This was everything like the cliche of the Argentinian night we had in mind. After 11h of bus in stunning landscapes, with reach Salta, our first stop in Argentina. Exhausted and starving (the bus company only provided us with a small sandwich), we headed off for our first Argentinian dinner, craving for meat.
A night in a peña, in Salta
In Salta, all the places to go out are concentrated in the same area. We picked a busy restaurant and got sitted at a small table in front of the stage. We had just ordered than a man dressed in traditionnal costume went on stage and introduced a groupe of dancers. While zipping our Malbec (6 euros for a 1/2 bottle), we assisted astonished, to a serie of local and national dances based on a mix of quick steps similar to tap dance and movements of puffy skirts that remind me of flamenco. We were in one of the many peñas of Salta, where you enjoy a nice dinner while being entertained with folkloric dances and music.
By the time we received the main course -an enormous and tender piece of beef- it was a group of 2 guitarists and a singer that took on the stage, performing local and national classics that the crowd sang as choir.
The evening became truly memorable when, around midnight I was picked as one of the volunteers to replace the female dancers of the group. Puffy skirt on and presentations to the audience done, here we go! I tried to follow the steps of my dancing partner and to imitate the other women to perform chacarera, one of the traditional dances of the Saltaños. I can´t say I was any good but this was a proper introduction to Argentinian nights.
We are gonna love this country!
Make it happen:
Salta is located in the north of Argentina, 11h from San Pedro de Atacama (Chile) and 20h from Buenos Aires.
All peñas are located on the north part of calle Balcarce in Salta. We choose La vieja estacion (Balcarce 885), a great place I can recommend! Main courses are around $18 for around 500g of meat. The entertainment is added to your restaurant bill ($9 per person). Get there by 10pm and be aware the show continues long after midnight!