La Boca is widely known for two things. One: the brightly-hued houses along the Caminito
, a pedestrian alley full of tango
dancers and souvenir shops. And two: la Bombonera
, the home stadium of legendary fútbol
team Boca Juniors. Beyond the touristy facade, though, La Boca is home to several notable restaurants, from fine dining to ‘hole-in-the-wall’ spots reflecting the neighborhood’s working-class heritage. A brief note on safety: take a taxi to La Boca and back, particularly at night, and keep an eye on wallets and valuables.
Restaurant, Steakhouse, $$$
Though this parrilla, or steakhouse, may have had humble beginnings when it first opened its doors in 1954, it is now one of the most celebrated restaurants in the city. Even Bono has eaten here, and there’s a photo on the wall to prove it. Order from the parrilla menu, written on a chalkboard, or go for a Spanish omelette or a bowl of house-made soup. The often-long wait for a table is worth it.
Address & telephone number: El Obrero, Agustín R. Caffarena 64, La Boca, Buenos Aires, Argentina, +54 4362-9912
Many residents of La Boca are of Genoan descent, and this is evident in the fare at Il Matterello, an Italian cantina serving up delicious renditions of Italian classics from ravioli to tiramisu. It’s a favorite with locals, and although tourists to the neighborhood have started to discover it as well, the prices remain reasonable.
Address & telephone number: Il Matterello, Martín Rodriguez 517, Buenos Aires, Argentina, +54 4307-0529
El Rincon Salteño
Hit up this casual, locals-only spot for a laid-back atmosphere and unbeatable prices. Grab a choripán, or Argentina’s answer to a hot dog, loaded with chimichurri sauce. El Rincon Salteño’s low-key sense of hospitality is enough to make any tourist feel like a local.
Address & telephone number: El Rincon Salteño, Av. Martín Garcia 302, Buenos Aires, Argentina, +54 4307-6136
Considering its location, right on the corner of el Caminito, and the omnipresent tango music and dancers performing in the restaurant, La Barrica has surprisingly reasonable prices— and the food is good. If the weather is nice, there is no better way to while away an afternoon than relaxing in the outdoor seating area with a glass of Malbec, watching some live tango dancing.
Address & telephone number: La Barrica Restaurant and Bistrot, Magallanes 845, Buenos Aires, Argentina, +54 1301-9197
If you stray a bit off the beaten tourist track in La Boca— using caution, of course— you’ll be rewarded with the most authentic dining experience the neighborhood has to offer. Settle down at a table with a checkered tablecloth at Nonno Bachicha, and peruse the menu of mouthwatering pasta dishes, many of which are vegetarian, as well as an assortment of seafood including eel, octopus, and squid. Bring cash and a big appetite.
Address & telephone number: Nonno Bachicha, W. Villafane 396, Buenos Aires, Argentina, +54 4361-1816
This café-restaurant near the stadium is full of interesting artefacts: a signed poster of Argentinian fútbol legend Diego Maradona, historic photos of the neighborhood, a mural of the old waterfront, and more, and the food is equally special. Pop in on a game day and order the churros with hot chocolate to snack on as you join in with the locals to watch the match on the café’s TV. You’re basically a porteño now.
Address & telephone number: La Chirilísima, Olavarria 695, Buenos Aires, Argentina, +54 4302-7843
Heaped plates of homemade pasta, cheap beer, and outdoor seating— what could be better? El Rinconcito’s small size (only eight indoor tables) makes it a friendly, cozy place. When it gets crowded at lunchtime, it’s the perfect spot for people-watching.
Address & telephone number: El Rinconcito, Del Valle Iberlucea 1166, Buenos Aires, Argentina, +54 4302-6642
This family-owned pizzeria claims the title of having invented the fugazza con queso, a delicious marriage of focaccia-esque bread and mozzarella. Boasting seating for 500, Banchero attracts diners from all over the city and beyond. Try some of their renowned pizza with any number of tasty toppings, or check out the specials.
Address & telephone number: Banchero, Suarez 396, Buenos Aires, Argentina, +54 4301-1406
Located in a converted warehouse in the heart of La Boca, step inside Che Tango and be surprised by what you find. If you’re willing to splash some cash, you can watch professional tango dancing accompanied by a full tango orchestra as you enjoy a lavish three course meal. From steaks to vegetarian options, there is something on the menu for everyone— and for an extra sum, you can pay for the VIP option, which consists of more varied menu choices, the best seats in the house, and champagne.
Price: Fine dining
Address & telephone number: Che Tango, Pinzon 60, Buenos Aires, Argentina, +54 4361-4526