With so many miles of coastline, it's not surprising that Atlantic Patagonia is famous for its seafood, notably sole and salmon, mejillones (mussels), and pulpo (octopus). Centolla (king crab) is another specialty, especially south of Comodoro Rivadavía. Most restaurants are sit-down-and-take-your-time affairs that don't open for dinner until at least 8, and despite all the seafood on offer, steak still reigns supreme. The other carnivorous staple in the area is cordero patagónico, local lamb, usually served barbecued or stewed. Dining prices in most Patagonian cities rival those of upper-end Buenos Aires restaurants. Thankfully, so do the skills of local chefs, although expect more basic offerings of pizza, milanesas, and empanadas in smaller towns. Whenever possible, accompany your meal with a bottle of wine from one of the increasing number of Patagonian wineries.

Huge numbers of foreign visitors mean that vegetarian options are getting better; woks de verdura (vegetable stir-fries) are a newly ubiquitous option. Most cafés and bars serve quick bites known as minutas. The region is also famous for its stone fruits, which are used in various jams, preserves, sweets, and alfajores (a chocolate-covered sandwich of two cookies with jam in the middle). When in El Calafate, be sure to nibble on some calafate berries (or drink them in cocktails like the Calafate Sour)—legend has it if you eat them in El Calafate you are destined to return one day soon.

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