Buenos Aires has upped its foodie game in recent years. Sure, you can still go to family-run, traditional parillas for a juicy steak, or sip a café con leche with three media lunas at the corner café. However, craft beer, coffee, and molecular gastronomy have surfaced in the city and begun spreading. Slurp noodles one night and head to shabbat the next, then pace yourself for an 18-course meal. It’s all possible here, as the food scene is a blend of classic and contemporary, Argentine and foreign.
Obrador takes traditional Argentine recipes for tartas (savory pies), soups, and breads, and prepares them with organic vegetables, sourdough bases, and colorful garnishes. They bake using seasonal ingredients, with squash beet soup in the winter getting swapped for tomato watermelon gazpacho in the summer. Each item on the menu is sure to satisfy, whether you get a chicken curry sandwich or a lemon pie with whipped cream icing. A mishmash of colorful furniture and cutlery will make you feel as if you are eating in someone's kitchen rather than a restaurant, and the warm, helpful staff complete the cozy ambience.
Started as a puerta cerrada (closed door restaurant) by a transplanted New Orleans native, Nola serves Southern comfort food like cornbread, red beans and rice, and gumbo. The star of the menu is the deep-fried buttermilk chicken; order the fried chicken as is, or get it in a sandwich or salad. Once you have your food sorted, order a sweet tea or choose from their extensive selection of craft beer. Make sure to save room for a mini pecan pie at the end.
In a city known for thick-crust pizza with mountains of mozzarella, San Paolo gives you something else entirely: Neapolitan-style thin crust pizza, seasonal ingredients, and fior di latte. Started by a Naples-born and bred chef, it’s no wonder it’s been named the best pizzeria in South America by the boys over in Italy. Sure, you can order a solo pie, but their dinner menu (which includes an appetizer, whole pizza, dessert, and drink) will get you the best value for your money. Make a reservation as it gets packed.
Understated Asian decorations of paper lanterns and rattan fixtures, twinkling strings of lights, and dishes from the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia are ready to greet you at Cantina Sunae. Once a puerta cerrada, this cozy restaurant is now a sought-after Palermo Hollywood dinner locale. Curries, tropical salads, fish fillets, and key lime pie grace the menu, and their braised burnt coconut beef melts into an aromatic swirl of flavor at first bite. Expect professional staff, an open kitchen, and pandan meringue.
Simple and clean, vegan/vegetarian restaurant Buenos Aires Verde has a modern design, wooden interior, and a raw chocolate bar prominently displayed in the front. Omnivores frequent their tables, too, sampling plates like the Neapolitan tofu. A section of the menu is dedicated to fully raw entrées, including a lasagna and power pizza. Finish your meal with a giant truffle filled with either chocolate mouse or cashew cream, surrounded by a delicate chocolate shell.
A greasy, cheesy institution located on Avenida Corrientes (Buenos Aires’s equivalent of Broadway), Pizzería Güerrin sells arguably the best Argentine-style pizza in the city. Like the surrounding area, the kitchen bustles with activity, baking and selling over 1,500 pizzas per day. The two serving floors are generally full from 10 p.m. onward, with waiters bringing classic pies like muza (plain mozzarella) and napo (mozzarella with tomatoes, garlic, olives, and oregano) to large family parties or couples on dates. If you want to grab and go, just order however many slices you want at the front with a pint of beer.
This is a dude place: burgers, fries, and subtly politically incorrect WiFi passwords. The kitchen churns out empanadas, sandwiches, and burger and taco plates of the week. There’s craft beer, regular beer, and chili bombs (a shot of jalapeño-infused vodka mixed with energy drink Speed). Dog- and kid-friendly (and with extensive patio seating), it’s a great place to watch big soccer matches on the TV with people who care. You’ll cry sweet tears of joy when you order the Tacos de La Casa “picante” because they actually will be spicy—a rarity in Buenos Aires.
Niño Gordo might seem hidden, but it’s been blowing up Instagram since it opened in 2017. A fusion of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Argentine food, Niño Gordo is known for its creative plates, innovative cocktails, and surprising flavors. Some people love the décor: red lighting, a big bar with Manga figurines all around, floating plastic jelly fish, and Japanese toilets. Menu items at this hipster haven include miso sweet breads, duck and squid ink dumplings, beef tataki, and cocktails with…kimchi. Enter this world of fantasy for dinner, only open Tuesday through Sunday.
For great sushi or shabu shabu (Japanese hot pot), go here. Kimono-clad staff are quick to answer any menu questions or give recommendations. Kick your shoes off and sit on their tatamis (floor mats) and appreciate the tea house-style décor. Eat hiyayakko (chilled tofu garnished with green onion) as you wait for your shabu shabu to boil at the table. If you order the sushi, try the octopus with vinaigrette dipping sauce.
