Food and wine
Eight warm and cozy restaurants in Buenos Aires
"All the cool places have moved to the neighbourhood of Las Cañitas," says Argentinian Mario Teran. Here are the restaurants and wine bars you must visit in Buenos Aires.
"For me, it's meat that counts when I'm going out to eat in Buenos Aires," Mario says with a laugh.
"But pasta, too. There are many good pasta restaurants here as a result of the immigration from Italy."
Born in the capital of Argentina, he grew up in the neighbourhood of Barrio Norte, not far from the city of Recoleta.
And it is precisely the words "beef", "ojo de bife" and "bife de chorizo" and "medallón de lomo" that most people associate with Buenos Aires. Argentines are proud of their steaks, and it is claimed that you will not find better meat anywhere else in the world. They have plenty to be proud of, too.
The entire Argentine culinary culture is focused on beef. From start to finish. The temperature in the country is perfect for growing nutritious grass. The cattle largely graze freely and often live a good and relaxed life, resulting in lean and flavourful meat.
Argentine steaks are also cut differently, based on the texture of the different parts of the cow. There is then a lot of love and attention throughout, from grazing to serving. Because when the meat is prepared, it is grilled with long experience and tradition, using a simple recipe. The steak is tender and juicy, and the fat flavour is perceptible. One would be hard put to find an Argentine steak ruined by too many spices and sauces.
Make a note of the Argentine word Parrilla, which means barbecue, but is also used to refer to steak restaurants.
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Warm and cozy restaurants in Buenos Aires
The cultural centre of Argentina is also constantly changing. Although the capital is characterised by inflation and economic crisis, it is also a city that merges cultural experiences, stunning scenery, exciting nightlife with well-maintained parks, football, tango, inspiring museums, and visitors from all over the world.
All this also affects which restaurants are able to stay open, and which districts are the most popular. Buenos Aires is divided into 48 districts. For many years, Palermo, San Telmo, and Recoleta have been sought after locations for foodies.
Mario believes that Las Cañitas is the hottest destination these days. He moved to Norway as an adult, and is now married and lives in Oslo, while his mother, sisters, and family still live in Buenos Aires. He therefore returns to visit at least once a year, and a big part of his trips home consist of enjoying Argentinian food.
"I should point out that it's now been over 20 years since I lived in Buenos Aires, but I'm home once or twice a year, so I still have an overview. All the cool places have now moved to Las Cañitas, where there are plenty of restaurants and bars - this is the place to be now. Palermo is still cool, but it's become very touristy.
Mario points out that he prefers to avoid the most touristy places, and who better to ask than an Argentine.... Where should I eat in Buenos Aires?
Here are eight warm and cozy restaurants in Buenos Aires:
Where: Posadas 1089
The aforementioned Las Cañitas is a small and fashionable neighbourhood that spans a few blocks within the Palermo district. Mario thinks you can go anywhere in Las Cañitas and find a restaurant that is warm and cosy. One of the places he recommends here is Piegari carnes, which offers an authentic culinary experience.
"They serve very good meat there. It is not a hip place, but a nice restaurant, and the place to go for a traditional meal," says Mario.
Where: Guatemala 4699
It's been many years since Don Julio was a well-kept secret. Today, it is a classic and famous steak place in Buenos Aires. We should point out that this is Picolo's recommendation, as Mario himself steers clear of eateries with tourists. However, the tourists spots are not necessarily bad:
The restaurant, located on a corner in the Palermo district, is often on the list of the best restaurants in Argentina. And we at Picolo understand why – we've never eaten better steak or sipped better Malbec, the juicy and rich red wine grape that is grown in the north of Argentina. The wine is perfect for heavy appetisers and red meat.
You will be greeted by cheerful and hospitable servers and a large and open barbecue in the middle of the room. The walls are lined with wine bottles, signed by guests who have chosen a special wine. (Yes, we also immortalised our greetings on a good red wine, of course). Don Julio is equally famous for its impressive wine cellar. This is definitely the place to go for a really good meat experience, lots of laughter and a thoroughly cozy restaurant experience.
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Where: Posadas 1053
"This is an Italian pasta restaurant, where you can eat fantastically good pasta," says Mario.
The restaurant was relaunched in May 2021, with a more sophisticated profile and a menu based on exquisite flavours and fresh seafood. The atmosphere is relaxed, and the goal is for you to visit the restaurant to have a cosy meal with friends or family.
And the pasta remains firmly in focus.
All the pasta is made in-house by the chefs, and the sauces are homemade from Italian tomatoes. The menu features the restaurant's famous gnocchi al gauchito, spaghetti with cherry tomato and sea bass, as well as tasty, classic lasagne.
Where: José A. Cabrera 5127
Like Don Julio, La Cabrera is no longer just a local secret. With good reviews on most travel websites, and on lists of the best restaurants in Latin America, visitors know that they get good food here.
Located in the Palermo district, you can share a good meal with people from all over the world. It is possible to hear both Swedish, French, and English from the adjacent tables. Nevertheless, this is a place where you are ensured a warm and inviting restaurant experiencewith a relaxed interior and friendly service.
This is the place to go for what most visitors are seeking ‑ a safe bet. Try its tastybife de chorizoand flan casero, a quintessential Argentine dessert.
Where: By. del Libertador 1902
One place you won't meet many tourists is at Croque Madame, between Palermo and Recoleta.
"The place is terrific, and not touristy," says Mario.
As you are no doubt aware, a croque madame is a luxurious cheese sandwich, made with ham and cheese and a béchamel and gruyere sauce, and served with a fried egg on top. In France, it is a national treasure and is served at a variety of bistros. Croque Madame is a chain of restaurants in Buenos Aires that stands out from other places due to its unique premises in historic buildings, museums and clubs.
This is a good place to go for brunch or dinner.
Where: Thames 878
Wine bars are becoming increasingly popular in Buenos Aires, something which is hardly surprising as Argentine red wine is famous around the world. In particular, the wine region of Mendoza and the Malbec grape are something you are sure to become much more familiar with in the capital.
Bar 878 is not far from the Croque Madame location mentioned above, so this is a neighbourhood where you can have two experiences. The bar is owned and run by sommelier Julián Diaz and his wife. When it first opened nearly two decades ago, Bar 878 was a "secret" speakeasy that focused on whiskey. You had to knock gently on the anonymous door and cross your fingers that the bouncer would let you in.
Those times are (thankfully) over. These days, you are served exclusively delicious cocktails, can choose Argentine wine from an extensive wine list and order delicious food from its simple menu. It is not without reason that Bar 878 consistently ends up on lists of the world's best bars.
Avenida 9 de Julio
If you know Buenos Aires, you know that Avenida 9 de Julio is the city's main street. In fact, the street has seven lanes in each direction, and is the world's widest avenue. The name honours Argentina's Independence Day, which is July 9,1816.
What people may not know is that this street also houses some good local restaurants. Under the motorway, where Avenida 9 de Julio intersects with Avenida del Libertador, you can eat both traditional Argentine meat and Italian cuisine.
"I always go to 9 de Julio, under the road. Here I prefer to eat assado de tira, which may not be the very best meat, but it is full of flavour. And, of course, bife de chorizo. With salt and pepper only, no sauce," specifies Mario.
Where: By. Callao 1402
When you've eaten enough dulce de leche and chocolate mousse for dessert, you may want to skip the final course at your restaurant and go for an ice cream instead. Buenos Aires is becoming increasingly famous for its ice cream, and an excellent spot to sample it is at Heladería Volta.
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