On Wednesday night (following a fabulous winemaker event with Bodega Hacienda del Plata here at The Vines) I had the fortune to enjoy a meal at Apapacho, one of Mendoza's most beautiful new restaurants, located in Vistalba right across the street from Nieto Senetiner.
Apapacho, which means "hug" in the ancient Aztec language, is a partnership between a Swiss restaurateur and his Argentine brother in law, and opened just 2 and a half months ago, on November 21. It was built in homage to the four natural elements of earth, wind, fire, and water; each element has a section of the restaurant dedicated to it. I dined in the "water room," complete with a small quietly bubbling fountain coming out of the wall.
The food was lovely, "creative criollo cuisine" with a great deal of attention paid to both preparation and presentation. But what truly drew me in was the design of the restaurant - the space is huge yet every small touch was done with care. There are seats in the dining room for only 45 diners, with the intent that each one can be able to enjoy a calm, comforting meal; it is somehow spacious yet intimate at the same time. There is space upstairs for large parties and a table downstairs in the wine cellar where small groups can dine in privacy, so much so that there is a bell for diners to request service rather than having a server coming and going during their whole meal.
Outdoors there are small tables to seat 2 or 4, as well as an expansive garden with several separate areas for large parties with children to have enough room for the children to play. There are also two wood-burning ovens in which the food is prepared - one Argentina style and one Chilean.
Overall, the meal was a true pleasure. In a city of culinary gems, it is always exciting to find a new place to eat in style.