KALINA'S BSAS FOOD GUIDE
Meat, wine, meat, wine, pizza, meat - the typical food song of the Buenos Aires dining scene. Portenos (people from Buenos Aires) have traditionally been meat eaters, but a new generation of foodies is slowly emerging throughout the city, seeking unique worldly flavors, tasting menus, and veggie focused dishes. Here is my short list of where to dine now in Buenos Aires (as of June 2017). Do note that in Buenos Aires the locals eat late, many restaurants don't open until 8pm and you might be dining alone if you arrive even then.
In a converted garage on a relatively quiet street in Palermo Viejo is the much talked about sharing plate restaurant, Proper. Flavors feel Californian (no bias) and everything we tried was tasty, including the bread! It can get crowded so arrive before 8:45 if possible or plan on waiting. Cash only!
Sunae Asian Cantina |
Once a Puerta Cerrada restaurant, Chef Christina Sunae has since moved to an "on the street" location in the hipster chic Palermo Hollywood neighborhood. Flavors pan different Asian countries and the dishes don't shy away from spice, a welcome respite whilst in the spice fearing Argentina. Favorite dishes include the Khao Soi and when available the Caldo de Pollo ramen-like special.
Pain et Vin |
Opening for lunch through the evenings, Pain et Vin is half sandwich/salad spot and part wine bar offering tastings, classes, and more. Try a pulled porked sandwich, a glass of "promo" red wine, and take a loaf of bread to go.
I Latina |
Although this restaurant and menu might have been more symbolic for me as the menu takes you on a tour through Latin America from Mexico all the way down to Argentina, the flavors and the experience are worthy of a visit for anyone passing through Buenos Aires. Housed in a beautiful old villa in the up-and-coming Villa Crespo neighborhood, the restaurant has high ceilings, Colombian decor (the Chef's are Colombian), and perhaps the friendliest staff I encountered in all of Latin America.
Gran Dabbang |
One of my favorite new finds in Buenos Aires, Gran Dabbang features Asian fusion small plates packed with flavor and ideal for sharing. Arrive early, bring cash, and absolutely try the lamb curry and the burrata dish.
Upscale Jewish eatery in posh Palermo that pans Israeli & Middle Eastern dishes and flavors. Come with a few friends and share the roasted cauliflower, smokey baba ghanoush, succulent bone-in pastrami, and whatever else tickles your fancy.
Argentine flavors with a French Bistro twist located around the corner from the Recoleta cemetery. The restaurant is great for a leisurely lunch or a low-key dinner. Popular among locals and tourists so arrive early or make a reservation.
A no-frills but still great place for a filling Argentine lunch of empanadas and cazuelas (stews) in a friendly and casual space. Cash only and always busy!
La Cocina Empanadas |
One of two of my favorite empanada spots in the city. It's cozy cute in an old school way with reggae posters and a retro vibe. Walk up to the counter and order your empanadas to eat at the small table or bar seating or ask for them to go. Personal favorites include the carne picante and the pikachu. They also have locro (stew) and a few other items, but the empanadas definitely steal the show. Cash only - at the time this is written, 30 pesos/empanada.
Ninina swiftly became my go-to morning spot while in Buenos Aires this time around. White subway tiles, warm wide planked wood, carrera marble tables, lofty ceilings, reliable wifi, and avocado toast complete the space. Although a tad pricier than its neighborhood compatriots, I felt it worth it AND it was one of few places in the area serving good coffee that opens before 9am!
Tetuan Brasero |
Relatively new to the Palermo Hollywood food scene is Tetuan. I noticed the striking facade one day while walking the street, a bright Islamic geometric pattern. The space is fun with lofty warehouse ceilings, a long communal table and a handful of small tables and wooden blocks climbing up the space to sit on. Select your choice of meat or veggie and it will be served in a pita with a side of potatoes. They also have a good selection of beers at the bar up front. Cash only and live DJs on Thursday nights.
Fifi Almacen |
Casual lunch / afternoon snack spot that doubles as a mini specialty market. Soups, salads, sandwiches, and a few other items are available, tasty, and affordable.
On a San Telmo street littered with cute bistro style restaurants, this quirky space with both indoor and outdoor seating is great for a sunday brunch or lunch before hitting the San Telmo market. Ingredients are fresh and there is a little bit of everything, even matcha pappardelle pasta. Vegetarian friendly!
