Where to eat in Buenos Aires: A few of our favorite BA restaurants

Where to eat in Buenos Aires: A few of our favorite BA restaurants

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Now that we’re settled into Santiago, it’s time for some reflection on our favorite places to eat in Buenos Aires.  While we may have mentioned from time to time that the food choices in Buenos Aires can be a bit repetitive (cycling through the 5 major food groups), there are definitely some amazing places to eat in the city.  In addition to the things listed in Time Out and on Trip Advisor, we’ve been lucky enough to find a few lesser known restaurants that we think are awesome, and you just happen to be lucky enough that we’re willing to share them with you!

Note: We’ve indicated the price we usually pay for the two of us, typically including wine (we like wine) and either an appetizer or dessert; we’ve noted exceptions.  Take these as rough estimates, not absolutes.

  • El Estrebe: If you’ve followed our blog, you know that we LOVE El Estrebe.  We found it around the corner from our apt. in Recoleta and noticed that it was always packed (after 9pm anyway – don’t dare try to go to dinner before then in Argentina).  They also have a couple of fabulous wines for around AR35-40 (that’s US$10) by bodega Viñas de Narvaez, on the first page of the wine menu (our faves are the malbec and the syrah).  Read our review here and our photo essay here, but suffice to say that this is probably the one restaurant we’ll miss the most when (or if) we go back to the US.
    • Neighborhood: Recoleta
    • Cuisine: Parrilla
    • Price: ~AR 200 – we usually share a steak since they’re massive (see below) but have 2 appetizers, dessert and a bottle of wine
    • Best for: Dinner

      Dinner in Buenos Aires: Perfectly cooked Argentine beef image

      Incredible bife de lomo from El Estrebe

  • Don Julio: Another great parrilla, this one located in Palermo.  It’s a classic, and classy,  kind of place – great service, great wine list, fabulous meats.  Another parrilla in the neighborhood is really popular with tourists (La Cabrera) but we think this is much better.  Try the Flecha de los Andes malbec – awesome.
    • Neighborhood: Palermo Soho
    • Cuisine: Parrilla
    • Price: ~AR250-300 (the above-mentioned wine is ~AR100, bumping our total up a bit)
    • Best for: Dinner

      Don Julio image

      Us with our favorite bottle of wine at Don Julio (yes, we know we look like we've had too much)- sometimes they'll let you sign it and they'll put it up on the wall

  • Dada: This one is a bistro located in centro, near Florida street.  The space is a little funky and casual with only about 10 tables, plus a bar.  They have amazing beef dishes (the ojo de bife is our favorite – amazingly flavorful – they actually appear to use seasoning it which doesn’t happen much in Buenos Aires and may be considered cheating…) but also a bunch of other good stuff, including a langostine risotto.  Smaller menu than most places, which we’ve found to mean that they do all of it well, rather than much of it poorly.  Call ahead for reservation, especially if you’re going on the weekend.
    • Neighborhood: Microcentro
    • Cuisine: French bistro
    • Price: AR250
    • Best for: Lunch, dinner

      Dada Buenos Aires image

      Funky, low-key place with amazing food!

  • Pizza Piola: Trendy environment, often playing techno or other clubbish music, and really good thin crust pizza – not only the typical Buenos Aires pizzas, but more creative modern cuisine style as well (think California Pizza Kitchen, but better).  Two of our favorites are the Carbonara and the Avandaro.  Best to get a reservation Thurs/Fri/Sat.
    • Neighborhood: Barrio Norte
    • Cuisine: Pizza
    • Price:  ~AR120 (~AR50 for a large pizza, AR20-30 for a small)
    • Best for: Lunch, dinner

      Pizza Piola image

      Thin crust, proscutto, brie and arugula - yes!!!

  • Pizza y Espuma:  If you want a good set lunch with pasta or a simple pizza, this is a good bet.  We stumbled across this place on our walk home from Spanish school – they have a couple of locations, including Palermo Viejo and Recoleta.  They also have pretty much the only white wine in all of Argentina that we really like, and it’s their house wine – San Felipe.  It comes in a funny short, fat bottle, and you can sometimes find it in the grocery store too.
    • Neighborhood: Recoleta, Palermo Viejo, others
    • Cuisine: Pizza and pasta
    • Price: AR80-100 (lunch price; variance based on whether we order wine or not – we highly recommend a bottle of wine for lunch)
    • Best for: Lunch (good fixed menu options)

