Monday, November 28, 2011

Argentina: Eating & Drinking

Seeing as a number of people have asked me for Argentina recommendations recently, I thought I would cut and paste my long list here for future reference. I'll be looking to add more detail over the next few days, but, if you have any questions, feel free to comment or e-mail.

Buenos Aires

  • Don Julio - Guatemala 4691 y Gurruchaga - Palermo Viejo - I have been to Don Julio twice now and this is the place I'd recommend if you don't have too many days in Buenos Aires. Service is impeccable and the food you get there (chorizo and tomato starter and bife de chorizo or entrana as a main with many, many side dishes) is awesome. Sure, the portions may not be as big as other places, and this is definitely more touristy than the other restaurants on the list, but it's internally renowned for a reason! There're two outlets, with the newer one just being a couple of blocks down.
  • La Cabrera - Cabrera 5127/5099 y Thames - Palermo Viejo - A friend went to this one and I think he preferred Don Julio but the toss-up between the two top steak houses tends to be between La Cabrera and Don Julio.
  • La Fabrica del Taco - Gorritti 5062, entre Thames y Serrano - Palermo Viejo - Yes, this is a taco joint, but it's a good budget place when you just need a snack. Try the Tacos al Pastor (marinated pork) or Volcan (meat, cheese and guacamole). The decor is great and there's a place at the back where you can have drinks.
  • Tegui - Costa Rica 6000 y Arevalo - Palermo Viejo - I have not eaten here just yet, but this is a hidden restaurant  serving modern Argentinian food and is full of street art. I wish I could have gone to it but only got to know of it the last day of my first trip and was on a budget for the second trip.
  • Nucha - Armenia 1540, entre Honduras y Gorriti - Amazing cakes.
  • Oui Oui - Nicaragua 6068, entre Arevalo y Dorrego - I went a little crazy the second time I went to Buenos Aires because I was sick of dulce de leche for breakfast. Oui Oui is a French-style cafe (duh) which was very pretty and had very good breakfast.
  • Post St Bar - Thames 1885, y Nicaragua - Hole-in-the-wall bar that is filled with street art. There's a gallery (Hollywood in Cambodia) upstairs. Well worth going to even if you just want to take photos.
  • Cafe Rio - Honduras 4772 - Nice coffee place... except I came here for drinks. If I recall correctly, there seems to be a tiny forest inside the bar. Nice happy hour drinks. My friend and I shared a JagerJar (a jug of some drink mixed with jagermeister). Good times.

Villa Crespo
  • La Cocina Discreta - address provided when you reserve - - This is a puerto cerrada (closed door) restaurant. It's one of the hidden supperclubs that Buenos Aires has become incredibly famous for. This is the one I went to, and I'd recommend it because the people who ran the place have backgrounds in F&B and the wine was very good. 
  • Sarkis - Thames 1101, entre Jufre y Lerma - This is a Middle Eastern restaurant and tends to be very crowded every night. Recommended as this is one of the places I went to during my second visit to get a takeaway dinner when I couldn't face the thought of eating in a restaurant by myself.
  • 878 - Thames 878, entre Loyola y Aguirre - Hidden bar (kind of). The door's unmarked. Just ring the bell to be let in. Was featured in the Guardian. Despite my staying in Villa Crespo the second time I was in the city, I never managed to make it there (primarily because of tango).

San Telmo
  • La Brigada - Estados Unidos 465, entre Bolivar y Defensa - San Telmo - This is one of the most famous parillas in Buenos Aires. It's also very local and does mollejas (sweetbreads) very well.
  • Manolo - Bolivar 1299 y Cochabamba - San Telmo - I went to Manolo for my first steak in Argentina. Not because this was particularly famous, but because it was nearby and, face it, I'm not a huge meat eater. This place is very local but the service was very good. The waiter sat me somewhere where I would feel comfortable (I was alone) and he came by every so often to check I was all right. The steak and fries were huge.
  • La Vineria de Gualterio Bolivar - Bolivar 865, entre Independecia y Estados Undios - San Telmo - This is one of the more expensive restaurants in Buenos Aires and should probably only be visited if you have three hours or more to spare. The restaurant's part of the molecular gastronomy movement and offers a tasting menu of 16 courses. I was told this is *the* restaurant to go to if you have time to spare, but, alas, I did not.
  • El Federal - Carlos Calvo 599, y Peru - San Telmo - El Federal is a barre (?) notable (a bar recognised to be of historical significance). It's worth going in just to see what it's like. Try a picada (sp?) which is a plate of meats. It can be quite substantial.
  • Matilda's - Chile 673, entre Chacabuco y Peru - An American-style cafe done up in quaint Buenos Aires fashion. Worth going to if you're in need of western-style muffins and bagels. Serves up decent coffee (for Argentina).
  • Bar Sur - Estados Unidos 299, y Balcarce - Another historically significant bar and featured in Wong Kar Wai's Happy Together. Also has tango shows.

Recoleta & Barrio Norte
  • El Cuartito -Tacahuano 937 y Marcelo T de Alvear - Barrio Norte - One of the oldest pizzerias in Buenos Aires. Argentina isn't just famous for steaks, it's also great for pizza. Try a fuggazeta. I loved it.
  • Florencio - Francisco de Vittoria 2363, entre Guido y Agote - Recoleta - Located near-ish the Recoleta cemetary, this cafe tends to be less crowded and is a great place for tea. Cakes are awesome.
  • Milion - Parana 1048, entre Marcelo T de Alvear y Santa Fe - Recoleta - Milion is a beautiful bar with an outdoor seating area in the garden. Dinner is served upstairs. Feels quite posh.
  • Ateneo Grand Splendid - Avenida Santa Fe 1860 - The most beautiful bookshop you will ever have the good fortune to visit. This should be an opera house or a performing space.

Microcentro / The Centre
  • Cafe Tortoni - Avenida de Mayo 829, entre Esmeralda y Suipacha - Centre - Not recommended for eating as such, but it's the most famous cafe in Buenos Aires and simply must be visited. This is where all the famous writers used to spend their time. There're also tango shows here, and are probably better than the more touristy and remote ones offered by your hotel.


I know it's unlikely you'll find yourself in Boedo as it's in the suburbs and isn't exactly on the tourist maps, but this may be one of my favourite barrios in the city. Yes, I went to this area quite often as my tango teacher taught here, but this place is not only historical - there are plenty of barres notables here - it's kind of pretty too.
  • Cafe Margot - Pasaje San Isidoro y Avenida Boedo - Birthplace of the turkey sandwich (in Argentina). Very pretty (to me) as well. Famous and a must-visit for tango pilgrims.
  • Pan y Arte - Avenida Boedo 878, entre Estados Unidos y Carlos Calvo - serves up food from other parts of Argentina. This place is meant to be very good, and I wish I had had a chance to eat an afternoon meal there.


Salta had some of the best empanadas I have ever eaten. 
  • Patio de la Empanada - Corner of San Martin and Islas Malvinas - This is essentially an open-air foodcourt where taxi drivers come to pick up empanadas. Avoid the chicken empanadas. The rest are fantastic.
  • Dona Salta - Cordoba 46; across from the Iglesia San Francisco - According to my B&B, this place serves the best empanadas in Salta.
  • La Lenita - Balcarce 802 - Probably the best steak you'll find in Salta. May not compare to the best you'll find in Buenos Aires, but I did like this place nevertheless. The waiters were very nice and friendly and it was a good spot to people-watch. I'm told there's music in the evenings.

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