- 3 min read

Escobar - S. American home cooking

A taste of Argentina on Ropeway Dori

Around lunchtime, I was walking down Ropeway Dori when my attention was caught by a rich, meaty, herbal aroma emanating from an arched doorway. I was surprised to encounter such a Latin smell on Ropeway Dori because all of the eateries on that street were Japanese, or so I thought. But here was an Argentinian flag, and a pretty little logo saying ‘Escobar’. I had intended to go to another restaurant altogether, but the aroma from Escobar was irresistible, so I abandoned my plan and went straight in.

Inside, the shop is long and narrow with a curving bar counter, and a table in each corner. The proprietors have evidently taken pains with their selection of chairs – each one is of a certain vintage, and every one is different, creating a homely and eclectic atmosphere. The walls are painted a comfortable sky blue, and adorned with stenciled cats doing the tango.

I ordered the lunch set – gnocchi, soup, salad and dessert for 800 yen. The gnocchi were baked in a shallow bowl with a rich tomato sauce and plenty of cheese on top. Gnocchi are not often found on the menu in Shikoku, and it was a delight to have them again. These were tender and fragrant as they should be – not surprising though, considering they were kneaded and made ready right before my eyes. The soup was a minestrone type with lots of different vegetables including lentils, seasoned with ham and spicy sausage. For dessert I chose the almond and blueberry tart, made on the premises. It was very nutty and succulent. The master was a little apologetic about the small serving, but it was sufficient.

Through conversation with the friendly owners, I learned that Escobar is the second Argentinian restaurant in Matsuyama owned by branches of the same family. I’ve eaten in the other one, the Gaucho Grill, and it was excellent. The two restaurants are run by sisters who were brought up in Argentina and returned to their mother’s hometown – a good thing too I say. Escobar is named after where they lived in Argentina, and there are evocative black and white photos on the wall of their father as a young man in Escobar.

The bar is lined with bottles of Argentine red wine, some decorated with amusing Maradona key chains, and I was sorely tempted to have a glass, despite the early hour. This time I thought better of it, but I fully intend to visit one evening and try some of the grilled meats and other delights on offer. I also want to try the maté, which is not typically available in Matsuyama.

Was this article helpful?
Help us improve the site
Give Feedback

Leave a comment

Thank you for your support!

Your feedback has been sent.