      Pizza y Espuma Palermo Viejo image

      Location in Palermo Viejo - 2 levels, with plenty of TVs for football (and we think a rooftop deck too)

  • Cumana: This is a Buenos Aires institution that draws tons of locals and tourists alike.  They’re famous for their empanadas and cazuelas (stews/soups), and also happens to be the site of my unfortunate run-in with mondongo.  As such, we love their empanadas and some of their stews, but just be careful what you order.  There’s often a line out the door for this place during the lunch rush or dinnertime, but we’ve had better luck with a late lunch, around 2ish.
    • Neighborhood: Recoleta
    • Cuisine: Traditional Argentine
    • Price: AR100 or less
    • Best for: Lunch, dinner

      Cumana restaurant image

      Cumana (in Recoleta) sometimes has a line down the street of locals and tourists alike waiting to get in

  • La Morada: Not exactly the greatest ambiance, but this is our go-to empanada delivery place.  They have carne suave as well as carne picante (thank god for a little spice, finally!!), as well as some awesome caprese empanadas (we think of these as appetizer empanadas).
    • Neighborhood: Recoleta
    • Cuisine: Empanadas
    • Price: ~AR50 for a dozen (empanadas only, no drinks–usually covers us for 2 dinners)
    • Best for: Delivery (dinner)

      La Morada Buenos Aires image

      After much searching, our favorite empanada place in our neighborhood

  • Miranda: We tried this place for lunch soon after arriving in Buenos Aires on the recommendation of a friend (see our full review here) – good decision!  Every time we’ve gone, this place has been packed with businessmen and trendy Palermo Hollywood-goers (you know, the ones who leave their sunglasses on indoors).  The set lunch options here include an appetizer (try the chorizo or polenta), a main dish (we especially like the lomo sandwich and chicken kebab with tower of grilled vegetables) and drinks (includes house wine- yay!!).  That’s a LOT of really good food for not that much.  We’re guessing dinner’s pretty good too, but we’ve never been since the lunch option is such a good deal.
    • Neighborhood: Palermo Hollywood
    • Cuisine: Parrilla
    • Price: ~AR90 (lunch with wine)
    • Best for: Lunch, dinner

      Miranda parrilla Buenos Aires entrance image

      Only go here if you're hungry and you like meat

  • La Fabrica del Taco: Having come from California, we’re used to Mexican food being plentiful and cheap, and thus ate it around once a week before we came to South America.  Turns out, Mexican is hard to come by here, but this place makes some awesome (and pretty authentic) tacos, as well as good guac and pico de gallo (try saying that with a Buenos Aires accent and not laughing).  Margaritas are expensive (like most mixed drinks in Argentina), so we usually stick with beer or sodas here.  When we get that craving for good Mexican and food with a little heat, this is where we go.  Just be prepared for the kind of creepy collection of Mexican wrestling masks covering the walls . . .
    • Neighborhood: Palermo Soho
    • Cuisine: Mexican
    • Price: ~AR120 (AR12-15/taco, 1-2 should fill you up)
    • Best for: Lunch, dinner

      La Fabrica del Taco Buenos Aires Palermo image

      Just wait until you get inside . . .

  • Cluny: This is our fancy place where we go when we want to pretend like we can still afford the dinners we used to buy when we had paychecks.  It’s a beautiful, elegant space with fabulous service – we’ve been lucky enough to have the same server, Marcelo (and ironically, the same table) every time we’ve been.  It’s been described as “modern Argentine” as well as French, but we just call it delicious.  After trying a number of different things on the menu, our absolute favorite is the mushroom risotto topped with a incredibly flavorful hunk of lamb – best we’ve had anywhere, not just in Argentina.  Extensive (and somewhat expensive) wine list.  Great for a special evening out.
    • Neighborhood: Palermo Soho
    • Cuisine: French/Argentine
    • Price: ~AR300 (includes ~AR100 bottle of wine)
    • Best for: Dinner

      Cluny restaurant Buenos Aires image

      You can sit on the couches, or they have regular tables and a loft upstairs

  • La Salamandra: This is one of our favorite cafes, located in Palermo Soho.  The company is actually a producer of high-end dulce de leche that they sell in their cafe as well as in grocery stores throughout the country – it’s good.  They also make their own fresh mozzarella and use it in lots of their dishes – stuff like grilled vegetable salad, foccacia sandwiches and fresh quiches, definitely not your standard Argentine fare.  And if you order a coffee, they serve it with a ceramic spoon full of their dulce de leche!!
    • Neighborhood: Palermo Soho
    • Cuisine: Cafe, sandwiches, salads
    • Price: AR80 (no alcohol)
    • Best for: Brunch, lunch

