I’m not a foodie. I love food, like everybody else does, but I must admit my taste buds are not nearly as cultivated as those belonging to the foodie royalty of Buenos Aires. In fact, it is probable that I could experience the most delicious meal in my entire life and forget about what I had 30 minutes later. “Sure, it was the best burger I ever tasted. It contained beef and… something else.”
To me, eating out is a wholesome experience in which the originality of the menu goes hand in hand with the ambiance of the establishment. And the Buenos Aires restaurant, bar and café scenes thrive on that. So here’s a list of some of my favorite places around the city. Just make sure you don’t go when I’m there. I don’t like sharing.
1. Perón Perón
If you want to get in touch with your inner Peronist and surround yourself with Evita and Cristina memorabilia, then Perón Perón is a must-visit. Try the osobuco empanadas, the locro for main course and the flan with dulce de leche for dessert while enjoying the political propaganda on the walls and TV screens. It’s an immersive experience of Argentine politics, even though it’s located in the heart of the not-so-Peronist Palermo. Angel Carranza 2225, Palermo Hollywood.
2. Enfundá la Mandolina
Oh, and don’t worry. If political apathy is your thing but you still enjoy retro pop culture you can always drop by Enfundá la Mandolina for dinner. It’s somewhat distant from the busy SoHo streets but worth every peso. Not only will you feel like you’re being served in a flea market, they also use tiles for plates! That is totally worth a trip. That and the fact that they serve you warm wine in old tiny ink bottles. Don’t miss the chicken suprema with mandioca. Because I said so. Salguero 1440, Palermo.
3. Bar du Marché
Those two definitely have an Argentine flair, but the third one certainly doesn’t. Bar du Marché is a small restaurant in Palermo Hollywood (yes, Palermo again, don’t roll your eyes) that will take you and your spouse/lover/friend with benefits to the streets of Paris. Not that the street where it’s located looks like Paris, of course. It so doesn’t. But once you’ve had one of the cheese platters and a glass of wine, you’ll be feeling like King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Pre-beheading, obviously. Also, there’s sushi, for some reason. Nicaragua 5946, Palermo Hollywood.
4. El Desnivel
Contrary to popular belief, Argentine food doesn’t revolve around beef. Problem is, many people don’t care. Many people feast on asado while visiting the land of the Pampas and who could blame them? We truly have the best beef here. However, while many choose the fancy, über-expensive parrillas to devour a regular choripán with fries, I prefer the more authentic experience. At least one that doesn’t feel like a tourist trap. So if you want a great bife de chorizo travel all the way to San Telmo and grab a table at El Desnivel. Overcrowded? Maybe. Classy decoration? Sure, if plastic flowers are classy. Great meat? You bet. Defensa 855, San Telmo.
5. Florencio Bistro
Then there’s the one I choose when I’m feeling anti-social. It’s not that often, believe it or not. But when I feel like I need to concentrate on my work and go off the grid, there is just one place I like to go to, and that’s Florencio, a small café that’s a few blocks away from the busy corner of Pueyrredón and Las Heras, but so small that you’ll probably miss it if you don’t know the address. No, really. It’s very small. There’s, like, three tables inside, and one of them will probably be taken by me, so chances are you won’t be able to sit. Try the cheesecake. And bring a GPS. Finding it may take longer than you think. Francisco de Vittoria 2363, Recoleta.
There you have it. I had close to 20 more places to add to this list but I was told people really didn’t care that much for my opinion. I guess five will have to do. Have fun!
Adrian Bono is a host and journalist on InfobaeTV and the Editor-In-Chief of The Bubble. He previously worked for the Buenos Aires Herald and The Argentina Independent and contributed regularly at Ambito Financiero. He was born in Spain.