Food was always going to be a big part of our trip to Argentina and we couldn’t wait to try some of the local restaurants. I felt rather overwhelmed with choice as there are just so many great restaurants in Buenos but here are the one’s we visited:
Located at Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires, Elena is so much more than a hotel restaurant as it also places at No.37 in Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2017.
The restaurant is named after Elena Peña Unzué, the bride of La Mansión, the historic part of the hotel pictured above that is the location of some of the hotel’s best suites.
And the restaurant itself has a buzzy environment and cool interior with high ceiling, sumptuous brown leather seating and locally sourced antiques. The meat is of the best quality and it is on display in a glass doored dry-aging case plus you can see into the kitchen and the marble butcher’s table. The menu of Modern Argentinian food has been created by Executive chef Juan Gaffuri who worked at Four Seasons restaurants all over the world from the age of 16 before returning home to Argentina. Meat, including Argentinian Kobe, is the speciality but there’s plenty of fresh seafood too. All beef is dry aged in a controlled environment in order to give the very best quality.
We loved the Salmorejo burrata with fresh tomatoes, croutons and powdered black olives for starters and I opted for trout for main course while Mr S loved his BBQ pork ribs with black garlic mashed potatoes and coleslaw. We were having beef for dinner so we decided to save ourselves for that. If you want to continue the party head to the hotel’s bar Pony Line for locally produced wine, beer and cocktails.
2. Don Julio
One thing that’ll be top of your list in Buenos Aires is visiting a Parilla – word means grill but translates to steakhouse and could refer to any restaurant from casual to fine dining that serves grilled meat. I thoroughly research our Parilla of choice as I knew it would be highlight of our time in the city – especially for Mr S. Just so you know, I was torn between two, La Cabrera and Don Julio but I eventually chose the latter. La Cabrera seemed a little overhyped but I was reassured by several people that it was a good as everyone says so I think both would be good choices.
In Argentina it’s common to go for dinner at around 10pm but Don Julio doesn’t take bookings then, you can only get between 8pm – 10pm if you want a reservation. That was fine for these two weary travellers but if you turn up later and have to queue, you get free champagne while you wait. Named the No. 13 best restaurant in Latin America, Don Julio really serves the highest quality beef all from grass-fed Aberdeen Angus and Hereford cattle, reared just outside Buenos Aires. The meat is stored in a climate-controlled refrigerator for at least 21 days to reach optimum maturity. The restaurant itself is family-run and the decor is rustic in style with a buzzy environment, empty wine bottles line the walls and pretty tiles on the floor.
We’re invited to see the meat first and admire the quality before ordering up a bottle of Malbec.
There’s a number of starters available and as Don Julio pretty much serves up the whole cow you can order dishes such as sweetbreads and fried beef empanadas. We opted for a selection of sausages…
Before the main event… and trust me one between two is enough! A few vegetable side dishes were added to the mix and you won’t be requiring dessert. Portions are huge and refreshingly, despite being one of the best restaurants in the city, prices are very reasonable.
3. Café San Juan
Don’t be fooled by the name, this restaurant is so much more than a café. Located in San Telmo we were actually taken there by our tour guide who promised a more local experience. It’s nothing really fancy on the inside but the food is that hearty truly delicious food that we often crave. The chef is Leandro ‘Lele’ Cristóbal who is also a TV Chef with his own reality TV show.
We ordered a pinquinos or penguin of red wine – apparently this is a thing in Argentina and it’s pretty cute!
There is a changing selection of tapas to start based on local and seasonal ingredients – expect big portions and rustic, hearty delicious food. Ham and tomato baguettes and a big skillet of chorizo were the perfect starters
Mr S had a huge slab of beef for his main course and my salmon with pitta chips and roasted vegetables was pretty hearty too.
Chila was a last minute booking when due to timings we had to cancel iLatina, the restaurant I’d originally booked. Last minute bookings make me nervous but Chila is ranked No.26 in Latin America’s 50 Best restaurants so I was happy to trust the recommendation from the concierge at the Park Hyatt. Differing to the other restaurants on this list, Chila is very much a fine dining option serving only a refined tasting menu. Unfortunately due to those aforementioned timings (we had a tango show to get to) we had to rush our meal here a bit.
Expect a seven course menu of Modern Argentine food with additional snacks which showcase the talents of new head chef Pedro Bargero.
Highlights included the octopus, black hake and dry aged beef. It was the best beef that we sampled while in South America. Dishes were beautifully presented and inventive whist the restaurant is elegant and stylish – perfect for a special ocassion of date night.
Finally it’s quite inescapable but nowadays visitors to a city are looking for the Instagrammable locations. We actually stumbled across Pani when walking around Puerto Madero, a beautiful waterfront neighbourhood that’s well worth visit.
I mean it’s pink and rose gold… Pani Madero is one of six branches of the restaurant in Buenos Aires. Created by Pani Trotta, a young entrepreneur who had a dream of creating a stylish and fashionable brand of restaurants. We actually only stopped in here for a coffee but the cake selection looks absolutely epic with Ferrero Rocher’s Cheesecake and Oreo-filled cookies.
With only a short time in this fantastic foodie city, it’s really hard to decide where to visit. As usual blogs play a huge part in narrowing my decisions down and I highly recommend Pick Up The Fork, the most definitive guide to Buenos Aires restaurants that I found.
Have you been to Buenos Aires? Which restaurants would you recommend?
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