Buenos Aires is one of the most vibrant cities in the world and one that should be on your bucket list. It’s massive, with many neighborhoods, each with a different style and flavor. And when it comes to food, the options are endless, with high quality restaurants and cafés on every block. If anything, there’s too much to choose from.
Before you dive face first into a pile of empanadas, there are a few things you should know. First, dinner is served at 10 p.m. or later. If you show up to a restaurant before then, you’ll be the only one there. Second, do not expect high speed service. Argentines move at an endearing, but glacial pace. Third, all ice cream is good ice cream. We’re not sure what they put in the dairy in Buenos Aires, but it’s bueno. Lastly, always say yes to wine. When your waiter offers, don’t question it. Just silently pray you don’t stain your shirt with your third glass of Malbec.
Now that you know all that, go forth and eat at Buenos Aires’ best restaurants. And bring us back a ribeye.
The must-try steak house in town for most tourists, thanks to a massive menu with every variety of steak cut you can imagine. Yes, there is more English being spoken here than Castellano (so much for whisking yourself away to a faraway land), but Cabrera is delicious in any language. Aside from the ribeye (bife de ojo), try the fresh vegetables, the french fries with scrambled eggs, some sausage, and the provalleta completa (a grilled slab of prov cheese topped with oil, sun-dried tomatoes, and prosciutto).
Another excellent steakhouse that’s a little more local than La Cabrera. Even though you are coming here to eat steak and drink red wine, the atmosphere is incredibly casual, so don’t worry about showing up in shorts if necessary. Go for the ribeye and load it up with the house chimichurri.
A small, hip modern take on the BA steakhouse, La Carniceria puts a contemporary spin on the classics. Try the chorizo, sweetbreads, or provoleta.
As local and no frills as it gets, Club Eros is amazing. Good food and even better people watching as everybody from businessmen to grandmas to drunks make their meal here. And don’t let the name deceive. For all of BAs party houses, this is not one of them. The “club” in Club Eros refers to the indoor soccer and volleyball games that are played in the entrance. Often while you eat. With the lights on full blast. So yeah, club, not clurb.
Argentina tends to like its meat in steak rather than burger form, so this place in Palermo SoHo is one of the few burger joints in town, and it’s a good one. Load your burger with lots of toppings.
Buenos Aires is full of Italian restaurants, but Olivetti is the one you should get to. Everything is delicious, and if you’re nice to the staff, they’ll even top you off with an extra glass of wine.
This Mediterranean staple in Las Cañitas is great for dinner groups of all sizes. Order the hummus, shawarma, and perfectly crisp falafel.
Every city in the entire world has a place for drunk food somewhere, and in Buenos Aires it’s Sinior Shawarma. You’ll find this place packed with all kinds of locals, teenagers, and tourists, stumbling across the street from the clubs in Palermo Hollywood and shoving shawarma in their faces. This stuff is actually pretty good, though, and we’d happily hit it sober.
A casual taco spot, Fabrica Del Taco is perfect for big groups and drinking margaritas. Order a variety of tacos and get a flavored pitcher of margaritas for the table, then make your way to Rosebar for a night out afterwards.
NOLA is one of the most unique restaurants in Buenos Aires, as it has transformed from closed-door restaurant to gastropub. Owned by an Argentine sommelier and his American wife, they put their expert knowledge of New Orleans, Southern cooking, and Argentine wine to good use, with one of the most interesting culinary experiences we’ve ever taken part in.
Definitely a bit of a tourist stop, but still a fun way to learn about BA’s native cuisine and traditions. Through a make-your-own empanada class, wine tasting, and an important lesson about steak, you’ll find yourself more knowledgeable and maybe even more appreciative of the family and friends around you (thanks, Malbec).
As you may be aware from your travels, most of the world doesn’t engage in the daytime eating of eggs and drinking of mimosas like Americans do. But BA does have some fun boozy brunch situations, like Magdalena’s Party. The place is owned by expats (#merica), and the crowd usually consists of study abroad students and American transplants, but is hangover-approved and a good time nonetheless.
Another option for a brunch-type meal, Olsen has an awesome outdoor setup and a Scandinavian-inspired menu that has kept it popular for years. A great place to spend a Saturday.
A good-to-know-about breakfast/lunch spot in the Palermo Hollywood neighborhood. They serve a classic Argentine breakfast, but also some traditional American and French-influenced brunch items. Huevos all the way.
Every street corner has a restaurant of some kind that offers sandwiches, empanadas, and other traditional Argentine delicacies. A Manger somehow breaks through that clutter and offers a selection more interesting and exciting than any other spot around. Sandwiches, salads, tapas, and wine. Can’t go wrong.
A casual restaurant near Plaza Serrano, Gran Dabbang serves Indian-influenced food that is a nice break from steak-heavy Argentine EEEEEATS. We’re big fans of the lamb curry and the fried swiss chard with chutney, sriracha, and yogurt on top. Order a ton of stuff and share with friends.
Walk through Palermo and you’ll find Las Pizarras, a contemporary Argentine restaurant on Thames Street. The chalkboard menu on the wall changes daily based on fresh and local ingredients, in a pretty informal setting (everything’s pretty informal in BA, as you’re likely starting to notice). Try the excellent tasting menu, or come with a small group and order a bunch of things to share.
A simple but still awesome version of what people are calling “Nueva Cocina Argentina.” With seasonal ingredients and an optional partial menu tasting, this is a great first stop to get a feel for BA’s modern dining scene. Consider hitting it for lunch, since they often have a special menu midday.
In a city full of empanadas, dulce de leche, and red meat, Farinelli is a healthy diamond in the rough. When a few days in, you’re looking for something that isn’t fried but still tastes good for lunch, you’ll be glad to know about it.
Generally speaking, the sushi in Buenos Aires is not great and is often filled with cream cheese, which should never happen. Osaka is the exception, bringing interesting Japanese food and quality sushi to Palermo Hollywood. Finally.
Chan Chan is a great, cheap Peruvian spot in Monserrat. The place is funky, with a Virgin Mary statue and murals of meadows on the walls. The ceviche is a must-order, as is the grilled fish. Make sure to try the Peruvian corn snack that every table receives upon being seated.
It may surprise you that Buenos Aires has really awful pizza. We’re not sure why, but it’s consistently proven to be a sub-par menu item in this hemisphere. Siamo nel Forno makes Neapolitan style pizza, and it’s actually great. Get to Palermo Hollywood and order one with confidence.