We came. We saw. We ate and ate and ate. I can’t say enough wonderful things about the food from Buenos Aires (BSAS). After each meal, we said “we killed it” again and again because everything we had was fabulous. Steak, empanadas, and Malbec filled our trip and my stomach left Argentina very satisfied.
Whenever I am planning a trip, it centers a lot around food. I think one of the best ways to experiences a new place and culture is to immerse yourself in it and their food. I love looking around a restaurant and seeing locals: what they are eating, talking about, their mannerisms, etc. To ensure that I am able to try a variety of foods and to make sure that my time is spent indulging in the best, I do a lot of research. I read articles, blogs, search Pinterest, and check with locals whenever possible. I consult Trip Advisor carefully and always cross reference recommendations between sources. I’ll preface the rest of this article (which will soon become clear) that I don’t like to restrict myself when I’m traveling, so I basically eat whatever sounds best to me that day. It’s rarely the grilled chicken salad, my friends, although I know that would be a smarter choice for my waistline.
Our hotels had breakfast available each morning that we typically ate. I don’t just mean cereal and unappealing bacon either. The hotels really knew how to do breakfast here, and it was very nice to get our day started with either a snack to hold us over until lunch or a full meal depending on what time we woke up. Buenos Aires was relaxed enough that we did not make reservations. We waited briefly a few times, but it was not usually a problem, which was great.
Below you will find my Buenos Aires food guide and recommendations for the places where we ate, what we had, and those that we were not able to go to either because we did not have time or because when we tried they were closed. I have no doubt that after all the success we had with where we ate that the other restaurants on my list are also wonderful. I can’t wait to cross them off when I undoubtedly return to Buenos Aires one day!
I arrived in Buenos Aires at 12:30 AM one evening and due to some hiccups in others’ travel plans, was alone for the first night. I arrived hungry and asked my hotel if anywhere in walking distance was still open, preferably somewhere with empanadas. They directed me down the street to this little establishment that had a large group of locals hanging outside enjoying beer, pizza, and empanadas. I got myself some and returned to enjoy them in my hotel room. This one was cheese and onions and was great. It may have been because it was almost 1:00 and I was hungry, or because it was my first authentic Argentinian empanada, but regardless, I enjoyed it and would walk back to get more for a snack any day. Bonus: they deliver.
Cafe Tortoni has been around in BSAS since 1858. It has been named one of the most beautiful cafes in the world and is repeatedly recognized for it’s Churros con Chocolate. We went by Cafe Tortoni for an afternoon snack our first day on our way to visit La Boca.
We started with our first of many Malbecs of the trip and a cheese plate. While the Malbec was delicious and the cheese plate paired well with the wine, I only really loved one of the cheeses and stuck to that, the sausage, and the pickles. The plate included boiled quail eggs on top of some cheeses, which was unique and good. Quail eggs are popular in South America and have become one of my boyfriend’s favorite snacks since arriving.
Next, we had Churros con Chocolate. We really weren’t sure what these would be when we ordered them, we just knew they were a must when visiting Cafe Tortoni. They are churros served with hot chocolate and were very tasty.
Cafe Tortoni is a fun place to stop by and see. It is absolutely beautiful inside and the churros con chocolate made for a great snack.
Located in Palermo, this Japanese-Peruvian fusion restaurant was amazing. I had the Osaka cocktail on the menu while they got our table ready and enjoyed it so much I continued drinking them throughout our dinner. Once seated, we started with the Osaka roll.
The warm crab meat and sauce on top of the roll was amazing and put this roll into one of the top five best ones I’ve ever had.
Next, we shared two entrees. The first was the Shiromi Wrap which was white fish in leche di tigre served with rice. The sauce was delicious and the white fish fell apart with the touch of my fork.
The second was the Confit Nippon (or duck confit) in a delicious orange sauce served over rice with vegetables. The crispiest parts of the meat were to die for.
We opted to try things other than beef to offset all the red meat we would be eating. Other menu items that sounded delicious were: the Kobe beef (served in mustard butter), Passion shrimp, spring rolls, and any of the ceviches on the menu. While this was a little on the pricey side for a meal compared to many of the other restaurants we ate at in Buenos Aires, I would say it was absolutely worth it. The price was very comparable to similar style restaurants we eat at in the United States and was wonderful dining experience.
Not going to BSAS anytime soon? Try one of Osaka’s other South American locations in Lima, Santiago, São Paulo, and Quito.
Located in Palermo, this burger restaurant has been named one of the top thirty best burgers in the world. Don’t be surprised if when you go there is a line out the door at lunch time. If you do have to wait, the graffiti that covers the wall will provide you with some good entertainment. As will the free smells. Burger Joint sells a few burgers: La Clasica, L’Americain, La Bleu, La Mexican, La Tevez, and La Jamaican. Available burgers are written on pieces of cardboard and hung in the window and on the wall. You can have your burger plain or get a combo with fries and a drink for super cheap (around $10 for a burger, fries, and a beer). Between three of us, we each tried a different burger and were then nice enough to share bites with each other. Sharing is caring, folks.