Cosi Mi Piace |
Thin crust Italian style pizza has made it to Buenos Aires. Head to the trendy warehouse vibe space in Palermo Soho for some tasty pies and a nice glass of wine.
San Paolo Pizzeria |
I repeat, thin crust Neopolitan style pizza has made it to Buenos Aires. Head to this no-frills joint in Palermo Soho for lunch or dinner to satisfy that pizza craving.
Although I am an Italian style pizza girl through & through, when in Buenos Aires you must try the thick cheese-smothered Porteno style slice. The best place for this is Guerrin, a local favorite steeped in history, tradition, and quality. Order a slice at the counter, or if with friends order a whole pie at a table in the back. I have shamelessly been to this place more times than I can count.
Salvaje Bakery |
Walking into this bakery for the first time, I noticed a breadmaker holding one of the Tartine bread books in his hand, a promising sign. Although their breads aren't quite up to Tartine levels, they have a good selection of breads as well as other baked items - tarts, quiches, cakes, scones, etc. The vibe is shabby chic with graffiti walls and an indoor/outdoor concept. Excellent coffee and a fun sharing style weekend brunch make this a must visit spot.
Nueva Casa Japonesa |
My favorite ramen place (although still not perfect) in Buenos Aires, conveniently parked above a Japanese/Asian grocery store complete with all the necessities for an Asian feast. A bit of a trek, but worth it to satisfy a ramen craving.
Buenos Aires Verde |
Healthy vegetarian & vegan eats in a tiny wifi-filled space in Palermo Hollywood. The veggie/raw lasagna is actually something I would go back for, and I am a devout non-vegetarian.
Don Julio |
Upscale parrilla loved by locals and tourists alike. High quality meats, malbecs, and service make this the perfect spot for a traditional Argentine leisurely lunch or late dinner. Sign a bottle to add to the ever growing wine sculpture inside the restaurant.
Bread & Butter Supper Club |
See my post on the Hidden Buenos Aires for a better idea of the history of this type of establishment. Bread & Butter is a supper club type restaurant that moves to various locales around town. Shoot a message to @breadandbutterba to reserve your spot and enjoy the constantly changing tasting menu by chef Isodoro Dillan.
A Nos Amours |
Cozy & charming French bistro style restaurant with a short, but thoroughly tasty menu. A great place to go solo or with a friend/significant other as it is small.
Southeast Asian flavors in a simple corner spot in Palermo Hollywood. The lunch menu (currently at 185 pesos or roughly $11) gives you a choice of the soup of the day or a fresh Asian salad, followed by your choice of main course from 5 options, and a drink that can include wine! Good flavors and good value.
The simple corner cafe/restaurant that everyone wants in their neighborhood. Located in the up-and-coming, slightly off the beaten track Chacarita neighborhood, I found Rita one day while mindlessly strolling. The restaurant is clean and modern with white walls, subway tiles, a handful of wooden tables, and some colorful pendant lights. The deal here is the lunch menu, with three choices of mains (that change daily), a bread basket, and a pitcher of lemonade for 160 pesos or $10 at current exchange rates. Add a starter or a dessert for a couple dollars more.
The long standing favorite for Armenian / Middle Eastern cuisine. Go with friends at opening (8pm) or expect to wait a very long time. Recommended dishes include the hummus, labneh, baba ghanoush, falafel, and keppe crudo. Cash only!
Sheikob's Bagels |
Latin America as a whole doesn't know how to make a bagel, but there is one bright light in the bagel desert of South America. Meet Sheikob, a Brooklyn/Buenos Aires native who brings freshly made bagels to various locales around town in a basket on his bicycle. Although I'm sure this schedule is apt to change, as of June 2017 you can find him at Cuervo Cafe on Wednesdays, The Shelter Coffee on Thursdays, Felix Felices on Fridays, Libreria del Fondo on Saturdays, and Lattente on Thames on Sundays. Bagels can be purchased plain or with various fixings that change by the day.
Rapa Nui |
No food guide is complete without something sweet, and my personal favorite in Buenos Aires is a few scoops from Rapa Nui ice cream. Locals love any of their 6-8 different Dulce de Leche (caramel) flavors, while I'm more of a chocolate and maracuya (passionfruit) type person. Regardless of your preferences, they have flavors for everyone.
A list of my favorite coffee spots around town is forthcoming!