This hip, modern parrilla sources grass-fed meat from a family farm in the Pampas. It’s small, smoky, and ready to revamp classic recipes for the millennial crowd. Start with their provelta, a big ol’ slab of grilled cheese with pears, salsa criolla, and some fresh greens. Entrées are enormous here, so bring a friend, lover, or family member to share your meal with. For a hunk of grilled beef, ask for the corte parrilla. For a chunk of meat that was oh-so-lovingly smoked for hours, get the corte ahumado. If you like your meat spicy, hit up their hot sauce collection.
Portenos (people born and raised in Buenos Aires) love a good pancho (hot dog). What sets DOGG apart from other hot dog vendors in the city? For starters, their dogs are grilled instead of boiled in the typical Argentine tradition. Chef and founder Máximo Togni developed the recipes for the meat and Parmesan cheese buns. A bite of a DOGG dog will carry the savory flavors of coriander, paprika, garlic, and pepper with the undercurrent of honey. With multiple locations around the city, quick service, and indoor and outdoor seating, Dogg offers well-done fast food and killer fries.
Grab a stool by the open bar of this retro Asian noodle house, and watch the chefs battle giant flames while preparing ginger pork, sautéed beef noodles, and citrus chicken for vermicelli dishes. Grab a craft beer (the selection features a solid lineup of some of the best breweries in the city, including Strange Brewing) and get to know your neighbors, as the place usually doesn’t have an empty seat at dinner time. Plus, they’re one of the only spots in the city serving pho.
Owner Jacob Eichenbaum-Pikser has come a long way from slinging bagels off the back of his bike to caffeine addicts in Palermo. A born-and-bred New Yorker, he now has his own brick and mortar bagel shop in Buenos Aires, serving Lattente coffee and flavored cream cheeses like dill and scallion. Have a bagel just by itself or bite into one of the bagel sandwiches (we recommend the Mexicana with cooked tomatoes, jalapeño cream cheese, and cilantro). Sheikob’s isn’t only a breakfast or lunch spot, though; they host concerts, storytelling, and even karaoke events in the evenings.
Consistently named one of the best restaurants in guidebooks and restaurant awards, Don Julio has built a strong reputation as the best parrilla in town. They grill super thick, grass-fed beef steaks in their open kitchen as locals and tourists decide if they want bife de chorizo (sirloin strip steak), lomito (tenderloin steak), or another classic Argentine cut. Smartly-dressed staff can help by sufficiently explaining each of the cuts on offer to even the most novice of steak-eaters. With rustic décor and an extensive wine list featuring many selections from Argentina, this is the place of steakhouse dreams.
Aramburu offered the original tasting menu in Buenos Aires, with a focus on originality and the idea of creating not only a meal, but an experience. They plate high-end international cuisine and serve 18 courses with an optional wine pairing. Food creations here could just as easily be placed in the New York Met as abstract sculptures. The menu changes, but expect surprising pairings, several meat dishes, and delightful desserts.
At Palermo vegan restaurant Sacro, you can expect kimchi dumplings with ginger foam, activated charcoal empanadas filled with mushroom and olives, and jack fruit baos. Pair these small plates with a lavender or passion fruit cocktail—unless smoked mezcal or biodynamic wines are more your speed. The menu consists mostly of spins on Asian, African, and Argentine dishes and imaginative cocktails. The interior is sleek and fresh, comprised of blue velvet booths, petiribí wood tables, terrazzo floors, and of course, lots of plants.
The heart of this bakery and café is their eight-year-old sourdough starter. Well, that and owner German Torres, famed for his obsession with quality. Torres was one of the first bakers in Buenos Aires to offer naturally leavened and fermented breads. Operating out of a remodeled garage, Salvaje is small with brick and tile walls. Six days a week, customers flock here to buy ryes, country loaves, medialunas, and cold cut sandwiches. The coffee doesn’t disappoint, either, with shots being pulled on a La Marzocco espresso machine.
For authentic kebabs, samosas, aloo gobi, chicken tikka, and delicious mint chutney, this under-the-radar Palermo Hollywood spot will satisfy your cravings for Pakistani cuisine. Go for lunch, dinner, or after a night out at the surrounding bars—there’s no official closing time, and Kebab Roll stays open as long as there are customers. The menu rotates, but try the rich, flavorful carrot cardamom dessert if it's on offer. Personable and with lots of stories, the owner can usually be found outside smoking when not behind his oven.
Started by a bunch of gnarly dudes, JAAM surprised diners in the San Telmo restaurant scene by offering a completely vegan menu. They enjoy pickling and creating crazy plates, like their 25-vegetable salad. However, they don't just limit themselves to salads: Croquettes, baos, lentil pates, and coconut flans all crop up on their inventive menus. Open for lunch and dinner, Thursday through Saturday, expect colorful staff and strong drinks.
Mishiguene takes old Jewish recipes (much like you’d find in the houses of Jewish immigrants in Buenos Aires) and lovingly brings them into the modern world with fresh takes on pastrami, baba ghanoush, and potato dumplings. Pair your platters with a cocktail or one of their selections of Argentine wines. Order à la carte if you don’t want the full tasting menu. Go on a Friday night for the shabbat celebration, which features a band playing klezmer music and a rowdy audience clapping in time.