Buenos Aires offers world-class dining with a variety of Argentine and international restaurants and cuisines. With the collapse of the peso, fine dining in Buenos Aires has also become marvelously inexpensive.
Nothing matches the meat from the Pampas grass-fed Argentine cows, and that meat is the focus of the dining experience throughout the city, from the humblest parrilla (grill) to the finest business-class restaurant. Empanadas, dough pockets filled with minced meat and other ingredients, are also an Argentine staple, offered almost everywhere.
Buenos Aires's most fashionable neighbourhoods for eating out are all found in Palermo. Las Cañitas provides a row of Argentine and Nouvelle-fusion cuisine concentrated on Calle Báez. Palermo Hollywood is quickly matching this with even more trendy hot spots combining fine dining with a bohemian atmosphere in small, renovated, turn-of-the-20th-century houses. These restaurants are now attracting some of the city's top chefs, many of whom have received their training in France and Spain. Some of the most exquisite and interesting cuisine in the city is available in the venues in Palermo Viejo. Both Palermo Viejo and Las Cañitas are near the D subway line, but the best restaurants are often a long walk from metro stations. That and the 11 pm closing of the subway stations means you are best off with taxis to and from these restaurants.
Places to Dine
Puerto Madero's docks are lined with more top restaurants, along with a mix of chains and hit-or-miss spots. The Microcentro and Recoleta offer many outstanding restaurants and cafes, some of which have been on the map for decades. Buenos Aires's cafe life, where friends meet over coffee, is as sacred a ritual to Porteños as it is to Parisians. Excellent places to enjoy this include La Biela in Recoleta, across from the world-famous Recoleta Cemetery, and Café Tortoni, which is one of the city's most beautiful and traditional cafes, on Avenida de Mayo close to Plaza de Mayo. These are two places you should not miss if you want to see Buenos Aires's cafe life (but note that most cafes are filled with cigarette smoke, something that can be a real turnoff to some).
Though Buenos Aires is a very cosmopolitan city, it is surprisingly not a very ethnically diverse place, at least on the surface. However, the influences of Middle Eastern and Jewish immigrants who came to this city in the wake of World War I are reflected in a few areas. Middle Eastern restaurants are clustered in Palermo Viejo near the subte station Scalabrini Ortiz and also on Calle Armenia. Since Once and Abasto were the traditional neighbourhoods for Jewish immigrants, you'll find many kosher restaurants (some traditional, others recently opened by young people trying to bring back the cuisine they remember their grandparents cooking) along Calle Tucumán in particular. Because many Buenos Aires Jews are Sephardic or of Middle Eastern descent, you'll also find Arabic influences here.
With a renewed definition of what it means to be Argentine, native Indian and Incan influences are also finding their way into some Argentine restaurants. Again, with the neighbourhood's view on experimental dining, the best of these are found in Palermo Viejo. Three to try out are the parrilla Lo De Pueyrredón, owned by a descendant of one of the country's most important families; Pampa, a small charming place owned by a woman from the Pampa Province; and Bio, a vegetarian restaurant using the Incan grain quinoa in many dishes.
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