Eating - Buenos Aires

The Buenos Aires Photo Album pages include some restaurant and food photos.

Buenos Aires has its unique food style - anything you want as long as it is some cut of beef, and grilled. Cut of beef may be a restrictive definition, you can get any body part of cow grilled! The range and taste is not as good as one might find in New York, Montreal, or Chicago, so prepare accordingly. There was a period between 2002 and 2007 when prices in US$ were quite good, but inflation is very high in Argentina and by 2008, the mid-range restaurants would range around US$15 to US$20 (not including wine) for lunch and higher for dinner. This type of food would be a minimum for good eating as far as tourists may be concerned. And just like Europe, no restaurant serves plain water for free so have to order water for around US$2-3 per bottle.

These external links are great guides to refer to:
Guía de Restaurantes de Buenos Aires which seems to be a popular local site, with many customer comments. Even if you don't understand Spanish, they have great summaries that rate the food, the service, and provide an indication of the cost of one meal (without drinks).
Asado Argentina » Beef has pictures, explanations of different cuts of meat. Given the amount of beef you might eat in Buenos Aires, this is a good site to read about what you may be eating!

Food: Yes, grilled food is only thing they eat here in Buenos Aires! Seriously, the beef at any parrilla is excellent, Bife de lomo or bife de chorizo were good at all price points - even at under US$15. They do have better beef down in Argenttina, grass-fed cattle make better beef than US grain-fed cattle! French Fries are common side dish, but if you need ketchup, must ask for it, it is not normally served here.

Pippo is a local neighbourhood eatery, very popular with the locals. It has been in business for over 70 years, and serves the standard stuff - beef, pasta, fish, wine, beer, and dessert. It is priced lower than the standard tourist-book recommendations, and it is worth visiting to get a flavor of where the locals eat, and hang out in midst of a large noisy, porteño crowd. In the Microcentro: Montevideo 341 (Corrientes cross street), and one or two other locations.

Designer Food: One barrio is famous for designer fashion, and also designer food! Some details at Eating - Palermo Viejo page at this web site.

Spicy food: if you crave any , you are out of luck, no good choices. For general information, do a web search, lots of web sites offer tips on restaurants. For some level of spiciness, you can try the Belgrano Chinatown restaurants, or one of the two or three (only!) Indian Restaurants - such as Mumbai which is in the Microcentro at Paraguay 436, around US$10-15 per person for food. Lunch time at Mumbai - as well as most expensive restaurants - you can get a fixed price meal, which invariably is a good deal and a good way to taste a variety of food. [Mumbai has now closed, it may have moved from Microcentro to Palermo in 2008.]
There is also supposed to be a good middle-eastern restaurant, Sarkis, with two locations, one is at Thames 1101. It was extremely crowded with long waits on a Saturday night. Food was ok, but don't go there expecting spicy food, it was quite bland.

Pizzeria Güerrín is another place worth visiting in the Microcentro at Corrientes 1368, just a block or two from the Obelisk - for less than 2US$, get a fantastic cheese slice, and try the fugazza which is a tomato-less, cheese-less pizza covered with sweet lightly browned onions. Or the fugazetta which adds cheese. To eat like the locals, top your slice with fainá (a thin doughy, chickpea-based slice). This is unique pizza - can't compare to the US, like comparing apples and oranges, the pizza in Buenos Aires is totally different. This place has been open since the 1800s, and is always very crowded, lunch hour is packed with people standing and eating at counters at the front of the restaurant, but you can also get a table and sit down at this restaurant, and their menu includes a lot of other dishes. This is not New York thin crust, closer to Chicago thick crust pizza. Charcoal-grilled pizza is also available at some places and it has thinner crust.

Galerías Pacífico - Parrilla And in the end, must visit the mall - Galerías Pacífico. A mall that could pass for an art center. It has a large dome, with painted murals on the ceilings. This web site has more details. But more importantly - there is a large choice of excellent eating at the food court at the bottom floor of this mall. Eat at the parrilla, or have a lomito sandwich (steak, with an optional fried egg along with lettuce and tomato), or have excellent helado, or chocolate, or Japanese food, or pasta. So, in one place, you get to pick from many good choices and see what you are ordering. The Postavecchia parrilla serves lomo or chorizo grilled beef or achuras (blood sausage, kidneys, small intestines, etc - all grilled) if you so wish - stick to beef, it is very good if achuras are scary! The achuras come in a portion for two, plate comes over a small pot with embers continuing to grill the food at your table.

Mate is the most popular drink in Argentina that everyone drinks a lot, but is not available at restaurants! Yerba mate raw material is available in every grocery store or local convenience store though. Another popular local item is dulce de leche - sweetened caramelized milk. This brown spread is everywhere - in cookies, in ice-cream, applied on toast, and even eaten right out the jar.

If there is a single neighbourhood to visit, and you are looking for good, modern food, along with all the standard Argentinian grilled meats, then trendy Palermo is certainly the ticket. It is huge barrio, so start at Palermo Viejo, it has plenty of restaurants to choose from, and then proceed to explore other parts, as time permits.

[Note that all prices are as of 2008, and inflation is very high in Argentina.]


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