Buenos Aires, you’re a delicious place to hangout. Within South America, Buenos Aires is a city of superlatives. It’s known for having some of the best architecture, wildest nightlife, endless protests, worst haircuts, and most importantly: incredible food. The gaucho cowboy culture of the country comes to life in the hearty barbecues and meats, while European influences from Spain and Italy lend their touches through dainty cafes and homely pastas and pizzerias. Whoever you are, if you’re coming to Buenos Aires, you should be prepared to eat, and to eat well.

To help you make the most of your nomming time, we’ve prepared this guide of everything you must eat in Buenos Aires, with everything from traditional dishes to fast-food (and even what to drink!). In a country with such a rich culture, eating is one of the quickest and most authentic ways to experience it all firsthand.

 

The Ultimate Guide to What to Eat in Buenos Aires, Argentina --- The Borderless Project

 

Let’s get down to business. You’re here and you’re here to eat. This guide lists the typical foods all travelers to Buenos Aires need to eat, and for each we’ve also shared our favorite place in the city to get it and enjoy like a local. That way, not only can you try it for cheap in local spots, but you can also observe the culture around each. We’ve tried every single spot ourselves, and we take our eating seriously, so you have it all on good authority.

For you budget travelers, you’ll appreciate the best part of all: It’s cheap! Eating out in Buenos Aires can be affordable on any budget, and if you know where to go, you’ll get much more than you pay for (we’ll tell you where to go). You can sit down to a fine meal of the best cut of steak and a bottle of wine to yourself and keep it under $15USD if you want. So if you’re going to cut corners on your travels, please don’t eliminate eating out while in Buenos Aires! Treat yourself a little, and it will be one of the most culturally-rich experiences you’ll have in Argentina, we promise. (Besides, most of the best sights in the city are free anyways.)

 

What to Eat in Buenos Aires

1. Asado & Parrillada

Argentinian barbecue, asado or parrillada, is the first thing you need to try in this country. Including steaks, pork, sausages and a ton of other parts that are hard to identify (ignorance is bliss), ordering parrillada means you’ll be presented with a still-burning griddle full of a variety of meat.

 

#1 PARRILLADA: The Ultimate Guide to What to Eat in Buenos Aires, Argentina --- The Borderless Project

 

Steak

Argentina is famous for its out-of-this-world beef, so even if you don’t order a full spread, get a steak and you’ll see what all the fuss is about. Legend has it that the best steak in the country is so smooth you can cut it with a spoon…(We tried- confirmed).

Chorizo

Argentinian sausage, always a staple at a parrilla. Spicy and usually made with pork, but blood sausages are also popular here.

 

#1 CHORIZO at San Telmo Fair: The Ultimate Guide to What to Eat in Buenos Aires, Argentina --- The Borderless Project

 

Chimichurri

Always an accompaniment to parrillada, this green salsa is made up finely chopped parsley, oregano, onion, garlic, chili pepper flakes & olive oil. Sometimes it’s used as a marinade, but it usually comes on the side of whatever hunk of meat you order. If you order a sandwich with meat (such as choripan), you’ll usually have the option of slathering this all over the bread and you absolutely should.

 

Salsa Criolla

The counterpart to chimichurru, it’s also a side sauce usually made with tiny cubed peppers, onions and vinegar.

Our Favorite Parrillas: Don Julio in Palermo, or El Ñandu in San Isidro.

 

#1 PARRILLADA/ASADO at San Telmo Fair: The Ultimate Guide to What to Eat in Buenos Aires, Argentina --- The Borderless Project

 

2. Provoleta

Provoleta is the Argentinian version of Provolone cheese, but it’s served in a way that is approximately a million times better. Sliced about one-inch thick from a log as wide as your face, it’s thrown on the grill or into a cast-iron skillet and fried until the cheese is gooey and bubbling on the inside, and crispy and charred on the outside. It’s usually seasoned with herbs such as oregano, and it’s often ordered as a starter at a steakhouse, or as a side with a parrillada.

 

#2 PROVOLETA: The Ultimate Guide to What to Eat in Buenos Aires, Argentina --- The Borderless Project

 

3. Empanadas

The same delicious little pastry pockets famous in most of Latin America, empanadas are a quick, cheap and easy staple snack around here. You can order them stuffed full of just about anything, but most have some type of stewed meat, cheese or veggies. Our Argentinian favorites are carne (ground beef; also comes in picante, spicy), humita (creamed corn), queso y cebolla (cheese and onion) & Roquefort (blue cheese).

You can also get dessert empanadas stuffed with sweet jams and chocolates, our favorite is dulce de leche.

Our Favorite Spot to Eat Empanadas: Cumaná in Recoleta

 

#3 EMPANADAS at Cumana in Recoleta: The Ultimate Guide to What to Eat & Where in Buenos Aires, Argentina --- The Borderless Project

 

4. Choripan

Ah, choripan. The adoringly named “sausage bread”, this sandwich is what street food & cheap eating dreams are made of. That beloved Argentine sausage is thrown on the grill, freshly-toasted bread smeared with chimichurri and salsa criolla, and it’s all served up within seconds.

Our Favorite Spot to Eat Choripan: We love eating them at the San Telmo Street Fair (Feira San Telmo), or basically any of the street fairs. You’ll see street stalls or little fast food spots selling them in every part of the city.

