When visitors come to Argentina they usually enter through its capital city Buenos Aires. The city is located on the southeast coast of Argentina where the Rio de la Plata River flows into the Atlantic Ocean. Buenos Aires is the capital city of Argentina, and it has a population of 13 million people. The city has two nicknames the first is the “City of Fair Winds” and the second is “Paris of the South”. Buenos Aires should also have a nickname that gives tribute to its many fine restaurants.
Getting to Buenos Aires
People can get to Buenos Aires by air or by sea, however most enter through its international airport, the official name of the airport is the Ministro Pistrarini International Airport. The Ministro Pistrarini handles 8 million passengers per year, and it receives flights from locals air carriers as well as many top international air-carriers including Air Canada, American Airlines, British Airways, Delta Airlines, KLM Airlines, Lufthansa Airlines, Lufthansa Airlines, United Airlines and more. Visitors can get to and from the airport by buses, taxis or rental cars.
When rating a restaurant there will always be a level of subjectivity. However based on food quality, portion size, service, and the total dinning experience, I believe that the following restaurants represent five of Argentina’s best.
5. The La Cabrera Restaurant
Cabrera 5099 | Palermo Viejo, Buenos Aires C14BGS, Argentina
When people think of Argentina thoughts of gauchos, cattle farms and expectations of fine dinners with magnificent cuts of beef cross their minds. One of Buenos Aires best restaurants is the La Cabrera which does not have gauchos but does serve beef dinners that meet even the highest of expectations. The La Cabrera is ideally located on Palermo corner in an upscale area of Buenos Aires. When you get to the restaurant you will most likely find that all of the tables are occupied. That is because when a restaurant earns the type of reputation that La Cabrera has, attracting customers will never be a problem. If you want to avoid a wait you should make reservations in advance. However many people are willing to wait because the meal and the restaurants overall ambiance are worth it.
One of the first things that you will notice when you enter the restaurant is the service. The servers are friendly, understanding, and willing to explain the menu. In other words highly professional. Once you are seated, you will immediately be provided with freshly baked bread with butter and provided with a menu. If you want the waiters will help you with recommendations from the menu. Appetizers such as lamb chitterlings, chorizo sausage, and provoleta are common. You will also be struck by the number and variety of side dishes. At our table, the side dishes kept on coming, and included apple sauce, mashed potatoes, various salads, pickled eggplants and more.
The side dishes are one of the La Cabrera’s ways of setting themselves ahead of their competitors. The entrees included dishes like 14 ounce sirloin steaks, rib eye steak, stuff pork bondiola and several chicken and seafood dishes. When the food arrived the portions were enormous, and the meat was perfectly prepared and delicious. The restaurants atmosphere was party like and upbeat, and just when I thought the restaurant experience could not get any better, I got the check and found that the bill was quite reasonable.
2. Astrid & Gaston
Lafinur 3222, Palermo, Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires 1425
Astrid & Gaston is a restaurant where diners will find lots of contradictions. For instance even though it was founded in Peru the menu has very few large portioned meat dishes. In addition, even though the servers are dressed up in fine tailored suits and the menu looks like a work of art, the prices are unusually reasonable. At this restaurant, a typical three course meal with a drink will cost between $50 and $60. Another contradiction is the menu which is imaginative and features unusual non Peruvian dishes such as marinated boneless pork with sweet potatoes and red onions, chili chicken, white salmon with peas, scallop risotto, creamy foie de pato, duck rolls served in a rich cream sauce, and even a Japanese influenced sushi dish, with fresh sliced tuna served and a variety of citrus sauces. For dessert, you can choose house specialties like baked apple crisp or ginger ice cream with a caramel topping. Even though this restaurant has some contradiction the food is very good, and the prices are easy on the wallet.
At Av. 9 de Julio in La Recova, near the Four Seasons Hotel, Recoleta
There are two Piegari restaurants in Buenos Aires, the original formal restaurant and the Piegari Vtello e Dolce which is right across the street. The original restaurant dubbed La Recova is excellent and well worth a visit. It specializes in Italian dishes with seafood and pasta. Some of the dishes that were special are the meat empanadas, the beef pastas, the black salmon ravioli and the chicken in mushroom sauce. All of the portions were large enough to be shared, and the excellent servers provided extra plates so that the food could split up. In addition, wine lovers will love the eight page wine list. The evening at Piegari’s was wonderful, the food was great, and the service was outstanding.
4. Chan Chan
Hipólito Yrigoyen 1390, entre San José y Santiago del
Chan Chan is a restaurant that is one of those rare gems that you only occasionally run across. The restaurant is located behind the Palacio Barolo, and from the outside there is nothing fancy or pretentious about it. However once go inside the atmosphere is lively and unless you get there before 8:30 you will probably have to wait for a seat (Cash only and no reservations). This place is popular with natives and tourist alike. The menu includes a wide variety of tradition Peruvian seafood dishes, however the one dish that really stands out is the fresh, and flavor-able ceviche. When you eat at Chan Chan you will notice that almost every person in the room has a smile on their face, and why not, the food is fantastic, the portions are large, the atmosphere is electric, and the price for both the food and the spirits is surprisingly cheap.
5. Lotus Neo Thai
Arribenos 2265, Buenos Aires, Argentina (Belgrano)
The Lotus Neo Thai restaurant is the best place in Argentina to enjoy high quality oriental cuisine. This is an authentic Thai restaurant that is a favorite of the staff at the Thai embassy. The restaurant’s menu features many traditional Thai dishes. For starters, there are appetizers like stir fried prawns with mushrooms or skewered chicken with sweet and sour sauce. Entrees include Thai concoctions like mixed chicken, beef, or lamb satay served on a banana leaf, or chunks of beef in a coconut milk with potato, or massaman curry which in 2011 was ranked by CNN as one of the tastiest dish in the world. A dinner at the Lotus Neo Thai is an experience that will last a lifetime.