Don Chiquino, Italian restaurant in Esquel, Argentina

Patagonia is full of touristy towns. The surroundings are worth a visit but the towns themselves are normally nothing more that a place to stay. Too many tourists and souvenir shops make the atmosphere a bit depressing every now and then. An advantage of these towns are the presence of great restaurants. Esquel is a town in the North of Patagonia that is different in the sense it’s not a touristy town. Locals still look a bit surprised when the odd tourist with skis walks in town. The town lacks good restaurants. There is however one exception: Don Chiquino!

After a couple of days in Esquel I met the owner of Casa Tours, a company offering ski trips in Chile and Argentina. His favourite resort in this part of the world is la Hoya because it’s remote and therefore quiet and offers some great terrain. I understand his arguments. Because he had been to Esquel on multiple occasions he knew where to find some good food. He recommended me to check out Don Chiquino and so I did…

It was a nice walk from the hostel, around 15 blocks, to get there. Of course I arrived early for Argentine standards. At 8 pm the place was still closed but they assured me it would open at 8:30 pm. After a full day of skiing, including some hiking into the backcountry, I was getting really hungry. I walked around to kill the time and was the first to enter this local Italian restaurant. After I ordered my meal, a chicken lasagna, they served me bread with a nice tapenade as is common in Argentina. The bread was delicious which was a good start. Since the food is all homemade it might take a while before you can enjoy your meal. In order not to get bored while waiting you get some magical entertainment in the form of either a real magician or some puzzles. The first time I went to Don Chiquino the magician showed up. As I really was not in the mood I rejected his offer to show me his best illusions. On my return to this restaurant they probably remembered I wasn’t a big fan of magical tricks and offered me some puzzles to get the brain working. Whether you like magic and/or puzzles or not, it’s definitely original!

The food is of course the most important part to discuss. I have had lasagna with bolognese sauce, let´s call it the regular one, and a vegetarian one where the meat is replaced by spinach. Never had I tasted a lasagna with chicken. Surprised to see it on the menu but really happy when I tasted the first bit. It was really delicious and the portion was very good. It was an unexpected meal in a remote and quiet town in Patagonia!

If you´re ever find yourself to be in Esquel, give Don Chiquino a try. The beautiful decoration alone is worth a visit!


Avenida Ameghino 1641, Esquel

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