Parrillas, or Argentinian steakhouses, are plentiful in Buenos Aires. The hallmarks are fairly standard: an old-fashioned ambiance, free flowing Malbec, attentive waiters and – of course – a vast selection of meats cooked on an asador, or grill. What sets Don Julio apart from all the rest and keeps both locals and tourists flocking to it? Well, quite simply, when it comes to parrilla and those juicy Argentinian steaks, the good folks at Don Julio are artists to say the least.
With the economic downturn came an abundance of puertas cerradas, or ‘closed door’ restaurants, open by reservation only and usually hosted in chefs’ own homes. In this case, Paladar Buenos Aires is the home of a couple named Ivana and Pablo, a sommelier and a chef respectively. Book a reservation in advance and get excited to enjoy unique iterations of Argentinian classics. A highlight is the dessert of quince in syrup topped with a goat’s cheese ice cream.
Located in the heart of the stately neighbourhood of Recoleta, just minutes from the cemetery which is famously Eva Perón’s resting place, Roux takes the trend of small plate dining and applies it to Argentinian cuisine. Try funky choices like the langoustines with grilled melon, bok choy, and almond salsa, or stick to the classics, which are still presented with a twist: osobuco ravioli, for instance, or basmati rice seasoned with chimichurri.
Roux, Peña 2300, Recoleta, Buenos Aires, Argentina, +54 4805-6794
This inviting and creative kitchen is a relative newcomer to the city’s food scene but boy is it making some waves. Astor’s seasonally variable options consist of exciting takes on traditional foods, and diners have the opportunity to sample a fixed price meal of three dishes, five dishes or the entire menu. Start off with a yerba mate-infused aperitivo, and then feast the night away to your heart’s content.
If you’re hungry after wandering the stalls of the San Telmo market, head to Bar El Federal. Housed in a historic building which has at various points been a grocery store, a bar, a warehouse and even a brothel, El Federal is now a hip café, sandwich shop and sit-down restaurant. The restaurant fare is as colorful as the history: steak, pasta, milanesas, seafood, and an extensive list of salads. When it comes to the beverage menu, the choice is simple: fernet con coca, Argentina’s national drink, is the way to go.
Another exemplary pizzeria, Güerrin has been around since 1932, when it was founded by Genovese immigrants to the city. The sheer scope of the pizzeria’s menu is remarkable; there is certainly a topping combination for everyone. What makes this pizzeria truly shine, however, is its fugazza, an Argentinian take on focaccia generally topped with herbs and onions. The one here comes loaded with ham and cheese, or slathered in mouthwatering mozzarella.
Serving up elegant Argentinian food in an equally atmospheric setting, La Cabrera is the restaurant of choice for anyone who knows their steak – the filet mignon is legendary. Vegetarians are not to worry, though, because an array of complimentary side dishes arrive on the table as well: breads, pickled vegetables, mashed potato, salads and more. Watching the wallet? Stop by during happy hour for a discounted meal.