Santa Maria – Lardbutty restaurant of the year 2010

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Santa Maria del Sur – Lardbutty restaurant of the year 2010

SW8’s best kept secret is well and truly out: Santa Maria del Sur.

In Gordon Ramsay’s F Word series 5 he told the world that the steak at Santa Maria del Sur was the best he’d ever tasted. Could there be a higher accolade? This small and cosy restaurant was always busy but now it’s advisable to book a couple of months in advance.


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Parrillada Deluxe – mixed grill for two comprising 350g sirloin steak, 250g fillet steak, Argentine-style sausage, black pudding + provolone cheese


I was introduced to parrilladas (mixed grills to share) on my first visit here in 2006. This is clearly what the restaurant specialises in, so I’ve stuck to them on every visit since, also sharing other plates and starters so I can work my way through the menu(!) without sacrificing the perfectly cooked meats.


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Parrillada deluxe meat fest with grilled mushrooms


The grilled tuna steak, empanadas (Argentine pasties), provoleta (grilled cheese), morcilla (black pudding) sausages, sirloin and fillet steaks are consistently perfect (with fillet outranking sirloin). Given the quality and size of the portions, £25 per person for the parrillada deluxe is well worth it. And there’s a good selection of reasonably priced wines (malbec from £15.50 a bottle – *update April 2014: excellent Famiglia Bianchi Malbec Reserva 2011-12 ‘world’s best wine’ @ £38*).


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Cosy interior – with soft lighting


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Pancake dessert


I’ve visited on different days of the week and at different times and all have been good. We spent a lovely leisurely Sunday afternoon here last September (for K’s dad’s birthday) when service was exceptionally good (perhaps because it wasn’t as frantic as it is sometimes in the evening). We visited last night, a Monday evening, with my parents. The restaurant was fully booked – people turning up on the offchance of getting a table were turned away. We left four very happy customers.

So, does any restaurant deserve full marks or is there always room for improvement? Santa Maria currently ranks top of the Lardbutty index, scoring 4.5 out of 5. It’s so close but doesn’t quite warrant the full 5 marks, as on one Friday night when the restaurant was packed and hectic, we were a party of five squashed on a table for four. We were short on table space for the parrilladas and shared plates, and the fifth person was seated in a busy gangway. We overlooked this slight discomfort – of course – as everything else was exceptional.


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Sample bill for two – as of April 2014


Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4.5 / 5
~ Type: Argentine
~ Address: 129 Queenstown Road, Battersea, London
~ Postcode: SW8 3RH
~ Nearest station: Queenstown Road, Battersea Park mainline stations
~ Website: Santa Maria del Sur website
~ Photos on flickr: images of Santa Maria del Sur food
~ Location: Restaurant map


FourAndHalfStars

Santa Maria Del Sur on Urbanspoon

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