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. Astor, Manduque Porteño

    $$$ | Belgrano | Argentine

    The name—which means, more or less, "the way locals eat"—may be a bit of a misnomer, because this restaurant doesn't serve anything that you...Read More

  • 2. Bardot

    $$$ | Palermo Soho | Peruvian

    Peruvian fusion cuisine is all the rage these days, but not everyone is looking to blend Japanese and Peruvian fare. In Bardot's sizzling lounge...Read More

  • 3. Chira

    $$$ | Palermo Soho | Peruvian

    While Nikkei cuisine is taking Argentina by storm, some chefs have realized that Japanese isn't the only cuisine that pairs with the explosive...Read More

  • 4. Don Julio

    $$$ | Palermo Soho | Steakhouse

    Behind an unassuming facade, one of Palermo's best steak houses features cowhide tablecloths, wagon-wheel lighting fixtures, and rows and rows...Read More

  • 5. 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

  • 6. Restó

    $$$ | Recoleta | Argentine

    This place became famous when it was run by founder Maria Barrutia, and on and off it was a popular destination for local foodies over the years...Read More

  • 7. Bella Italia

    $$$ | Palermo Botánico | Italian

    One of the first Italian restaurants in Palermo Botánico, Bella Italia is the cornerstone of what has become the city's quasi-official Little...Read More

  • 8. Bengal

    $$$ | Retiro | Eclectic

    Stepping into the wood-paneled dining room, with tables draped in white linens and a ceiling tented with a colorful carpet, you may feel like...Read More

  • 9. Brasserie Petanque

    $$$ | San Telmo | French

    One of the few—if not the only—classic French brasseries in Buenos Aires, Petanque is a place to drop in, enjoy hearty French fare, and wash...Read More

  • 10. Bruni

    $$$ | Belgrano | Italian

    This elegant corner Italian restaurant features wraparound windows overlooking Parque Paseo de las Americas was one of the first spots to bring...Read More

  • 11. BuddhaBA

    $$$ | Belgrano | Asian

    In the heart of the city's Chinatown, BuddhaBA is part pan-Asian restaurant, part tranquil garden, and part art gallery. The service is understated...Read More

  • 12. Buller Brewing Company

    $$$ | Recoleta | American

    Smack in the middle of the touristy Village Recoleta strip, Buller is the city's first microbrewery. Turning out an impressive seven different...Read More

  • 13. Café San Juan

    $$$ | San Telmo | Argentine

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

  • 14. Dadá

    $$$ | Retiro | Eclectic

    Pop-art posters add some flair to this foodie favorite. With a short but creative menu, this spot serves some of the most interesting food to...Read More

  • 15. El Cuartito

    $$$ | Centro | Pizza

    Founded in 1934, this icon of porteño pizza tugs at the heartstrings of locals, who get misty-eyed when they think about the fresh tomato sauce...Read More

  • 16. El Estanciero

    $$$ | Las Cañitas | Steakhouse

    This steak house perfectly captures the vibrancy of Las Cañitas—even on weekdays, when you can see couples and groups heading in the door as...Read More

  • 17. El Federal

    $$$ | Retiro | Argentine

    An homage to the rugged terrain of the Argentine wilds, every surface in this downtown eatery seems to be rough wood or tanned leather. Chef...Read More

  • 18. El Globo

    $$$ | Centro | Spanish

    Much like the neighborhood in which it resides, El Globo is touristy but good. Hearty pucheros (mixed boiled meat dinners), roast suckling...Read More

  • 19. El Imparcial

    $$$ | Centro | Spanish

    This is the city's oldest restaurant, dating back to the 1860s. The name, which translates as "impartial," was meant to offer up neutral territory...Read More

  • 20. El Obrero

    $$$ | La Boca | Steakhouse

    You'll half expect sawdust on the floor and a saloon fight to break out when you walk into this old-time steak house just off the docks of La...Read More

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