Below is the Bleu which I chose that has blue cheese, caramelized onions, portobello mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, and arugula. My mouth is watering looking at this picture.
My boyfriend opted to try the L’Americain which had amazing BBQ sauce, crispy bacon, and cheese. Can’t go wrong with that, kids.
My friend tried The Mexican. It was offered to her with hot sauce/pico upon ordering and she accepted the challenge. It also has cheese (duh), guacamole, a lot of jalapeños, and red onions. It was delicious for this spicy food lover, but if you don’t do well with spicy food, I would opt for no hot sauce and jalapeños, or just ordering another one of their amazing burgers.
While it definitely crossed my mind to go ahead and order another burger so I could try more than just these three, I decided that I should exercise a little restraint sine I had already eaten every bite of one burger and a whole order of fries. I’ll definitely be heading back for another burger here one day and will try The Jamaican that has grilled pineapple, pancetta, cheese, jalapeño, tomato, honey mustard, and pickles. The Tevez also sounded delicious with provolone cheese, chimichurri, and peppers. I imagine you can’t go wrong with a classic either. It has lettuce, tomato, cheese, and mayo.
You have to go to a parrilla when visiting BSAS. Seriously. Steak and Malbec people, it’s what Argentines do. This parrilla was repeatedly recommended and appearing on lists when I was researching the city. It became so popular that they opened a second location near the first, La Cabrera Norte. It will undoubtedly be crowded when you go and full of tourists, but it is well worth it. We went to eat here after a cooking class where we had several empanadas, flan, and dulce de leche as appetizers (more on this soon!) so we all shared a giant Ribeye steak and sides. Below is just a very small piece of our steak.
We followed our steak and sides up with ice cream. We thought we were just getting a scoop or two when this giant platter came out. Despite being extremely full, we finished it off! The whole meal was delicious. I’ll dream of some of the sauces that were served with our steak.
This is a precious French cafe located in Palermo that is a perfect brunch spot. This is another restaurant that has become so popular that they have opened up a second location near the first. We slept in very late on Sunday, as we had stayed out for my birthday the night before until just before the sun came up. Needless to say, we missed breakfast at our hotel. Oui Oui was a charming stop for a carb filled meal.
Below is the Croque Monsieur which both my boyfriend and friend ordered. It was delicious cheesy goodness.
I thought a baguette would help my condition that morning so I went for a turkey sandwich with fries. I also had their famous mint lemonade, which was so refreshing.
As other tables’ orders came out we stared almost to a level of embarrassment, as I am sure we looked like vultures. However, staring led me to see a few other dishes that looked amazing I can share with you: french toast, french onion soup, and crepes.
*Insiders tip: They serve what looks to be an amazing eggs benedict (and one of the few you can find in the city), but only the original location serves them. They also discount their pastries in the evenings.
I loved this restaurant so much. Located in Palermo, they have their menus on chalkboards hanging on the walls that change as their chef sees fit. The decor was perfection, and the wait staff was so helpful and nice.
We started with roasted camembert in a bean stew with quinoa. Yum! Considering we had to double check what camembert was (a type of cheese… sold) before ordering, I’d say this was an amazing choice.
Next up were two entrees my friend and I split. The first, mushroom risotto. This was divine and absolutely hit the spot.
Secondly, we shared the suckling pig which was served in an amazing sauce over polenta.
Lastly, the creme brulee. I am a HUGE fan of creme brulee and in turn am picky about it. This one was divine. It had a hint of passion fruit in it, which oh my was heavenly and ended my birthday dinner on the most wonderful note.
Las Pizarras is such a cool restaurant, they even recommend other restaurants to you. What a cool touch. I could not suggest trying out this charming, delicious place enough.
The Pony Line in the Four Seasons
We wanted to stop by the Four Seasons while exploring the Recoleta neighborhood for a drink and a quick snack, but loved our first taste of their food so much we stayed to share more. We decided to give Malbec a break and try some of the famous cocktails from The Pony Line. I am glad we did because each drink we had was delicious and carefully crafted.
With cocktails, they serve some great homemade chips with BBQ sauce. If you look closely in the picture above, you’ll notice that the bowl was almost empty before our drinks even arrived because they were delish. First up for our food order, empanadas of course. These did not disappoint and per usual, the salsa that accompanied them was so fresh and delicious.
Next up: this delicious house smoked pork shoulder sandwich served with grilled onions, lettuce, pickles, and chimichurri mayonnaise (the selling point) on sourdough bread. They asked if we wanted it served with a salad or french fries but given we were on vacation, there was really no choice to be made. It comes with some of their house made BBQ sauce that was amazing– on the sandwich, on the fries, on my finger.
Following a few cocktails and some savory food at The Pony Line, we wanted something sweet. I had read about a little bakery that was also located in Recoleta and we mapped how close it was to the Four Seasons. Walking distance. Done. I twas also one of the top 20 places to eat on Trip Advisor, so we figured it was worth a try.
