Buenos Aires Restaurants

Visitors may flock to Buenos Aires for the steak and malbec, but the food scene goes far beyond those two attractions. Over the last dozen or so years, the city has burst onto the international food scene with gusto.

There’s a demand for more and more creative food. Here three things have come together to create a truly modern cuisine: diverse cultural influences, high culinary aspirations, and a relentless devotion to aesthetics, from plate garnishes to room décor. Tradition dictates late dining, and the majority of restaurants don’t open until 8 or 9 pm for dinner and don’t get busy until after 10. Dinner is a leisurely affair, and the sobremesa, or after-dinner chat over coffee or digestifs, is nearly obligatory. Rushing from the table is frowned on—anyway, where would you go? Bars and clubs often don’t open until after midnight.

The core of the population is of Italian and Spanish heritage, and pizza, pasta, paella, and puchero (beef boil) are as common as the parrilla (steakhouse). Argentines have taken the classics and made them their own with different techniques and ingredients, but they’re still recognizable to the international traveler. Pizzas and empanadas are the favored local snack food, the former piled high with cheese, the latter typically filled with steak or chicken. And while steak is indisputably king in this town, it’s got fierce competition in tender Patagonian lamb, game meats, fish, and shellfish. In contrast to that of much of Latin America, Argentine cuisine is not known for its spice, and picante dishes are not common.

Cafés, too, are an important part of the culture, and locals will stop in at their favorite for a cafecito at least once a day, not only to knock back a little caffeine, but also to see friends and catch up on the latest news and gossip.

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  • 1. Brasserie Petanque

    $$ | San Telmo

    One of the few classic French brasseries in Buenos Aires, Petanque is a place to enjoy hearty French fare accompanied by local wines. The ambience...Read More

  • 2. Café San Juan

    $$$ | San Telmo

    When famed "anti-chef" Leandro Cristóbal decided to return to his roots, he dropped his trademark modern cuisine in favor of huge platters of rustic traditional...Read More

  • 3. Café San Juan La Cantina

    $$ | San Telmo

    Its façade leads into tiny vermouth bar but the back is a huge dining room, where tattooed celebrity chef Lele Cristobal prepares tasty dishes with...Read More

  • 4. Desnivel

    $ | San Telmo

    Don't expect any frills here, just great steaks, and side dishes such as the papas fritas provenzal, golden french fries tossed in fresh parsley and...Read More

  • 5. Taberna Baska

    $$$ | San Telmo

    Buenos Aires is home to a large Basque immigrant population, and if there's anywhere in town to turn to for Basque cooking, it's this place....Read More

  • 6. 647 Dinner Club

    San Telmo

    The 1930s-Shanghai-meets-1970s-Los-Angeles vibe is made possible by black walls, smoky mirrors, pink furnishings, crystal chandeliers, and photos of hot naked women. It's a really cool...Read More

  • 7. La Vineria de Gualterio Bolivar

    $$$$ | San Telmo

    The pioneer of molecular cooking spots in Buenos Aires, chef Alejandro Digilio deserves all credit for bringing this style of cooking with foams, gels, and...Read More

  • 8. Los Loros

    San Telmo

    Shabby chic meets 1940s diner sums up the decorating approach at Los Loros Sandwiches, salads, and pasta dishes are announced on a big red notice...Read More

  • 9. Martiño

    $$$$ | San Telmo

    You know wine is going to be important here when you step in and see the gleaming glass wine cave that dominates the back wall,...Read More

  • 10. Bar Plaza Dorrego

    $ | San Telmo

    This atmospheric corner building with greenery tumbling over wrought-iron balconies has the best view of Plaza Dorrego. It's busy any time of day so stop...Read More

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