      La Salamandra Buenos Aires image

      Be sure to order a coffee after lunch so you can try their fabulous dulce de leche

  • Lo de Mateo: This is another neighborhood parrilla that we stumbled across one afternoon while wandering around Recoleta.  We’ve been for both lunch and dinner, pasta and carne, and our favorite is the pasta lunch menu.  They have an awesome scarparo sauce – a red sauce with various types of onions, a touch of cream and then a bit of pesto in the middle – great with their stuffed pastas.  And the lunch menu includes dessert – their flan is my favorite.
    • Neighborhood: Recoleta/Palermo Viejo (it’s right on the line)
    • Cuisine: Pasta and parrilla
    • Price: AR80 (lunch, no alcohol)
  • Best for: Lunch, dinner
    Lo de Mateo image

    Nothing too fancy, just really good pastas and flan!!

    Any other favorites out there??

Please leave a comment, it will make us feel special!

Comments
  • Ant Stone July 30, 2010 at 1:11 am

    Great post, really well researched — though I found myself repeatedly scrolling up and down to get another look at that juicy steak!

    • jen August 2, 2010 at 12:42 pm

      Thanks, Ant Stone! I know what you mean on the steak – it’s the best steak I’ve ever had. Order jugoso and use lots of chimmichurri for best results!! We’re trying an Argentine steak place here in Santiago this weekend and crossing our fingers it even comes close.

  • Wendy November 26, 2010 at 10:56 am

    Thank you for all of this wonderful food information. We are in Buenos Aires and are planning to take a few mixed cases of red wine back to San Francisco. Can you please recommend a few of your favorites? Also, last night we spent Thanksgiving at an amazing “closed door restaurant”! Here is the link: http://www.cocinasunae.com

    No better way to spend Thanksgiving then eating amazing Asian food with no relatives in sight!

    • ryan November 29, 2010 at 4:30 pm

      Hey Wendy, Glad you are enjoying your trip. We miss the food and wine from BA quite a bit! We have been meaning to write a post about wine for a long time now… Our favorite would have to be Flecha de Los Andes Malbec – this is pretty hard to find outside of a few high-end restaurants and wine shops, but if you can find it, it is excellent and you can get it for ~AR$75.

      Another great one that we never found in BA, but enjoyed in Cafayate is called Tukma – VERY good.

      Also Amauta makes really good stuff.

      There is a wine store in Recoleta on Puerrydon near the corner of Las Heras that has most of the above wines and several others that are likely very good. We didn’t find this store until we were about to leave unfortunately. They only have a couple of shelves of wine, but all of our favorites were there, so we assume that they have very good taste and choose their wines carefully. Also, they were very happy to put everything in boxes for getting through the airport. I don’t remember the name of the store, but if you walk up and down Puerrydon just across the street from the park at Las Heras you’ll find it.

      Good luck! let us know how it turns out.

      Ryan

      • Debrah October 18, 2012 at 10:29 am

        That’s a quick-weittd answer to a difficult question

  • Lauren January 16, 2011 at 12:42 am

    Hi. im in BA on a 4 month break from work and stumbled upon your blog when i was researching Spanish schools. (I start at Vamos on Monday at your and many other recommendations online.) Thanks for all of the great information and I cant wait to start trying some of your restaurant recs. Good for you two for taking your 6 month break. Very inspiring!

    • ryan January 24, 2011 at 3:39 pm

      Hi Lauren, Thanks for commenting. How are things at Vamos nowadays?

      Hope you enjoy your time down there!
      Ryan

  • Lauren January 25, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Everything is great at Vamos – Classes are great and am so glad I chose to study there. My teacher is Florencia and she is terrific. I’ll tell Ivana, Ingrid, Margo, Carolina, and Alejandro that i found your blog. Im sure they’ll remember you. Take care and thanks for the recs!

    • ryan February 2, 2011 at 7:02 pm

      Glad to hear it! Please do say hello for us.

      enjoy the rest of your trip!

  • LauraRG December 16, 2011 at 9:45 am

    I am from Argentina and living in the US now. I love reading your articles and find your recommendations very interesting. I will certainly try some of the suggestions on my next visit in 2012!

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