The new gourmet dining experience in Jujuy province is Flor del Pago, 10 minutes drive from the city of San Salvador, on Route 9, the main road north to Bolivia.
I’ve been following Flor del Pago on Instagram and recommending the place since its opening last winter, and I’ve have had excellent reports back.
But I was only recently able to visit, thanks to guests from Seattle who were on one of our escorted tours to the Chilean Atacama. As you’ll see from the photo, Manette and Dan happily agreed to be my guinea pigs!
With two nights in Tilcara, where we experienced a flavour of the celebrated Carnival of the Quebrada de Humahuaca, we were on a relaxed schedule, and had visited the Warmi llama and lambswool textile factory in Palpala on the way up.
Warmi (Quechua for “Woman”) is an excellent small business which sources its materials from female campesina farmers in the mountain plateau of Jujuy. (I will tell you more about their work in a future blog).
Flor del Pago is the new venture of a chef who blends the best of Italian and Argentine cuisine to produce a gourmet menu at very accessible prices: budget US$5 for a starter, US$10 to US$15 for a main and US$3 for a pudding (calculating in the dolar blue parallel economy, of course).
Daniel Hansen, whose parents are from Buenos Aires and Denmark (hence the surname) returned to the family home in Lozano, Jujuy, just as the pandemic shutdown hit in March 2020, and started the project which became Flor del Pago, opening its doors a little over two years later.
As a young man, he decided pretty swiftly that he didn’t want to train as a doctor (as his parents intended), and instead headed for New York where he started as a chef, including working a two and a half year stint at Sette MoMA in the Museum of Modern Art.
On his return to Buenos Aires, he set up Sette Bacco, inspired by his Big Apple Experiences, and then opened La Pecora Nera (Black Sheep), apparently named after his favourite childhood pet!
By all accounts, this swiftly became one of the top restaurants in Recoleta, proving so popular Hansen opened a new branch La Pecora Nera Grill close by.
The menu at Flor del Pago in Lozano (which loosely translates as Flower of my Homeland) marries the best of Italian and Argentine cuisine, assimilating typical fare of the north west, to delight the most demanding of gourmands.
It offers Italian classics like gnocchi a la romana con funghi freschi, four types of ravioli (including one with Malbec sauce) and capeletti in brodo.
Hansen’s team adds traditional local ingredients like maize, broad beans, quinoa, locoto chili peppers, pumpkin and goats cheese to give an Argentine twist to the Italian repertoire: and there’s still a place on the menu for a 400g steak and the classic milanesa schnitzel.
Cosmopolitan dishes include Ceviche (made with local white fish), a strudel of sweetcorn and gruyere, but there’s also room for the classic northern staple from every Jujuy grandmother’s kitchen: sweetcorn pie.
We sampled an exquisite risotto di fave e formaggio di capra (goats cheese and broad bean risotto), ravioli de tacchino con crema di champagne e funghi freschi (ravioli with mushrooms) of delightfully delicate texture, and ensalada de mote y langostinos (a salad featuring prawns and the chunky type of sweetcorn typical of the northwest), which was as colourful as the landscape of Jujuy province.
For pudding we tried the pasta real, made with the sweet northern cayote fruit, with cognac, almonds and of course a dab of gelato.
There’s also an excellent (and reasonably priced) winelist, so all in all this is highly recommended for anyone looking for the best places to eat in Argentina’s northwest.
- Flor del Pago is open for lunch and dinner from Tuesday to Saturday, and for Sunday lunch only.
- You can check out the menu on their Instagram page.
- Read more in an article from Lugares travel magazine (in Spanish.)
- Daniel Hansen’s other venture in the capital city of San Salvador de Jujuy is Ponto restaurant at the Howard Johnson hotel.
More photos on our Instagram page.