Secret Sydney: Porteño and Gardel’s Bar

Sydney harbours a plethora of amazing experiences.

Some are well-known, others are truly hidden away and known only by the initiated, and there are those in plain sight yet missed by most.

Porteño and Gardel’s Bar fall between the first two of those categories. They are very well-known to those who love their food and cocktails, but it is also hidden away in Surry Hills, out of sight for those who are not ‘in the know’.

But, if you want an authentic Argentinian grill experience and some of Sydney’s best cocktails, Porteño and Gardel’s Bar are a must!

This serial award-winning combination of restaurant and bar was opened in 2010 by chefs and owners Elvis Abrahanowicz and Ben Milgate. Porteño has been on fire ever since – once literally, but even that temporary tragedy worked out for Porteño fans because it gave us the excellent, but short-lived Porteño pop-up, or POPteño, last year in Rushcutters Bay, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

The go to dishes at Porteño are the slow roasted meats: lamb and pork. They come fresh off the open woodfire each night, after about eight hours of slow roasting. They are an incredible experience, with crispy skin, succulent meat, intense sealed in flavour, and ample portions designed to be shared around the table. Yet they are so good, you should always order two servings …

The starter share plates are all outstanding. You should always try to visit with a larger table so you can sample as many of them as possible, whether it’s a pickled veal tongue, BBQ octopus, blood sausage or chorizo …

My favourite table at Porteño
My favourite table at Porteño, next to the fire pit …
The side dishes and condiments also deserve a special mention, especially the house speciality brussel sprouts. If you are one of those people who can’t stand the sprout, I challenge you to try Porteño’s version and not fall in love with this oft-maligned vegetable.

Now let’s talk Gardel’s. Whether before, or after dinner, you must pop upstairs to this moody, whimsical, and luxurious world of cocktails and bar food.

The Banana Old Fashioned is my absolute favourite with their banana infused Jack Daniels and house-smoked maple syrup. If you feel like something lighter, the Pina Colada is outstanding. If your mood is whimsical the Sazerac could be the answer, with a lovely dose of Absinthe …

Bookings are an absolute necessity, unless you are happy to line up outside in the hope of scoring a table.

Porteño and Gardel’s Bar

358 Cleveland Street
Surry Hills NSW 2010

Open: 6pm till late, Tuesday to Saturday

Phone: + 61 (0)2 8399 1440
Fax: + 61 (0)2 8399 2569
Email: enquiries@porteno.com.au

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