under your teeth while the tuna melts in style followed by the crispiness of the non oily potatoes. Adding to that the majestic wine soy sauce that makes all the difference in flavor. If I had to rate this plate alone, I'll give it a 20/20. Unfortunately, like almost all the plates served at Punta Del Este, the tuna and potatoes got cold too fast absorbing the porcelain coldness. The enjoyment had a quick end
  • Punta Del Este's Prime Beef Burger (Prime argentinian beef (250g), emmental cheese, crispy bacon, sundried tomatoes, red onions, bbq sauce, mix greens and potato wedges): Special like the Pizza, this Argentinean burger is also unique of its kind. The meat is twice the size of the bun with interesting textures and taste. I enjoyed its juiciness, softness and flavors
  • Gambas A La Parrilla Con Salsa De Jengibre (Grilled jumbo shrimps, vegetable timbale, coriander rice, creamy ginger sauce) As good as all the rest of the food is. A good cooking and the gambas dipped in the ginger sauce will make you smile
  • Pineapple sticks dipped in chocolate sauce: I loved the dark chocolate sauce
  • Fondant au Chocolat: It's tasty and has a subtle chocolate taste that doesn't burn your throat. Bravo
  • The chocolate cake is very good: I liked it
  • Panna Cota in a cup. This dessert doesn't look appetizing but is tasty. I recommend it
  • Cheese Cake is superb
The pluses:
  • A nice enjoyable evening where the food was good, the service was professional, the plates were generous and the ambiance was pleasant.
  • The best part is that the space is relaxed with large tables and chairs comfortably spaced from one another.
  • My regards to the DJ for playing good music that night
  • Thank you Elie, for your professionalism and your attention to details. Your smile made a big difference. Lebanon lacks enthusiastic waiters like you
The minuses:
  • It's a bit too dark that you can't even read the menu and most importantly don't appreciate the beautiful decoration of the plates and their exotic colors
  • Smoking is allowed, fortunately for some and unfortunately for others
  • Although the music played was nice, the base was too high which creates an annoying and unpleasant vibration
  • The plates are way too cold which makes the food get cold very fast. It is very important and crucial to preheat the plates for a better result
  • Be prepared: Alcohol is expensive. It can boost the bill
We all enjoyed everything this place has to offer but all felt sorry for this mistake, the mistake of serving food in cold plates. You just start by eating and few minutes afterwards your plate becomes ice cold.
I enjoyed my evening and I invite you to head down to Jounieh to get into some Argentinian mood.





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