Recoleta, in the northern part of central Buenos Aires is home to the super-wealthy and a number of international embassies. To match, there are plenty of expensive boutique shops, neat landscaped parks, classy cafés and exclusive restaurants. Here’s out list of the best places to eat in this stylish neighborhood.
Located in the heart of Recoleta, Duhau Restaurant offers high-class Argentinian cuisine. The restaurant is part of the chic Park Hyatt Hotel complex, but is open to members of the public. There is a surprisingly cozy inside seating area, with low vaulted ceilings and elegant table settings, as well as outdoor terrace surrounded by a neat, lush green garden with beautiful fountains.
Casa SaltShaker is a closed-door restaurant held in the home of foodie Recoleta residents. Guests share a table with unknown fellow diners, and without knowing the menu beforehand. The host writes a Buenos Aires food blog, so is certainly in the know, and the food makes the most of fresh and locally sourced produce. The food is usually South American or Mediterranean and is finely presented; the evening consists of a five-course menu with drinks included. You must book ahead through the website though.
Parrilla Peña is a basic but well-known restaurant, thanks in the main to its mouthwatering steaks. The setting is old-fashioned and quintessentially Argentinian, with an all-male wait staff wearing crisp white shirts and bow-ties, and old-fashioned good quality service to match. The menu is simple (mostly steak) but all the food is cooked perfectly, with a tasty range of side orders or appetizers to complement the meal. There is also a lovely wine list, which the waiters are more than happy to give recommendations from.
Cumaná is a friendly restaurant offering the staples of Argentinian cuisine; pizzas, empanadas, and of course steak. However, there are a few more traditional options available that many tourist traps don’t bother offering too. These include locro (a beef stew) and humitas (a corn-based snack). The food is served on rustic wooden boards, with the meat stews almost overflowing out of traditional ceramic hot-pots.
Housed inside Buenos Aires’ Architecture Society building is Restó, a small and unpretentious restaurant serving surprisingly upmarket dishes, without the upmarket price tag to match. With complementary sparkling wine on arrival, the restaurant offers a menu of enticing dishes such as roasted quail, goat’s cheese tart or grilled fresh fish. There is also a good wine list with an in-house sommelier for recommendations.
Fervor has a good selection of both steak and seafood; most restaurants in the city can only excel at one or the other. The menu offers an extensive range of different cuts of meat, as well as seafood, including prawns, octopus, or sole. The interior is designed in the style of an old-fashioned Buenos Aires bar, but with a sophisticated twist, dark woods, leather sofas, and high ceilings with hanging lamps. It is not often discovered by tourists so the clientèle is mostly local, giving it a reliable seal of approval.
Located inside one of Recoleta’s exclusive hotels, La Bourgogne is a classy establishment offering the finest French cuisine. Presentation is of the highest quality, and the portions are the ideal size to leave the guest perfectly satisfied. The interior of the restaurant is minimalist, with a small number of well-spaced tables, which make the restaurant full without being loud and busy.
El Sanjuanino is a lovely budget option for classic Argentinian fare. The highlight of the menu is their homemade empanadas in delicious flavors such as spicy beef or Roquefort, but tasty traditional snacks such as humitas, tamales or locro, a meat stew are on offer too. The interior is typically Argentinian, with a ground floor and also basement dining area to sit in.
Oviedo is a Spanish restaurant offering fantastic seafood dishes as well as several meat options. The menu has a number of recognizably Spanish offerings, such as Serrano ham or Spanish omelette, and a large selection of fish too. The interior is small but atmospheric, with comfortable booth seating. There is, of course, steak on the menu, but for those seeking something a little different, Oviedo is a great choice.
Inside the Four Seasons Hotel, Elena is a surprisingly unpretentious and atmospheric restaurant. The restaurant is set in a beautiful double-height room with a glass ceiling, and characterful features such as a black and white tiled floor and wrought iron columns. The food is top-notch, with dishes such as grilled sweetbreads, roasted baby goat and of course the finest cuts of steak. It is not cheap but the price is fully justified given the quality and presentation of food.