Eat Like a Local in Buenos Aires
Eating out in Buenos Aires is no longer all about beef – if you know where to go. Luckily for me, I was able to enlist a veritable army of local friends and acquaintances during my latest trip to Argentina – a diverse group of food lovers who showed me just how diverse the city’s culinary options have become. Forget parillas and start broadening your horizons in a country still (wrongly) pigeon-holed as the land of beef.
You’re craving Italian, you say? I know just the spot. Salgado Alimentos (Ramírez de Velasco 401) used only to sell their exquisite homemade pastas, but they recently opened up a cozy restaurant to serve them. Located on a quiet side street in the up and coming neighborhood of Villa Crespo, you can’t go wrong with any of the ravioles of canelones, but the ravioles de salmon rosado are a huge house hit.
You’ve never seen a more surprised tourist than when I alighted with a friend upon Buenos Aires’s bona fide Jewish deli. La Crespo (Thames 612) is getting rave reviews from local foodies. Anyone missing her hometown family-run deli should order up the pastrami sandwich with crisp pickles and Dijon mustard. You will never forgive yourself if you skip the cheesecake dessert.
There is a place where they serve a magical dish called brie-stuffed bread and the name of this place is a`Manger (Charcas 4001). A few blocks away from the crowds in Plaza Serrano you’ll find this quiet gem that tourists haven’t yet discovered.
Half the place is a stuffed with take-home items: deep green olives, pickled vegetables, sun-dried tomatoes, not to mention the perfectly aged meats and cheeses. The other half houses a cozy restaurant.
Word on the street is that Dada Bistro (San Martin 941), anartsy hangout, has the best steak in town. They also serve up a mean Pisco Sour and a heavenly phyllo wrapped morbier cheese salad topped with onion jam. Dada proves that the microcenter is often unfairly left out of culinary mix in Buenos Aires.
Low-key celebrities like Gael Garcia Bernal have been spotted at Hierbabuena (Av. Caseros 454), anorganic restaurant in San Telmo, the city’s most famous historic neighborhood. Skip the Sunday market and instead head here for spinach and mushroom risotto and veggie burgers.
El Sanjuanino (Posadas 1515) might be my favorite restaurant in the city – and one of the cheapest to boot. This empanada institution has been around for almost fifty years. Surrounded by more expensive, touristy fare in the heart of Recoleta, El Sanjuanino sticks to succulent homemade empanadas, over-baked or deep-fried, and traditional locro. This delicious thick stew is the patriotic meal of Argentina’s Independence Day.
Casa Mun (Palermo) is a “puerto cerrado,” one of BA’s famous “closed door” restaurants, i.e. coveted dining experiences in the homes of chefs open only a few nights a week. Here Chef Mun, who studied under Iron Chef Makota Okuwa, prepares Californian flavors with traditional Japanese, Korean and Chinese cuisines in a city with relatively few Asian food options. The menu changes weekly, but one of the chef’s specialties is slow cooked Korean short ribs on top of chestnut and wasabi mashed potato.
My best tip for keeping up with the local culinary scene in B.A.? Follow the food adventures of Allie Lazar at Pickupthefork.com. You can watch her eat her way through the city then follow in her surprisingly skinny footsteps.
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