Lezama is a classic Argentinian parrilla restaurant, located on the lush green Parque Lezama, which was once the private garden of the wealthy Lezama family. It is easy to spot, right next to the Russian Orthodox Church, and is generally less full of tourists than many of the other establishments in San Telmo. It serves tasty traditionally barbecued steaks and other cuts in a classically Argentinian interior with high ceilings and wine bottles displayed on the walls. The staff are very friendly, and many have been employed there for over a decade, so they can certainly give some excellent recommendations.
A modern Basque restaurant, Sagardi offers a delicious range of Spanish tapas all exquisitely presented. The chef is from the Basque country, which makes the food totally authentic, and the interior is chic and stylish. The tapas menu changes throughout the year in order to keep in step with seasonal produce, but there is consistently a huge range of options including cheese, ham, fish, and vegetables, among many others. The restaurant is found just a block away from San Telmo’s central square, Plaza Dorrego, so is at an ideal central location for a day exploring the neighborhood.
Given Buenos Aires’ and especially San Telmo’s history of Italian immigration, it is no surprise to find exquisite Italian restaurants in the area. Amici Miei serves classic Italian dishes, such as pasta, gnocchi and risotto, which are all made to an extremely high standard. Visitors can watch the chefs making pasta from scratch in the kitchen through a glass window by the interior seating area, although the outside tables are also a perfect spot for people watching, thanks to the restaurant’s superb location on bustling Plaza Dorrego.
El Desnivel offers a traditional and atmopsheric parrilla dining experience. The restaurant is right on Calle Defensa, which on Sundays is jam-packed thanks to the market stalls and swathes of tourists, and the restaurant is pretty much always busy which makes for a great ambiance. It is a huge establishment, yet with excellent service, and the house wine is cheap but richly flavored and full-bodied. The interior is old-fashioned and authentic, with generous portions of great quality food. A convenient spot which deserves a visit during a trip to the San Telmo Sunday market.
For a typical Argentinian dining experience, La Brigada is the perfect spot. It is a traditional parrilla restaurant, where the waiters cut the tender steak with a knife at the table in front of the guests. The walls are adorned with Argentinian football memorabilia, and there is tango music playing in the background. While this all may seem a little gimmicky, it is popular with locals as well as tourists thanks to great quality fare.
For a change from steak, Comedor Nikkai is a Japanese restaurant run by the Japanese Association, and is a favorite with the local Japanese community. While many Japanese restaurants in the city serve typical, average sushi, Comedor Nikkai serves more classic Japanese cuisine. While sushi is of course on the menu, there are other options consisting of ramen, teriyaki and sashimi.
Brasserie Petanque is an enticing French restaurant, serving all the favorites such as garlic escargots, foie gras and steak tartare. The restaurant is perfect for a romantic meal, with plenty of tables for two with sultry dimmed lighting and chic table settings. While the food and ambiance might suggest high prices, this is not the case, and guests receive excellent value for their money. This restaurant is also a great option for breakfast or brunch.
For an unusual twist on Argentina’s meat-heavy diet, El Baqueano offers a menu of rare and native dishes. Run by a husband and wife team, the restaurant offers culinary delicacies such as cassava, hare, llama, and even alligator. All the food is offered in a degustation menu for a set price, so diners can get a taste of everything on offer. There is limited seating so they mostly require advance bookings, since walk-ins are unlikely to get a table. After all, it has recently been listed as one of the top 50 restaurants in Latin America.
One of the best places for fresh produce in the area, Caseros is a restaurant offering tasty, good quality dishes. The interior is light and airy, with crisp white tablecloths and artistically faded mint green detailing – much in contrast to the traditional steak restaurants around the neighborhood. Dishes include aubergine with goat’s cheese, warm salmon salad or coconut flan, although the menu is seasonal so changes regularly. A block away from Parque Lezama, the restaurant is quieter and less touristic than other spots – a lovely venue for a relaxing lunch away from the crowded center of San Telmo.
Antigua Tasca de Cuchilleros
For a fantastic parrilla in a stunning historic setting, Antigua Tasca is a highlight of San Telmo. The restaurant is set in a traditional colonial home from the 1730s, which was once lived in by members of Buenos Aires’ high society. Its features include white-washed adobe walls, terracotta roof tiles, and interior wooden beams. It even has its own escape tunnel that was installed in the early 19th century. The menu offers traditional dishes such as empanadas and classic parrilla items such as asado or bife de lomo. For a real taste of historic San Telmo, Antigua Tasca is a great choice.