Argentina is famous for its beef and for its wine and there are plenty of places in London that serve up an authentic taste of the country. Here are our favourites.
Restaurant, Wine Bar, Dessert Shop, Market, Argentina, $$$
This small and simple restaurant located on Broadway Market knows how to deliver big flavour. Run by chef John Rattagan, who was raised in Buenos Aires, Buen Ayre celebrates the asado, with everything from asparagus to fillet steak getting the grill treatment. Meat forms the backbone of the menu, with plenty of steaks, sweetbreads and sausages plus a range of parrilladas if you can’t choose which cuts you want. That other Argentine favourite, dulce de leche, is prominent on the dessert menu, and of course there are lots of Argentine bottles on the wine list too.
Modelled after a country-style kitchen with exposed brick walls and dark wood, Casa Malevo offers a rustic take on Argentine food. The cookery is of the highest quality though, from the sweetcorn and pumpkin empanadas to the homemade chorizo burger to the bife ancho, as is the wine list, with many available by the carafe as well as the bottle.
Steaks are at the centre of this Battersea restaurant – though there are a handful of fish and vegetarian dishes on the menu as well as empanadas and sweetbreads, that’s where you should focus your attention. The steaks are excellent and you’ve got a range of sauces, from garlic butter to criolla salsa to pump up the flavour even more. Naturally the wine list at Santa Maria Del Sur is Argentinian with most of the bottles coming from Mendoza.
Constancia is a relaxed, family-run restaurant serving up a short menu of Argentine classics. The empanadas here are particularly good and in addition to the different cuts of steak, they also cook New Zealand lamb chops and Iberico pork on their impressive charcoal grill. You’ll also have no problem finding a hearty red to pair with your meat.
So named because one of the owners’ grandfather was one of the first writers to explore the Patagonian wilderness in the 1920s, La Patagonia brings a traditional barrio restaurant to Camden. Meat cooked on the charcoal grill dominates the menu but there are also milanesas (breaded escalopes) and fresh pastas that are well worth a look. Many of the wines come from Mendoza but their list also includes bottles from the Neuquen region. Time your visit to La Patagonia to coincide with one of their monthly tango nights for a true taste of Argentine culture.
With restaurants also on Brick Lane and in Pimlico, Moo Cantina has evolved into a mini-chain that serves crowdpleasing food in fun surrounds. As well as steaks and milanesas, they also specialises in lomtios, Argentine gourmet sandwiches like choripan (chorizo, roasted peppers, rocket and chimichurri), potro (steak, ham cheese, egg and tomato) and porteno (ribeye steak, roasted peppers, rocket and provolone). You can these to takeaway too if you need a meal on the move.
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Zoilo proudly celebrates all regions of Argentina through its seasonal and regularly changing menu, where unlike most other Argentine restaurants in the capital, the focus isn’t just on steak. Beef is there but it’s joined by a diverse range of plates like pork belly with peaches and hispi cabbage and grilled mackerel with samphire and fennel. The best seats in the house are directly in front of the open kitchen where you can see the chefs at work, so do try and nab a place here if you can.
There are no prizes for guessing what this Holborn restaurant does best – yes it’s all about that famous Argentine beef at The Bull Steak Expert. It’s all there, from T-bone to sirloin to fillet, and if you want your meal extra meaty they do a generous mixed parrillada, with chorizo, morcilla, chicken, lamb and beef as well as sides.