I mean, yum. Which of these amazing looking desserts to try was one of the toughest decisions we had faced that day, besides earlier deciding which of the amazing cocktails to try. I’m telling ya, the traveling life is ROUGH.
We went with this cake per the recommendation of one of the nice workers. It was some sort of chocolatey goodness filled with a soft mousse and a little dolce de leche on top.
For a little afternoon pick us up (and to warm us up after the walk) we also had some espresso. Illy is the best in my opinion, by the way.
Sit at the counter of this charming bakery and watch as they create the most heavenly slices of perfect sweet goodness. (Had I known how to ask in Spanish, I considered asking to lick the bowl.)
La Pecora Nera
Our eating tour of Recoleta ended at La Pecora Nera for some Italian food. It could not have ended on a better note. Both my friend and I had spent time in Italy last summer eating our way through the country and I will just say, this is some of the best pasta I have ever had outside of Italy. It was amazing. We loved the atmosphere as well as the restaurant was filled with locals who seemed to really know of this little hidden gem. Well, I guess it isn’t that hidden, as it’s rated #11 on Trip Advisor. Regardless, it did not have the slightest touristic feel, and we were so pleased with the entire experience at La Pecora Nera.
We shared the tortelli di Zucca, Mascarpone e Noci which was a squash filled pasta with mascarpone, walnuts, and butter-sage. I will forever think of this in my dreams as squash pillows from heaven.
We also split the tacchino ravioli with cream di champagne and funghi freschi (in English, pasta stuffed with turkey marinated in cognac with champagne cream and fresh mushrooms). Not only did this come as a recommendation from our waiter, but champagne cream, I mean.. hello!? Yes please.
To summarize: we killed it. I could have spent twice as long in Buenos Aires just eating, and I’ll be eager to go back again sooner rather than later. I will want to return for a few of my favorites, plus cross off some other amazing looking restaurants from my list. Several restaurants that I am dying to try but didn’t make it to this time for whatever reasons include:
This restaurant was one I was very sad to have missed. It’s an asian fusion noodle bar that sounded divine on every recommendation list I found it on. I repeatedly read to get pork buns as a starter, ramen for your entree, and ice cream sandwiches for dessert.
We went at sort of an odd time to the Four Seasons so opted to eat in the Pony Line lounge instead, but this restaurant looks phenomenal. It has been named one of the top restaurants in South America, and the decor is beautiful. Elena is a two-story courtyard style restaurant and is open for brunch, lunch, and dinner.
Also in The Four Seasons: Nuestro Secreto.
This restaurant is open for dinner Wednesday-Saturday or for brunch, which is what I read to try on Sundays from 12:00 to 3:00. Nestro Secreto has a casual eclectic backyard vibe and provides diners with a secret garden-type retreat among the busy city feel of Buenos Aires.
Depending on who you ask, Don Julio may be the best parrilla in BSAS. We opted to try La Cabrera, but given a little extra time in the city I would have crossed both of my list to be able to share my own opinion. Locals (and tourists) seem to have strong opinions about which parrilla is the best. Go form your own if possible and report back. I’ll be doing my own tasting research upon my return to Buenos Aires.
Casa Umare is a french style bistro that is located inside a unique boutique hotel. The restaurant requires reservations and you are reportedly greeted as though you are a family member upon your arrival. They also offer exclusive wine tastings in the cellar before dinner.
Uco is located inside the Fierro hotel and while reservations aren’t required, they are recommended. This restaurant is smaller inside to keep an intimate atmosphere. The cuisine is described as creative, and they offer a tasting menu so you can experience a variety of dishes. They also offer a wine pairing that is reportedly a perfect accompaniment to their food tasting menu.
Dada is reportedly the perfect break from steak when in Buenos Aires, although their steak is supposed to be delicious as well. The feel of the bistro is described as artsy with delicious food. It is small and is often filled with locals. I read the carpaccio is one of the best you can find.
This is a precious cafe that we stopped in, but on a Sunday night they were about to close and were not serving their full menu. I’ve read the pasta is delicious, as is the focaccia. They have a great patio and upstairs and the Italian coffee smelled delicious. It was so charming and seemed like a great spot for breakfast, lunch, or a coffee break.
Olsen is described as a Scandanavian fusion restaurant that has a great dinner and a wonderful brunch. The atmosphere is beautiful (we peeked inside while passing by one evening, but when we went back the next evening to try it was closed). It is a blend of industrial chic meets modern elegance and has an awesome garden. Go just for drinks or for dinner.
*Happy eating to anyone visiting Buenos Aires! I used a number of sites, blogs, and articles to find my list of best restaurants, but undoubtedly the most comprehensive is a blog I stumbled upon called Pick Up the Fork. Her witty writing style makes doing food research particularly entertaining and I frequently consulted her blog for where to go or what to order. Wherever you eat in BSAS, I have no doubt your stomach will leave happy, satisfied, and your clothes may feel a little more snug.