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. Chori

    $ | Palermo Soho

    This bright yellow corner storefront has given the humble sausage sandwich called choripán a radical and much-needed makeover, turning it from basic street food to...Read More

  • 2. Buller Brewing Company

    $ | Recoleta

    The city's first microbrewery is in a prime position opposite Recoleta Cemetery, and it's a prince among frogs in a saturated craft beer market. There...Read More

  • 3. Café Tortoni

    $ | Centro

    Take a seat amid the Tiffany lamps and marble-topped tables, and contemplate the fact that you may be sitting in a chair once occupied by...Read More

  • 4. Chan Chan

    $$ | Congreso

    Peruvian dishes at bargain prices have made a name for Chan Chan. The deep-fried corn kernels they bring while you wait are almost a meal...Read More

  • 5. Cuervo Café

    $ | Palermo Hollywood

    This specialty coffee shop, which roasts its own beans, located on a buzzy Hollywood corner is the ideal spot for a flat white or iced...Read More

  • 6. Cumaná

    $ | Barrio Norte

    The hearty stews, steaks, and empanadas at chaotic Cumaná are a far cry from Recoleta's European pretensions. Skip dessert, though (nearby ice-cream parlors are better)....Read More

  • 7. Delicious

    $$ | Recoleta

    It's a hard name to live up to, but there's no doubt this casual café pulls it off, with super fresh sandwiches, salads, and smoothies,...Read More

  • 8. 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

  • 9. El Desnivel

    $$ | San Telmo

    At this classic parrilla (steak house) the trimmings don't go beyond a mixed salad and fries, and surly waiters are part of the experience....Read More

  • 10. El Preferido de Palermo

    $$ | Palermo Viejo

    Though it was recently overhauled by the Parrilla Don Julio team, much care has been taken to retain El Preferido de Palermo's authentic and traditional...Read More

  • 11. Florencio

    Barrio Norte

    The cheesecake. Wait, the caramelized pear tart. No, the immense chocolate cake. Whichever you choose at this tiny café on a lane a couple blocks...Read More

  • 12. La Biela

    $ | Recoleta

    A blast from the past, this traditional café is one of the best spots in Recoleta for people-watching and celebrity-spotting. For the most part, it's...Read More

  • 13. La Giralda

    $ | Centro

    Don't let the small tables or surly waiters put you off—La Giralda's signature chocolate con churros (hot chocolate with crisp cigar-shape doughnuts) are to die...Read More

  • 14. La Morada

    $ | Plaza de Mayo

    Local office workers know where to find the best empanadas. Vintage adverts, 1960s LPs, and photos of late, great Argentine celebrities are hung so close...Read More

  • 15. La Perla

    $ | La Boca

    This colorful old-time café is the place for a licuado (milk shake) or tostado mixto (a local croque monsieur)....Read More

  • 16. Mercado de los Carruajes

    $ | Centro

    Opening at the start of 2022, the long-waited Carriages Market is already being touted as Buenos Aires’ answer to NYC’s Chelsea Market. With more than...Read More

  • 17. Mr Ho

    $ | Centro

    A cheery spot that has lifted Centro’s dining options, this family-run spot serves up delicious and authentic Korean dishes. First generation migrant Martín Ho cooks...Read More

  • 18. Museo Evita Restaurante

    $$ | Palermo Botánico

    The checkered floors and glossy black tables of Museo Evita Restaurante are as stylish as the great lady herself. Sticky and flaky, the medialunas here...Read More

  • 19. Ña Serapia

    $ | Palermo

    One of the city's best known and beloved pulperías, Ña Serapia (local slang that means the "Martyred Lady") is tiny, with only a dozen seats...Read More

  • 20. Oui Oui

    Palermo

    French-cute is one way to describe the baby-pink tables and the blackboard filled with quirkily named dishes at Oui Oui. Chef Rocío García Orza achieves...Read More

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