New York expat Nora Walsh moved to Mendoza for love, but she may be staying for places like Osadia de Crear, a winery restaurant that's delicious, relaxing, and open on a Sunday. Bring the family: It's that kind of place.
MENDOZA, Argentina – When I moved to Mendoza from New York City in June 2013, I was introduced to the queen — the Queen of Torrontés that is. Susana Balbo trailblazed her way to the epithet by being Argentina's first and most successful female winemaker and the first woman president of Wines of Argentina, an organization that promotes the country's wine industry to a global market.
I met Susana at her 75,000-square-foot winery, Dominio del Plata, where we dined at her newly opened restaurant, Osadia de Crear, which translates to "dare to create." Her daughter, Ana Lovaglio, runs the Argentinian and Mediterranean fusion restaurant; executive chef Jose Cacciavillani combines local meats and seasonal produce with herbs from the garden. I love the restaurant's familiar estancia air. It's like lunching at the country home of a cousin who has a passion for cooking and fine wine. Which is why I take my family here every time they visit.
Most winery restaurants are closed on Sundays, which is highly inconvenient when trying to schedule a weekend lunch for my parents and in-laws. Osadia de Crear's menu is great because it's delicious and flexible — guests can order a la carte (another rarity around these parts) or pair a three-course meal with three glasses of wine from Dominio del Plata's Crios and Susana Balbo wine labels. (Susana's heralded not only for her torrontés wines, but for her blends as well.)
In the winter, I huddle my family next to the cozy fireplace to feast on slow-cooked pork loin and braised rabbit. During warm weather months, we dine al fresco on the patio overlooking the mountains on cheese plates, fresh salads, and river trout. After lunch, we always have our coffee and tea in the lush garden with its privileged view of the Andes, surrounded by the winery's picturesque 47-acre vineyard.
Osadia de Crear's success recently convinced Susana to build The Grill, a standalone restaurant extension that houses a state-of-the-art parrilla and outdoor fire pit to prepare authentic Argentine asados, or barbecues.
I certainly didn't need another reason to continue bringing my family here, but Susana keeps creating them.