 

#4 CHORIPAN at Feria San Telmo: The Ultimate Guide to What to Eat & Where in Buenos Aires, Argentina --- The Borderless Project

 

5. Italian Food

Pizza, pasta, you name it: Buenos Aires has it and you need to eat it. The country has a long history of Italian immigrants and the cuisine shows it with a laundry list of incredible dishes that are now traditional foods of Buenos Aires. Every block is home to multiple pizzerias and Italian cafés serving up the best dishes from the homeland.

Pizza

For fast food or a sit-down meal, you can always count on a great pizza here. The crust is thick, and toppings are wide-ranging. Ask for fresh arugula salad added on top if you order in a restaurant!

Our Favorite Spot to Eat Pizza: Pizzeria Güerrin in Centro

Pasta

Pasta in every shape and size is a common meal for Argentinians, and you can find anything from cheap, stomach-filling plates to high-end dishes. Gnocchi is especially popular, as it’s a tradition to always eat the little potato dumplings on the 29th of each month for good luck and fortune.

Our Favorite Spot to Eat Pasta: Las Cholas in Palermo & Cumaná in Recoleta (for gnocchi) for “Argentinized” Italian, Guido in Palermo for old-school Italian

#5 GNOCCHI: The Ultimate Guide to What to Eat & Where in Buenos Aires, Argentina --- The Borderless Project

Milanesa

The breaded chicken or beef dish is the Italian version of schnitzel. This dish has a cult following here in South America, so if you’re a fan then you should go to its private place of worship so you can really go wild.

Our Favorite Spot to Eat Milanesa: El Clube de la Milanesa all-over the city!

 

6. Matambre Arrollado

Literally meaning “rolled-up hunger killer”, this dish was allegedly created to feed barbecue guests while the rest of the food was cooking. A thin slice of flank steak is stuffed with vegetables, herbs, olives and hard-boiled eggs, and rolled-up before being baked or grilled.  While it’s crucial you eat your thick slabs of steak first in Argentina, this is a classic dish.

 

#5 CHICKEN MILANESA: The Ultimate Guide to What to Eat & Where in Buenos Aires, Argentina --- The Borderless Project

 

Dessert

7. Dulce de Leche

If you thought the steak, wine and pasta we suggested were indulgent, we’re just getting started. The key ingredient to any dessert in Buenos Aires is dulce de leche, the amazing thick caramel spread that will fill your heart with joy. Seriously.

It’s in dessert empanadas, poured onto cakes and cookies, stuffed in alfajores, or just eaten by the spoon (or bucket) -ful. It’s also commonly eaten on toast for breakfast.

Anything that comes with it is highly recommended, and we’re absolutely not judging if you want to go straight to the source and buy a tub in the grocery store and have at it.

Our Favorite Spot for Dulce de Leche: Head to the nearest grocery store and buy La Serenisima (Estilo Colonial)

8. Alfajores

The cutest little cookies ever, these are what dessert-lover’s dreams are made of. Two crumbly biscuits sandwich a filling (often dulce de leche or jam), and sometime the whole thing is dipped in chocolate as well. They’re delicate, rich and you will always have room for at least one.

Our Favorite Spot for Alfajores: Havanna (all throughout the city)

9. Medialunas

Croissants in a sweet glaze, these are often eaten at breakfast time.

Our Favorite Spot for Medialunas: Café Tortoni in Centro (Our overall favorite café, it’s Argentina’s oldest and a must see!)

#9 CAFE TORTONI: The Ultimate Guide to Where to Eat in Buenos Aires, Argentina --- The Borderless Project

What to Drink

10. Yerba Maté

The most Argentina of all, yerba maté is not only a drink here: it’s a ritual. This herb is consumed by everyone, all day every day in Buenos Aires and the rest of the country, and you haven’t fully experienced the culture until you’ve tried some for yourself. Dried and ground leaves are poured into gourds, hot water is poured over the leaves to steep, and the tea is shared amongst friends. It’s highly-caffeinated, yet is drunk all throughout the day and night. If the flavor is too bitter for you, you can also try maté cocido. This version can be ordered in any café, with the leaves in a tea bag and a ton of milk and sugar you can add.

 

#10 YERBA MATE: The Ultimate Guide to What to Eat and Drink in Buenos Aires, Argentina --- The Borderless Project

 

11. Wine

Argentina is famous for having some of the best wine in the world, and the country’s best bottles filter through Buenos Aires. Make sure to try a glass of Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina alongside, well, all of your meals. It’s some of the best wine you’ll ever have, and it’s so cheap you might as well have a bottle each.

 

12. Fernet Branca

Fernet, a popular digestif in Italy, became so popular in Argentina that the company had to open up a second factory just to support the demand. The liqueur is dark and made with a ton of herbs so it has a very unique taste, but it definitely grows on you. Every night you’ll see locals sipping on Fernet & Coca-Cola and if you want a taste of Argentine drinking culture, give it a try.

If you really want to feel like a local, do as the kids do. At house or University parties, Argentineans often get a 2 Liter bottle of Coca-Cola, cut it off just above the label with a knife, burn the edges with a lighter so it’s smooth to drink out of and then pour in Fernet to make a mixed drink with it’s very own portable container. So resourceful!

Our Favorite Spot for a Fernet & Coke: Bar El Federal in San Telmo

 

#12 FERNET BRANCA: The Ultimate Guide to What to Eat & Drink in Buenos Aires, Argentina --- The Borderless Project

 

Happy Eating!

 

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