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Our Guide to the Best Restaurants in Buenos Aires

May 7, 2024
Alfie Laurence

Here is a guide to my best restaurants in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Argentina’s cuisine is world famous. Not only for the quality of the produce coming fresh from its vast land and plains, but also for the recipes they create. Argentina’s food culture is different from its neighbours due to the large influence from European cuisine, namely Spanish and Italian. Let’s start with the meat and the classic asado (barbecue) is unbelievably delicious. The home of red wine combined with steak… need I say more?

Before reading on, check out our other blogs on Argentina if you are planning an upcoming trip:

Where to eat in Argentina:

There are a few neighbourhoods that I would recommend enjoying Argentina’s cuisine. These are Palmero, San Telmo, Recoleta and Villa Crespo. Even if you just walk around on a particular lunchtime or evening, you will find countless eateries ready to serve you at a surprisingly affordable price.

Here is my list of 10 best places to eat in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In no particular order:

1. Atis Bar (San Telmo)

A contemporary eatery known for its modern approach to traditional flavours. It features a seasonal menu with dishes crafted from locally sourced ingredients. Specialty dishes to try include the octopus with paprika and the homemade gnocchi. Yum! The interior of the building is also very beautiful and you won’t be short of photo opportunities.

2. Café San Juan (San Telmo)

In the words of Mark Weins ‘Oh wow!’ This place really got me good. Owned by Chef Leandro Cristóbal, Café San Juan offers a fusion of Argentine and Spanish cuisines, with must-tries like the rabbit paella and slow-cooked pork ribs.

3. Picarón (Villa Crespo)

A newer addition to the city’s culinary map, focusing on South American cuisines with a twist. The restaurant is praised for its inventive cocktails and dishes such as the ceviche mixto and the lomo saltado.

4. Oli (Palermo)

Known for its intimate ambiance and exquisite Mediterranean-inspired dishes. Highlights include the seared scallops and the lamb shank braised in red wine.

5. San Telmo Market (San Telmo)

More than just a place to eat, this historic market offers a variety of local and international foods. Visitors should not miss the fresh empanadas and the artisanal cheeses from local vendors. You can arrive and eat until you drop and then do some vintage clothes shopping as well as the gorgeous artisanal market that is attached to the market. A perfect Saturday day out.

6. El Cuartito (Recoleta)

Since 1934, this pizzeria has been a staple in Buenos Aires for pizza lovers. The fugazza (onion pizza) and the Napolitana with plenty of garlic are iconic choices.

7. Casa Cavia (Palermo)

Housed in a beautifully restored 1920s building, this restaurant combines dining with literature and art. Try the beetroot risotto and the roasted lamb with a mint crust.

8. Los Galgos (Centre)

A classic bar notable for its restoration and revival of old Argentine bar traditions. Known for its vermouth on tap and signature sandwiches like the lomito completo.

9. Sarkis (Villa Crespo)

A staple for Armenian and Middle Eastern cuisine in Buenos Aires. Dishes like the manti (dumplings) and kebab with yogurt are perennial favourites. Make sure you arrive early because there are queues around the door even before opening times! You have been warned.

10. La Cabrera (Palermo)

Famous for its steaks and vibrant atmosphere, this grill is a must-visit for meat lovers. The bife de chorizo and provoleta are highly recommended.

11. Lo de Jesús (Palermo)

An old-fashioned grill with a reputation for premium cuts and classic sides. Signature dishes include the mollejas (sweetbreads) and the matambre a la pizza.

12. El Preferido (Palermo)

Originally a grocery store, this pink-hued spot serves up local staples with a contemporary touch. Notable dishes are the milanesa napolitana and the fish vermouth stew.

13. Don Julio (Palermo)

One of the most internationally recognized parrillas in Buenos Aires, known for its exceptional service and quality beef. The entraña (skirt steak) and chorizo are classics here.

14. Bis Restaurante (Recoleta)

A sleek restaurant offering a mix of European cuisines, known for its attention to detail and flavors. Highlights include the duck confit and the truffled potato foam.

15. El Sanjuanino (Recoleta)

Renowned for its regional Argentine dishes, particularly from the province of San Juan. Try the empanadas sanjuaninas and the locro, a hearty stew perfect for cold days.

What to Eat in Argentina:

Asado (Barbecue)

Asado isn't just a meal; it's a culinary ritual and the heart of Argentine social gatherings. It involves grilling various cuts of meat, including beef, pork, and chicken, on a parrilla (grill) or an open fire. Trying asado is essential to understanding the Argentine way of life and their love for meat.

Provoleta

A derivative of Italian provolone cheese, provoleta is a thick slice of cheese grilled until crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside, often seasoned with oregano and chili flakes. It's typically served as a starter at asado gatherings and is a melt-in-your-mouth introduction to Argentine flavours.

Milanesa

Similar to the Italian cotoletta or German schnitzel, milanesa is a breaded and fried meat cutlet. It’s a staple of family dinners and can be made from beef or chicken, often topped with tomato sauce, ham, and melted cheese in a variation known as "milanesa a la napolitana."

Pizza/Fugazza

Argentine pizza has a thicker crust compared to Italian pizza and is generously topped with mozzarella. Fugazza is an onion-topped variation without cheese, showcasing the Italian influence on Argentine cuisine. Both are popular in pizzerias around Buenos Aires and beyond.

Empanadas

These are small, stuffed pastries that are either baked or fried, with fillings that vary by region, including beef, chicken, corn, or cheese. Empanadas are perfect for a quick snack or a party appetizer and are a delicious example of Argentina’s regional culinary diversity.

Choripán

This popular street food consists of a grilled chorizo sausage split down the middle and served on a crusty bread roll. Often enjoyed at soccer matches and public gatherings, it's typically topped with chimichurri or salsa criolla, adding a flavorful zest.

Sweet Treats in Argentina:

Dulce de Leche

A sweet, caramel-like spread made by slowly heating sweetened milk. It’s a key ingredient in many Argentine desserts and snacks, such as cakes, ice cream, and pancakes. Its creamy texture and rich flavor make it a beloved treat.

Medialunas

Essentially Argentina’s version of croissants, these sweet, buttery pastries are a common sight at breakfast tables and cafés. Typically eaten glazed with a sweet syrup, medialunas are perfect with a cup of coffee or mate.

Alfajores

These are shortbread cookies sandwiched with dulce de leche or jam and often covered in chocolate. Alfajores are a favorite snack or dessert and make an excellent souvenir to take back from a trip to Argentina.

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Written by

Alfie Laurence
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