De Beauvoir, the mainly residential area between Dalston and Angel, has its first bodegón (neighbourhood restaurant) like those in Buenos Aires. A bit out of the way for some, but great for the locals, who would prefer not to share it.
The look is simple but elegant — no beefy gimmicks like Tramshed, with Damien Hirst's cow and chicken vitrine, or Gaucho, with its cowhide furniture. At the back is the parilla (grill), the signature of the authentic Argentine steak house. There is live tango music on Thursdays, to really set the mood, and they also have tables outside for warm evenings.
Though the steaks are of a daunting size, we still tucked into a couple of the great starter options, provoleta (grilled cheese) and empanadas; the spiced beef and chilli ones were delicious.
There are some options for vegetarians (stuffed aubergines, spinach canelones) but we were there, of course, for the meat. My favourite cut was the Bife de Chorizo sirloin, weighing in at 300g, but we also tried the Bife Ancho rib eye, which is cut into a long spiral and spread on the grill. Every bite is slightly different as the fat is spread unevenly as it cooks, but overall it was very juicy and tender. DLP also have a variety of tapas, in case you just want a light snack and a glass of wine.
Wine is obviously a huge part of the experience. We chose the Zuccardi Malbec, which is great with meat and cheese, from a list of about 20 wines ranging from £15 to £45 per bottle.
For dessert there are traditional Argentine treats like pancakes with dulce de leche and budin de pan, or bread pudding with caramel sauce, but you need to come with a good appetite (De La Panza does mean 'all about the belly') — or skip a course to leave some space.
A big Argentinian wine selection.
Dishes are cheap compared to Gaucho or Santa María del Sur.
The not so good:
The location on a fairly quiet street; more of a destination restaurant than part of a night of bar-hopping.
This north London gem is a sizzling new contender on the city's growing steak scene.
De la Panza, 105 Southgate Rd, London, N1 3JS (+44 (0)20 7226 0334; delapanza.co.uk)