After four months of traveling through South America, sometimes at a rather quick pace trying to fit things in, I was happy to arrive in Argentina, to slow down and to unpack my suitcase for a change. Buenos Aires was probably the city that I was most looking forward to when I started planning all of my travels, so I tried to spend some quality time getting to know the various neighborhoods and to learn to listen to the heartbeat of this seductive place…
>> There are general tips for Argentina below, but for WHERE to eat and drink in Buenos Aires specifically, check out this Buenos Aires list on Foursquare that I created based on all of your recommendations. There’s also a (mostly BsAs-specific) twitter feed embedded if you scroll to the bottom of this post, which is helpful for the absolute latest news.
Map of Argentina
Things to Do in Argentina
- Buenos Aires – Ah, Buenos Aires! This beautiful city has a reputation as the Paris of South America and it’s easy to see why if you spend a day wandering one of its many neighborhoods. Don’t miss trendy Palermo (including Palermo Soho and Palermo Hollywood), waterfront dining in Puerto Madero, the upscale Recoleta and bohemian San Telmo or La Boca. Catch a tango show or better yet, take a lesson. Feast on some of the best steak in the world at a traditional parilla or an asado.
>> Check out our Buenos Aies Photo Gallery
- Mendoza– Mendoza is well known as the heart of Argentinian wine production, especially for its most famous varietal – Malbec. The city itself is a pleasant stop for a few days. Wine tasting tours by bus, bike or self-guided, are available and quite popular. The city takes its mid-day siesta VERY seriously, so don’t expect to find a shop or restaurant open outside of the main touristic areas between 1-4pm.
>> Check out our Mendoza Photo Gallery
What to Eat in Argentina
- Asado/BBQ/Grilled Meats – you simply can’t come to Argentina and not sample some of the fantastic (often grass fed) beef and other grilled meats. Visit a traditional parilla for the restaurant experience or if you’re lucky, attend an asado (BBQ). Cuts to try include Bife de Ojo (ribeye), Bife de Chorizo (sirloin), short rib, flank steak. Sausages, including chorizo and morcilla (blood sausage), are popular as well. Argentinians consider offal some of the best parts of the meal so you should also try achuras (grilled starters) like chinchulines (intestines), kidney, sweetbreads and whatever else is on offer.
- Provoleta – A grilled round of provolone cheese, served oozing and crispy and topped with olive oil and dried oregano. A great compliment to the meat and red wine!
- Choripan – grilled chorizo sliced onto crusty bread. Yum! (swap in blood sausage and you get morcipan!)
- Empanadas – like almost every country in South America, empanadas are a popular snack or starter in Argentina. You’ll find many types available, but carne is a safe bet!
- Alfajores – a sweet treat made of two crispy cookies joined together with dulce de leche, jam, or other fillings and covered in chocolate.
- Ice Cream/Gelato – I’d highly recommend anything in dulce de leche flavor!
- Sauces – chimichurri is the classic and comes in two main variations – a non-spicy parsely based version (the only one I was familiar with in the States) and then a more herby version with a kick from red pepper flakes. I also love salsa criolla which is chunkier tomato, onion and peppers with vinegar, oil and spices.
- Medialunas – sort of a doughier version of the french croissant, these crescent shaped pastries are popular for desayuno (breakfast) with coffee or for a snack. Patries in general are called facturas, and medialunas are the most popular of them all.
- Closed Door restaurants – a major underground food trend in Buenos Aires in recent years, closed door restaurants are “secret” dinner parties held at various locations – many are technically illegal and operating without license so it feels like you are doing something deliciously naughty when you find one to attend. Some are more secret than others and many cater to the tourist crowd – I’ve seen a few on Trip Advisor!
What to Drink in Argentina
- Wine – Malbec may be the most famous but there are some amazing lesser known varietals as well. (If you prefer whites, try Torrontes.) A great place for wine tasting in Buenos Aires is Anuva Wine in Palermo Soho, where you can opt for a tasting paired with Argentinian tapas.
- Coffee – Cafe culture is part of the European vibe of Buenos Aires and you can definitely find a decent cup of coffee here, unlike many other places in South America! My favorite: Coffee Town in Mercado San Telmo.
- Cocktails – GringoInBuenosAires.com has a great list of the best cocktail bars in BsAs. Some of them are speakeasy-style, like Floreria Atlantico in Retiro, where we walked through the “fridge” in a flower shop to enter the cocktail bar and restaurant in the basement!
- Mate – people in Argentina take their consumption of the “national infusion” so seriously that there’s an entire industry devoted to keeping it portable. To partake, you fill a hollow gourd with yerba mate leaves and steep them in hot water (replenished frequently from a thermos) and sip through a straw called a bombilla. Drinking mate is a social activity and will often be passed around a circle among friends.
- Pick up the Fork – “A serious eater’s guide to Buenos Aires and beyond.” Fantastic food writing, guides by topic and a great master list of restaurants.
- Gringo in Buenos Aires
- What’s Up Buenos Aires
- Landing Pad BA
- The Argentina Independent
- Yelp Buenos Aires
- Time Out Buenos Aires
- Argentina Tourism
- Trip Advisor: Argentina