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129 Queenstown Road
Pictures of bulls on the walls and an enormous griddle by the front window (loaded up with “great steaks”) spell out the raison d’être of this red-blooded “family-friendly” restaurant – don’t bring a veggie on a date here. But for meat lovers, this venue is heaven: Argentinian steaks are indubitably the real deal, and at Santa Maria del Sur they are cooked by experts. We’d suggest ignoring other dishes on the menu; the fish and meat-free choices certainly seem paltry by comparison. Kick off with meatballs, chicken empanadas or mollejas (sweetbreads with lemon), and then move directly to the main attraction. You’re unlikely to need another meal for 24 hours after one of their lean, juicy steaks and a portion of perfectly cooked chips – plus some grilled red peppers for good measure. Spectacularly beefy Argentinian red makes the ideal accompaniment from a suitably macho list. This place “always delivers”, says one regular.
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129 Queenstown Road
Queenstown Road (Battersea) Station 401m
Wandsworth Road Station 916m
Battersea Park 954m
Clapham Common 985m
Mon-Sun 12N-3pm 6-10pm
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 3
Santa Maria is one of our local restaurants and I've held off going for a special occasion so we went tonight to celebrate a new job. Sadly our experience was not great and we left feeling disappointed and like we'd spent a lot on an unimpressive meal. The stand out parts of our meal were the salsa criolla and the smoked red pepper. We ordered chips – steak and chips being a winning combination – but they were overly large, under cooked and no better than what I can create myself at home. The steaks – the main feature of the meal – were perfectly good but didn't stand out for me or my partner, which was a real pity.
The service was the real downer for us. It felt like no effort was made to put us at ease or help us answer questions about the menu. When we asked for an aperitif that wasn't available, there was no suggestion of what else might be unavailable ("we've only got the mojito" was the exact phrase), and no alternatives were suggested despite asking for help. We felt rushed and like we were in the way.
We're big fans of London steak restaurants but sadly can't recommend our local. Back to Hawksmoor Air Street for us.
Food + drink: 5
We've been going to Santa Maria del Sur for years (I'd even consider it one of the reasons we bought a house on the same street…). We've also spent a lot of time over the years in Argentina. This is the best Argentine steak in London – the only place I'd ever feel comfortable (insist) in London on taking a doggy bag if there was any steak left over – simply sublimely tender the next day…although it's clearly a fail if you don't finish!
Don't come here if you're expecting a wildly varied menu or don't want to eat steak. You come here for outstanding rare, tender and huge slabs of steak for a reasonable price – pound for pound the best value for money steak in London. With your steak you order 3/4 other things – nothing more: sweetbreads (if you're REALLY hungry), chunky garlic chips, rocket and garlic salad, cheesy mushrooms and a bottle of the house malbec. This is a great simple meal to enjoy with friends. If you've got the appetite of a giant, ask for some dulce de leche cheese cake. Then carry your stomach home. The other meats also look great, especially the sausage. But we've never got past the steak…
Service is very friendly and hispanic. Atmosphere is usually bubbly as the place is rarely less than crammed.
If you like steak, you need to go here. The 137 bus stops right outside.
Food + drink: 1
We went to the original Hackney restaurant many years ago and had a fabulous meal. So, when Santa Maria decided to open a restaurant near us we were thrilled – especially my meat-ophile husband! We've visited a few times over the years and each visit has been more disappointing than the last – the last time we went was July 2012. They seem more intent on making money – and this place isn't cheap – than providing good food, service and a relaxing atmosphere in which to enjoy your meal. The extras that made this place special have slowly disappeared over the years. For example, decent veggie options, unlimited chimichurri and time to enjoy and digest your food. Overall, disappointing – we won't go back.
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