Typical Argentine Merienda

(Photo by amanky)

In Argentina we follow the Spanish-Italian tradition of the merienda, better known in the Anglo world as afternoon tea. It is basically a small meal between lunch and dinner. Although the culinary options nowadays have broadened and include treats such as muffins and bruschettas, classic Argentine meriendas consist of:

Cafe con leche and medialunas: A typical local staple served at all hours consisting of coffee with milk and yummy croissants made of lard (de grasa) or butter (de manteca).  In winter the coffee might be substituted by a submarino (a piece of chocolate dunked into hot milk).

Mate and facturas: Sugar and a caffeine like booster (mateine) come together in this combination of bitter mate and sweet pastries filled with dulce de leche, custard and quince jam.

Licuado de Banana and Tostado de jamón y queso: A favourite for Spring and Summer, this combination of banana and milk smoothie and grilled ham and cheese sandwich on special crustless bread, is a great afternoon energy booster.

Tea with milk and toast: The simplest version of the snacking combinations, and the one most commonly found in households. Toppings for toast are of course dulce de leche, maybe jam and for the light version cream cheese.

Top 5 Happy Hours in BA

Doppelganger: This trendy San Telmo bar specializes in cocktails made from top quality spirits and liqueurs placing an emphasis on gins and vodkas. Their happy hour menu consists of 30 different drinks to choose from, their 2*1 promo allows customers to pick two different cocktails from the list! Happy Hour: Tue-Fri 7pm-9pm. Av. Juan de Garay 500, San Telmo. 4300-0201

Gran Bar Danzón: This trendy lounge bar offers a wonderful variety of wines and is usually full of people vouching for its quality and great atmosphere.  Their wine happy hours, Mon-Fri from 7pm-9pm and Sat-Sun from 8pm-10pm present exciting new wines in the market and are a great way to try something new. Libertad 1161, Downtown. 4811-1108.

Hernán Gipponi: Fierro Hotel’s ground floor restaurant has recently incorporated a happy hour on Tuesdays through Saturdays from 6pm-8pm featuring Argentine inspired drinks (35 pesos x 2) and a savory selection of tapas (happy hour menu here). An added plus is the lovely garden where guests can sit in to enjoy cocktails and snacks. Soler 5862, Palermo Hollywood. 3220-6800. info@hgrestaurant.com.ar.

Le Bar: Set in an old downtown building, reminiscent of the cities golden years,  and yet with a vibrant modern design, this four floor restaurant-bar with a terrace has become one of the city’s top places to go to.  Their happy hour is held on weekdays from 6pm-10pm,  and brings in a lot of nearby office-ers, and their special Thursday happy hour that runs on to 12pm is perfect for pre-party drinking. Tucuman 422, Downtown. 5219-0858. Open Mon-Sat from midday-2am.

Gibraltar: This popular English pub in the San Telmo area has  great draught beer, delicious curries, and a friendly laid back atmosphere, important assets for  a good happy hour. Their happy hour runs every day from 6pm-10pm and if you wish to stay on, the bar remains open well into the dawn.  Peru 895, San Telmo. 4632-5310. Opening Hours: 6pm-4am.