March 1, 2009

Buenos Aires Restaurants

For some reason, it seems like many people I know are heading to Buenos Aires for vacation. The one question I usually get, besides where to stay and what to do, is where to eat. I mean, let's face it, food is a big part of visiting a different country, and it's a great way to immerse yourself in the culture. When I think of Argentina, I think of great steak and fantastic bottles of Malbec for a fraction of the price you would pay in an American restaurant. Wait, why am I not there now?

Some must have food items that you can't leave BA without trying are: steak/bife (order it "jugoso" if you can handle it rare), empanadas, and Italian food, especially the homemade pasta. BA has some of the best Italian food outside of Italy, due to all the Italian immigrants in the nineteenth century.

As for neighborhoods with the best restaurants, my top three are: Palermo, Puerto Madero, and Las Canitas. These are also the best areas for nightlife after you finish your meal at one or two in the morning!

I had to consult with my friend Jess, an expat from New Jersey who still lives in Buenos Aires, because it's been over year since I lived there. So, without further ado, here are Jess' top places to eat in BA.

-- La Cabrera - Despite being over-run by out-of-towners, its the best steak in the city. Huge portions. Expect to wait, even with a reservation. Cabrera 5099 corner of Thames, Palermo Viejo.
-- Cabaña Las Lilas - by far the best service you're gonna get in BA, plus wonderful home grown beef from their own farm. Great outdoor seating option along the trendy river promenade. Alicia Moreau de Justo 516 near Peron, Puerto Madero.
-- La Brigada - A more intimate choice, full of soccer paraphernalia and local charm. Estados Unidos 465 near Bolivar, San Telmo.

--La Vineria de Gualterio Bolivar - Ridiculous name, fantastic restaurant. Creative Spanish chef, well thought out cuisine. Only here can you get a tasting menu of up to 11 courses, for around $30 US dollars (excluding wine of course). Must make reservations in advance. Bolivar 865, San Telmo.
--Azema Bistro
- French style bistro, but really an eclectic mix of great dishes from all regions of France and its former colonies...with an Argentine twist of course. Carranza 1875, Palermo Viejo.
--Casa Cruz - Never actually been here, but it comes highly recommended by friends and colleagues, I think more for trendiness than for the food. May be worth it to check out a scene. Uriarte 1685, Palermo Viejo.

--Bella Italia - High-class Italian dining with trendy locals, great bar scene as well. Republica Arabe Siria 3285.
--Pierino - Out of the way, more traditional brick-wall joint where the owner still waits tables. Amazing pasta selection. Lavalle 3499, Almagro.
--Filo - If you're downtown, a colorful and fun atmosphere where every single thing on the menu is fresh and delicious. Pizza is a must. San Martin 975 near Marcelo T. de Alvear, Retiro.

--Cumana - Traditional Argentine food that isn't only meat! The best empanadas, casseroles, pizzas, salads, and home-style food in the city. Always crowded. Rodriguez Peña 1149, Recoleta.

Are you hungry? I sure am.

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