I can’t remember where or when I heard about this place for the first time, but I thought that with such a unique concept, it’d be so easy to find information about it when I next happen to be in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
So when I knew I was visiting and that I would have good company, I started my research for El Gato Viejo. And I could hardly find any adequate info. Especially in English!
What is El Gato Viejo?
Or the question should be who is Carlos Regazzoni?
Carlos Regazzoni is an Argentinean sculptor and painter, who has also worked in France. His artworks are displayed in some very prestigious galleries and his atelier is in the Retiro district of Buenos Aires. The atelier in question is housed inside an old train depot behind the city’s main railway station.
So what’s so special about it? I hear you ask! Inside this railway depot Carlos Regazzoni decided to house his atelier, a gallery and a bar restaurant with a small stage for live music events!
When I first heard about this unique concept I felt WOW! What a fantastic concept and why have I never heard of it before happening anywhere in the world? Yes, there are a lot of gallery restaurants around, but most of them are common restaurants with paintings for sale on the wall! El Gato Viejo is different! The artworks are not in the background acting as a complement to your dining experience. It’s the dining experience that takes place among pieces of art and the atelier of the artist himself!
I had to visit this unusual place!
Where is El Gato Viejo?
This is another question that not many people could reply to! Thank god for Google Maps! That’s all I’m saying! Not because of its location. There’s nothing tricky about it. But not many people seemed to know about it! Online or in real life! Not even our (major) hotel concierge!
It’s exactly behind the Retiro Railway Station of Buenos Aires. Easy! The only problem is that when you get there it’s not exactly very straightforward where it is. Because this is the first thing you see:
And especially at night not everyone would risk wandering around a place like this! So when me and my friends got there, they decided to stay behind and I went on to see where this place could be hidden! No signs, no lights after a while, no directions, no person alive anywhere around that area! All I could see were some metallic sculptures along a dark walking path and it looked like this:
And then I saw the light! 😀
So we went in and I loved everything about it!
Everywhere around there was artworks, a lot of times randomly placed and weirdly mixed! And somewhere there a relatively distinct dining area and a kitchen somewhere in the background of this artsy mess!
Even though it felt great having the place to ourselves, it felt strange that we were the only ones there on a Saturday night! And we were there around 10pm. But after a while more people started coming in.
How was the food?
I got so carried away with all this art around me, that I almost forgot to write about the food! The food was ok and reasonably priced. We enjoyed the wine the most!
I read somewhere that sometimes Carlos Regazzoni himself will occasionally host and serve! We didn’t have the chance when I was there though. But maybe you’ll be luckier!
So? Would you try it?