Buenos Aires, the origin of a gastronomic passion
Updated: Nov 3, 2022
Eight out of the 50 best restaurants in Latin America are in the Argentinian capital, which is slowly becoming a worldwide gastronomic point of reference. (Warning: this article could make you hungry. Discretion advised).
“I have always felt there is something I like in Buenos Aires. I like it so much that I don’t like it when other people like it. It’s such a jealous love”, said Jorge Luis Borges.
If alive today, the old Buenos Aires writer would be even more jealous; his city stands out among the best gastronomic destinations in the region. For example, in the famous San Pellegrino list of the 50 Best Restaurants in Latin America, Buenos Aires holds eight references.
A southern mix of flavor and wine
Both Buenos Aires and international cuisine have a well earned place in argentinian gastronomy. The local cuisine mixes native flavors with others brought by Spanish, Italian, and German immigrants, in the 19th century. This mixes can be taste in neighborhoods like Palermo, Puerto Madero, Recoleta and San Telmo, which bring together the top 50 restaurants, typical steakhouses and pizzerias in Buenos Aires.
Incidentally, the first restaurant in Buenos Aires on the Pellegrino 2018 list is Don Julio, a Palermo Viejo restaurant that specializes in grilled meats. What is Its secret? Simple: the pieces rest at least 21 days in a heated space to reach an optimum point of maturation.
Do not forget its wine list, which is renewed every year and has some 700 national references. “Life is too short to drink bad wine”, says one of the local posters. In Don Julio they take this motto very seriously.
Besides Don Julio, Tegui, Mishiguene and Chila are other Buenos Aires restaurants listed among the twenty best of Latin America. The first two are also in Palermo, while you would have to approach Puerto Madero to taste the delights of Chila.
Tegui, with chef Germán Martitegui at the stove, proposes a renewed Argentine cuisine in a closed tasting menu. In Mishiguene they pay homage to the Jewish immigrants who arrived to Argentina a long time ago, with dishes such as baba ganush (eggplant puree). Chila resorts to seasonal ingredients to reinterpret the local cuisine under the baton of the young chef Pedro Bargero. They also have a vegetarian menu.
Elena, El Baqueano, Gran Dabbang, Aramburu, Proper and Narda Comedor complete the list of the ten best positioned restaurants in Buenos Aires., Located at the Four Seasons hotel in Recoleta, Elena’s recipe book is based on Argentinian cuisine with some European influence. Meanwhile, in El Baqueano, chef Fernando Rivarola uses ingredients such as crocodile to complete San Telmo’s gastronomic offer.
Gastronomy in Buenos Aires’ night
Gran Dabbang and Proper share a neighborhood – Palermo – and both are led by two chefs. In Gran Dabbang, the Ramos bet on Argentine cuisine with Asian touches, and in Proper, Lanussol and Mayer are specialized in vegetable ingredients. In the Recoleta neighborhood you will find chef Gonzalo Aramburu, specialized in meat, who proposes a 12-course menu. And only one cook has managed to sneak into this selection. She is Narda Lepes, defender of healthy food in her Narda Dining Room in the Belgrano neighborhood.
After a good dinner, bars and cocktail bars take over in the Buenos Aires night. In Palermo, Retiro and Recoleta you will find the most sophisticated bars in the city, although old mechanic workshops converted into ‘cool’ bars are also emerging. If your taste is more traditional, you can opt for some notable bars in the city, considered as such for preserving its architectural design and having witnessed relevant events in the history of Buenos Aires. La Biela, Bar El Federal and Café Tortoni form the top 3 that you cannot miss.