Located in the north-west of Argentina, close to the Bolivian border, Salta attracts a growing number of tourists and backpackers. This lively city, surrounded by beautiful mountains, is full of rich colonial architecture, and offers a variety of dining options. Salta is also the center of a major Argentinian wine-growing region, so expect fantastic wines to accompany your meals. Take a look at our guide to the top places to eat in Salta.
Bakery, Restaurant, South American, Argentina, $$$
Salta Cathedral | Ⓒ Jimmy Baikovicius/Flickr
Located just off Plaza 9 de Julio (Salta’s main square), this is a great spot to try some regional cuisine. The restaurant offers a rustic interior, and the menu includes some more unusual options, such as rabbit and goat, as well as a classic steak. There are also several vegetarian options, like cheese or vegetable empanadas, a feature which is rare to find in the region. With the waiters dressed as gauchos it may be a little touristy for some, but nonetheless a good way to experience the local culture.
Typical humitas from Argentina | Ⓒ Marcos Katz/WikiCommons
Although not exactly a restaurant, this market offers cheap eating options, such as typical Argentinian empanadas and pizza, plus fruit and vegetables. Located a few blocks south of Plaza 9 de Julio, there is a typical market place on the lower floor, and upstairs numerous restaurants and food stands can be found. Not only is the market a fantastic option for dining out, but it is also a great place to experience the local hustle and bustle of the city, and do some souvenir shopping.
Restaurant, Steakhouse, South American, Argentina, $$$
Church of St Francis | Ⓒ Alexrebolledo/WikiCommons
Found between Plaza 9 de Julio and the popular tourist attraction, the beautifully ornate Church of St Francis, lies El Solar del Convento. Specialities include steak, as well as a range of fish dishes, and the menu also boasts a good wine list. Large portions, good service, an attractive and light interior, plus the opportunity to eat outside and take in the surroundings, make this restaurant a popular choice for tourists as well as locals. For an added bonus, sparkling wine is served on arrival.
José Balcarce offers traditional regional dishes, many of which date from pre-Colombian times. However, the food is given a creative and modern twist, with dishes such as llama carpaccio and quinoa risotto. It is located in an old building that has been recently renovated to a high standard, with beautiful exposed stone walls, high ceilings and chic table settings. Although one of the more expensive places in town, the food is of high quality, and provides rare alternatives to steak (although of course steak is also available). Necochea 590, Salta, Argentina, +54 387 421 1628
Although the usual meat dishes are available, El Charrua also boasts a good fish menu for those who feel like something a bit different. Located near Plaza 9 de Julio, the interior is simple but cosy, and it doesn’t feel too touristy. The wine menu offers local options from the Salta area, as well as from Mendoza, another one of Argentina’s fantastic wine regions. Their own wine cellar also ensures the wine is at a perfect temperature for the customers to enjoy. Caseros 221, Salta, Argentina, +54 387 432 1859
Restaurant, Argentina, $$$
Traditional gaucho costume | Ⓒ Hervé Gestas/WikiCommons
For a taste of a typical Argentinian parrilla (barbecue), La Monumental offers huge portions of many different cuts of meat, most notably beef, but also chicken, sausage and pork, and of course other elements of a typical parrilla, including kidneys and sweetbreads. Don’t be put off by the abundance of meat however, as vegetarians are also catered for with a range of pastas and salads, and the menu also boasts a larger range of dessert options than most. The restaurant also has a quirky architectural feature, with its medieval-style castle wall facing the outside dining area.
Italian restaurant La Cefira offers delicious homemade pastas, among other dishes, in a stylish and modern interior. The prices are slightly higher than the average in Salta, but the quality of food, service and atmosphere makes it worth paying the little extra. The ravioli is hugely popular, but there are plenty of other options, from simple gnocchi to rainbow trout. They even have a smaller room with only a few tables, set aside especially for romantic dinners.
This is a parrilla restaurant, but one which is slightly further away from the tourist traps, and consequently popular with locals; perfect for anyone looking for a more authentic and relaxed setting away from busy crowds. As usual the portions are huge, so sharing is recommended, especially with bread and other appetisers provided free. The service is friendly, and waiters will be happy to recommend something from the excellent wine list. The prices aren’t low enough to be classed as ‘budget’, but given the portion size and quality it is certainly value for money.
Church opposite Hacienda de Molinos | Ⓒ Jimmy Baikovicius/Flickr
Located outside the city, in a small village, this hotel restaurant is a welcome break after a long day touring. Set in a beautiful Spanish-style villa, with white-washed walls and a terracotta roof, visitors can eat in the shady courtyard and take in the peaceful surroundings while enjoying some regional dishes. For history lovers, the house was the residence of the last colonial governor of Salta, and opposite there is a beautiful church to look around.
Slightly further away from the central tourist area around Plaza 9 de Julio, this parrilla restaurant offers an all-you-can-eat option, which makes it worth walking the extra couple of blocks. While quantity can often mean a sacrifice in quality, this restaurant is an exception, and prides itself on the quality of its meats. The interior is clean and modern with good service, and the food is served on wooden boards to help diners to share food around the table.