While Argentina‘s cuisine is mostly associated with meat and empanadas, there is also a wealth of restaurants from all corners of the world to be found in Buenos Aires. A favourite among locals is Middle Eastern food, owing to the large Armenian population in the country. Here’s our pick of the best.
Sarkis has barely any competition for the crown of Middle Eastern cuisine in the capital, and this huge cantina-style restaurant in Villa Crespo is packed to the brim almost every night. Queues form early, and names are taken on a waiting list, so keep your ears out to hear your name called. It is best to go hungry with a group of friends and share the plates that come out thick and fast, then roll yourself home with a full belly after a delicious feed.
Thames 1101, Buenos Aires, Argentina, +54 11 4772 4911
Hola! Siniór Shawarma
Hola! Siniór Shawarma has been doling out mouthwatering kebabs and shawarma for quite some time now, and is a staple on the nighttime food circuit, owing largely to its location in the thick of Palermo Soho’s bar and nightclub strip. They also deliver, but their wares are best sampled after a few beers, putting that midnight hunger firmly to bed. The size of their wraps has shrunk in recent years, as is the case with much of the food portions in Argentina to combat rising inflation, but what they lack in size, they make up for in flavour.
Honduras 5328, Buenos Aires, Argentina, +54 11 4833 5400
New kid on the block Al Arabe has been garnering rave reviews from Argentina’s favourite food blogger, Pick Up The Fork. Recently opened and catering to a Palermo Soho audience in search of an alternative to Hola! Siniór Shawarma’s well-worn wrap, Al Arabe comes in hot with freshly prepared shawarma, hummus, baba ganoush and taboulleh. Eat in at one of the few tables, but better to take away and scoff your shawarma in a few bites on the walk home, as you won’t be able to resist.
El Salvador 4999, Buenos Aires, Argentina, +54 11 4833 0219
This Las Canitas classic is a runner-up to Sarkis if you’re looking to dine in instead of grabbing and going. The crunchy falafel and yogurt sauce is always a winner, as is the aubergine purée. Be warned, this a booze-free joint, so get your alcohol fix at one of the many bars located in the Las Canitas stomping ground up the road.
Arce 488, Buenos Aires, Argentina, +54 11 4775 1402
This pint-sized pitta heaven is set slightly aside from the hedonism of Palermo, located in good company beside a neighbourhood parilla. The wraps are slightly on the small size, but are reasonably priced and perfect for a light lunch. If you want to sit in, there’s an adjoining space with tables apart from the kitchen/takeaway area, so you can eat in peace. They also have curbside tables if you wish to enjoy your dinner al fresco.
Charcas 3816, Buenos Aires, Argentina, +54 11 4833 6699
For all your Middle Eastern needs in Palermo Hollywood, hit up neighbourhood favourite Kaükaz. Super popular at lunchtime with the employees of local media agencies, one of Kaükaz’s main selling points is the size of their shawarmas. Available in large or extra large with only a small price difference, expect these tasty treats to stave off hunger until well into the evening, providing the perfect antidote to Argentina’s notoriously late dining times. Go for the meat shawarma and get the spicy sauce.
Honduras 5869, Buenos Aires, Argentina, +54 11 4771 0044
The biggest Middle-Eastern hitter in Colegiales, a residential neighbourhood to the north of Palermo, is Haysam. A family-run joint by Syrians who really know their stuff, Haysam has the kind of quirky décor you could expect from a Middle Eastern restaurant in Buenos Aires, complete with Moorish arches and questionable murals of far-off landscapes. It has a similar set-up to Damashk in that there’s a takeaway part at the front and a restaurant at the back, so you get the best of both worlds. Ask for a fresh shawarma at lunchtime, as they often prepare a batch to speed things up. They won’t thank you for it, but your tastebuds will.
Av Federico Lacroze 3228, Buenos Aires, Argentina, +54 11 4554 3577