If you want to live like a Porteño, which means a Buenos Aires local, you have a few things to learn. First of all, as a New Yorker, I thought that we liked to eat late, typically dining at about 9pm on the weekends. Not here though, folks here are just getting started at 10pm, so plan your evenings accordingly. Go late and plan to stay for a while. Take in the ambiance and plenty of wine because service in Buenos Aires restaurants is slow as heck. Embrace your inner patience (the New Yorker in me was doing Yoga moves to try and relax)and try to soak up all the wonderful culture BA has to offer.
Café Tortoni: is the oldest coffee shop in the whole country. When you walk in, you are instantly transported to what feels like an authentic French salon. Café Tortoni preserves the history and culture of the old-time flavor during the height of Buenos Aires. The food here isn’t the best, but the coffees and desserts make a short wait well worth it to be able to soak in this landmark’s rich history.
La Cabrera: Although many tourists swarm this hotspot steakhouse, the locals still fill this restaurant to the gills. So much so that a spillover establishment had to be opened a few doors down. The meat at both locales is excellent and portions are enormous. They also serve a billion complimentary side-dishes and sauces that leave you needing an extra table. Prices are shockingly inexpensive considering the quality and impressive wine list. Plus, they give out complimentary lollipops at the end of your meal! Who doesn’t love that? Try the steak with gorgonzola! YuM!
Piegari: Who had any idea that the Italian food in Buenos Aires was better than most restaurants that I experienced in Italy. Thanks to the enormous Italian immigrant population in BA, authentic pastas, risottos and Italian classics are usually homemade on the premises. This restaurant was my favorite of all the Italian joints we frequented. The portions here were enormous and the service was top notch. I’ll take Piegari over Italy any day! Be sure to get the Carbonara here. Seriously, my mouth is watering as I mention it.
El Mirasol: One of the city’s best upscale steakhouses in my opinion. It’s more traditional and a bit fancier than La Cabrera. Everything here is delicious but you simply must try a ground beef empanada. Service here was great and very friendly.
Elena, Four Seasons: This hotspot is best known for its Sunday brunch. It is truly an experience. There is no dish that they don’t serve at this indulgent buffet, but my absolute favorite was the dulce de leche waffle!
Astrid & Gaston: This Peruvian restaurant is an outpost of the original location in Lima, Peru. Located in a quaint townhouse, the décor is traditional and luxurious. You must try the ceviche and the potato croquettes.
Havanna: My favorite place for my morning coffee and afternoon pick-me-up! You must have an espresso drink here and an alfajor, probably considered among the best in Argentina.
La Biela- Sip an espresso outside the famous landmark of Recoleta cemetery. A classic BA hotspot for locals. The food isn’t anything special but a great place for sips and snacks.