Top Restaurant Picks and Favorite Dishes in Buenos Aires
Read an expat chef's recommendations of the dishes and restaurants you need to try in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Photo By: Socially Intuit/Graziano's Group
Photo By: Grazianos Group/Socially Intuit
Photo By: Damian Liviciche
Photo By: La Cabrera
Photo By: La Brigada
Photo By: Pablo Baracat Photography/El Baqueano
Photo By: Pablo Baracat Photography/El Baqueano
Photo By: Floreria Atlantico/Brasero Atlantico
Photo By: Parrilla Don Julio
Photo By: Juan Paronetto/La Alacena/Mariana Bauza
Dance the tango in Argentina, catch a soccer match or visit the country's vineyards--but don't miss the unique local cuisine. The country is famous for its flavorful beef, pork and sausages and its asado, which is both an event and a way of grilling over a wood fire. Asado experts flip the meats just once, to form thin, brown crusts that seal in the juices, and season with only salt. The meat may cook for up to three hours, but it's worth the wait.
Graziano's Group, South Florida
Mario Graziano and his son, Leo, are Argentinean expats and asado experts who oversee Graziano's steakhouses, markets and bakeries in South Florida. An asado, they say, should begin with high-quality meats, like grass-fed beef. They fire up their grills with quebracho, a South American hardwood that imparts a smoky flavor. Traveling to Argentina? Read on for Leo Graziano's recommendations on the best places to eat.
La Carniceria, Buenos Aires
If you want to dine like a real Argentinean, the Grazianos recommend La Carniceria. Arrive late, Leo says, around 10:30 p.m, when this small eatery is busy, and "grab a spot at the bar for great conversation with the locals." La Carniceria puts a modern twist on local steakhouse classics; try the caramelized sweetbreads.
La Cabrera, Buenos Aires
La Cabrera is "great for solo travelers," says Leo. "I recommend grabbing a seat outside, ordering a liter of beer, the grilled provoleta (an Argentinean appetizer of grilled, provolone-like cheese) and a beef Milanese, and enjoy watching the locals pass by." The restaurant is known for its generous cuts of Hereford and Aberdeen Angus beef and is consistently named one of the best parrilla (BBQ) destinations in the country. Shown here: a tender Kobe steak.
La Brigada, Buenos Aires
Leo calls La Brigada "arguably the city's best parrilla located in the old town of San Telmo" and also says it has one of the best Argentinean wine lists. In Argentina, restaurants are known as parrillas (parrilla can also refer to an open-fire hearth with an iron grill). Asados are usually private events (think entertaining your friends at a backyard cookout) or barbecuing events held for tourists.
La Brigada says its meats are tender enough to cut with a spoon. (Note: you'll hear music when you click on the restaurant's link, so be prepared to adjust the volume if you're in a quiet setting.)
El Baqueano, Buenos Aires
Ever tried alligator? El Baqueano is the best place for authentic alligator empanadas, says Leo. "The restaurant features native ingredients that showcase the country's biodiversity." This Tparrilla's name means "the gatherer." Shown here: negui llama, a dish made with llama meat that's similar to a sushi roll. As with other items on the menu, it's inspired by the cuisine in Argentina's northern regions.
Appetizer at El Baqueano
This appetizer, crudo de llama, is a favorite served at El Baqueano. It's made with llama meat; white, red and black quinoas; aji panca (a Peruvian red pepper with a berry-like, smoky flavor) and amaranth grains. Many of the restaurant's ingredients, like its pacu river fish and new potatoes, come from the High Andes region.
Floreria Atlantico, Buenos Aires
Both Floreria Atlantico and Brasero Atlantico are owned by Tato Giovannoni, "a talented mixologist who also created Principe de Los Apostoles gin," Leo says. Brasero Atlantico is a bistro where you can grab some chorizo or black pudding before heading downstairs to its sister establishment, Floreria Atlantico. Floreria is a kind of Argentinean-style speakeasy; try one of the cocktails inspired by the country's French, Spanish, Russian or German immigrants.
Parrilla Don Julio, Buenos Aires
Leo also recommends Parrilla Don Julio, "a classic hotspot for tourists and locals. The skirt steak here is the best. Try to snag a seat in the main dining area or upstairs for a view of the asadores (those doing the grilling) hard at work." The short ribs and rump steak also get rave reviews from diners; try the fried beef empanadas for an appetizer.
La Alacena, Buenos Aires
The Grazianos have one tip for dining at La Alacena: order pasta. "Everything is hand-made, including the beautiful artisanal plates and dishes they serve on," Leo says. The co-owners met in cooking school and base their menu of antipasti and main dishes on the Italian cuisine they love. They're also known for their delicious breads, made without preservatives or additives. Try the pan de campo, stirato or Tuscan green olive bread.