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. Aramburu

    $$$$ | San Telmo | Eclectic

    Hidden away on a gritty, graffiti-covered street is one of the most beautiful, intimate, and romantic restaurants in the city. Night after night...Read More

  • 2. Las Pizarras Bistró

    $$$ | Palermo | Eclectic

    Quirky and kitschy, this 40-seat hole-in-the-wall looks like any of hundreds of other neighborhood hangouts throughout the city. But take a...Read More

  • 3. Pura Tierra

    $$$$ | Belgrano | Argentine

    In a charming and creative space that was once a private residence in Belgrano, chef Martín Molteni's dining room offers up a tribute to the...Read More

  • 4. Café Tortoni

    $$ | Centro | Café

    Filled with Tiffany lamps, towering columns, and marble-topped tables. this art nouveau hangout has charm to spare. While you may have to wait...Read More

  • 5. Casa SaltShaker

    $$$$ | Recoleta | Eclectic

    While puertas cerradas, or closed-door restaurants, have been a part of the Buenos Aires dining scene for decades, they were historically...Read More

  • 6. Club Sirio Libanés

    $$$$ | Recoleta | Middle Eastern

    Dedicated to the cuisines of the Middle East, this sumptuous dining room on the third floor of the Syrian Lebanese Cultural Club serves up one...Read More

  • 7. i Latina

    $$$$ | Villa Crespo | South American

    These charming and handsome Colombian brothers ran a successful restaurant in Patagonia before moving to Buenos Aires, opening a new place,...Read More

  • 8. Tegui

    $$$$ | Palermo Hollywood | Eclectic

    Germán Martitegui was among the city's first leaders of the cocina de vanguardia movement, or what people tend to think of as gastronomía...Read More

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