Buenos Aires is a city rich in traditions and gastronomy. Meat can be the star of the culinary arts and it is true that you cannot miss a good grill, but the festival of flavors does not stop there. Buenos Aires food is as diverse as the city is cosmopolitan. Here we reveal iconic dishes and the best places to order them.
Many Latin American countries have their version of the empanada. Regardless of which one you are a fan of, there is no doubt that Argentinean empanadas are a spectacle. With baked and fried varieties, these dough wonders are as delicious as they are affordable. The recipes vary by region and many believe that the best are the northern ones. In the capital you find a little piece of the north in “Ña Serapia”, a picturesque place that focuses on recipes from Salta, in the northeast. The empanadas are soft and contain potatoes, finely chopped meat and fried onion. Order some onion with cheese, meat or chicken and take them to Parque Las Heras, in front of the restaurant, to complete a good picnic.
Rib eye steak
In a country where there are often more cows than people, meat rules. The late owner of “El Pobre Luis”, located in Belgrano, was a celebrity among carnivores. His grillers honor the legacy with meats that mature for 15 to 20 days to maximize flavor and tender texture. The excellent rib eye, the standard for grills, indicates that everything you order will be of a high quality. That is why it is a good place to also try more risky things, such as offal, the entrails of the animal that are served as a starter for barbecues. It starts with crispy sweetbreads, a gland known as roast caviar. No restaurant can replicate the ritual of an asado, it is a homemade and social event but “El Pobre Luis” comes close with its generous portions and a happy and relaxed atmosphere adorned with soccer jerseys hanging from the ceiling.
Buenos Aires Pizza
In Buenos Aires, where waves of Italian immigration dictated much of the culture, pizza takes its own shape. Guerrin, a no-frills but highly regarded pizzeria, offers the typical Buenos Aires version with thick dough, much more cheese than sauce, and ingredients such as ham, red pepper, and olives. At any time you can find a large number of porteños lining up or eating the delicious slices standing up. A night of entertainment for Argentines often includes going to the theater and out for pizza. The location of this pizzeria founded in 1932 on Avenida Corrientes (known as Argentina’s Broadway for its number of theaters) helps keep it one of the favourites.
Thanks to the same Italian influence, pasta has as much weight in the capital as pizza. Although Narda Comedor is known for her bold and original cosmopolitan recipes, the chef also honors her heritage with healthy, seasonal versions of typical dishes. The gnocchi, part of an Argentine tradition in which pasta is eaten on the 29th of each month with money placed under the plate to attract prosperity, are served with peas, crusty bread and mushroom broth. With white brick walls, wooden tables and an open kitchen, modernity is balanced with homeliness in this restaurant listed as one of the best 50 in Latin America. Completing the family tradition, all the dishes, including the gnocchi, are designed to be shared.
An essential dish, the milanesa, a version of breaded fillet accompanied by fries or mashed potatoes, tops the menus of bodegones, those classic neighborhood restaurants where the portions are large and cheap. It can be loin, chicken or fish. It can come Neapolitan style with tomato sauce and cheese, covered in mushrooms and onion, or with ham and fried eggs. It doesn’t matter, they are all delicious and “El Puentecito”, which dates back to the 1700s, prepares them exquisitely. The Milanese here occupies the entire plate and is made instantly. Ask the friendly waiters, many have worked there for decades, and they will surely recommend the Milanesa de Lomo a la Napolitana. Go whenever you want, they only close at Christmas and New Years.