Buenos Aires has been known to captivate many a visitor, providing such ample entertainment that many find themselves stripped of the will to leave.
A large portion of the Argentina’s capital’s ability to charm comes down to its outstanding cuisine – here are some of its best eateries:
1. Café Dorrego
Crusty, flaky. The men at Cafe Dorrego wouldn’t want to be called that, but their croissants would. On the corner of Plaza Dorrego in the heart of San Telmo, this traditional cafe is full of character and old men sipping espressos – like them, you’ll appreciate the typical Argentine pick-me-up: coffee and medialunas (“half moons” or croissants).
Peanut shells litter the harlequin floor tiles, old gin bottles line the walls and well-worn tables are scarred with the signatures of bygone guests. Best for people-watching on Sundays when the square springs to life with the hustle of 200 antiques stalls.
2. La Cabrera
A rare moment of repose at bustling La Cabrera. So well known is La Cabrera for its “steak so tender you can cut it with a spoon” that even with a reservation you have to stand in line before being rewarded with a table.
Once inside, waiters in crisp white shirts and berets (known as “boinas”) deliver enormous slabs of grilled meat on wooden boards.
For the Argentine steakhouse experience par excellence, nothing beats the Bife de Chorizo accompanied by a bottle of Malbec. Hard-core eaters can take on the Volcan de Chocolate for dessert.
3. Astrid & Gastón
Colonial romance. And Peruvian excellence. The global spread of Peruvian food is echoed in the growth of Astrid & Gaston – first opened in Lima in 1994, it has now spread to Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Spain, Mexico and Argentina.
In a colonial townhouse, the red and gold paneling makes for a romantic setting. The full experience includes pisco sours followed by the seven-course tasting menu, which ranges from Peruvian classics like ceviche and cuy (guinea pig), to seafood, soup, beef and, lastly, baked apple topped with dulce de leche.
4. Casa Saltshaker
Duck breast with smoked eggplant puree and mango chutney at Casa Saltshaker. Reading the menu is a treat in itself. Puerta cerrada (“closed door”) restaurants are a hit in Buenos Aires. At Casa Saltshaker the concept is simple: guests book online and turn up at chef Dan Perlman’s house for a five-course meal en famille.
The food is often inspired by global events – for example, a hint of Asia on Chinese New Year. Dan’s motto is “Food and Conversation,” making this a good option if you’re traveling alone or fancy meeting new people.
5. Casa Coupage
Casa Coupage is another underground restaurant, but here the focus is wine tasting. There are separate dining tables, so it’s more like being in a restaurant than someone’s house. Two sommeliers take center court guiding guests through the pairing of Argentine wines and food — this is a good option for wine lovers.
6. Faena Hotel
Philippe Stark’s renovation of a red brick 1900s grain store into Faena Hotel includes no fewer than six restaurants and bars.
There’s the all-white El Bistro with its macrobiotic menu (grains, vegetables, fish); El Mercado with its brick patio and traditional Argentine fare (steak and chips); and the seductive El Cabaret, where dinner is a warmup for the Rojo Tango show.
7. Elena, Four Seasons
Sundays at the Four Seasons are known as best of the bunch for brunch, and the experience at Elena – the hotel’s brand new restaurant – lives up to its reputation.
It’s hard to imagine more meat, cheese, pasta, sushi, pancakes, chocolate, sweeties and ice cream gracing one buffet – it’s like combining Whole Foods with Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. And it’s not just for tourists. Sunday Brunch here is something of a right of passage for well-heeled Porteños.
8. The Argentine Experience
Looking for an introduction to the thriving Buenos Aires food scene? Look no further.
At The Argentine Experience, the patrons learn how to make their own empanadas and how to order the best steaks – pretty important: they serve some stunning steaks here! Several TripAdvisor punters call the restaurant a highlight of their trip to Buenos Aires. What more are you looking for?
9. El Obrero
El Obrero is the real deal: a traditional Argentinian bodegon showcasing traditional local ingredients and delicious dishes.
Watch our for the decor: pictures of famous visitors (U2’s Bono and Francis Ford Coppola, to name just two) past and present adorn the walls. What’s the appeal? The beef (fairly cheap and always scrumptious) and the atmosphere.
10. i Latina
Fine-dining, Buenos Aires style at i Latina, which is also a good option for veggies. Fantastic wines complement brilliant flavors, not to mention the A+ presentation.
Editor’s note: This article was previously published in 2012. It was reformatted, updated and republished in 2017.