This post is part 7 of 15 in the series Buenos Aires, Argentina City Travel Guide

The capital of Argentina is a city with a long culinary history and many beloved restaurants have become reliable crowd favorites. When you’re in search of reliable food and service and happy local diners, head for these top tried-and-true restaurants in Buenos Aires.

empanadas buenos aires

Find out which tried-and-true restaurant in Buenos Aires offers these crowd-pleasing wagyu empanadas.

Tried-and-true restaurants in Buenos Aires

We followed the crowds to these tried-and-true restaurants in Buenos Aires and you should too.

Argentina is currently going through yet another massive shudder in its economy which means that menu prices are changing daily in some cases. Therefore, we have not included specific prices in this post.

Café Mishiguene

Mishiguene Cafe Buenos Aires

Find style and serious Jewish food favorites at Café Mishiguene, a more casual spin-off from the celebrated Mishiguene Restaurant.

Opened by the same team behind Mishiguene (more about that wonderful restaurant in our post about Acclaimed Restaurants in Buenos Aires), stylish Café Mishiguene, in the Palermo area of Buenos Aires delivers a pared-down (but no less buttoned up) offering of Jewish food favorites. Of course, you can get a bagel and lox and there’s a succulent pastrami sandwich (pictured above, left) and don’t miss the lajmayin which is a kind of Middle Eastern pizza (pictured above left). It comes piping hot out of a real Italian pizza oven topped with fresh tomato sauce, herby green sauce with a mild jalapeno kick, and a generous portion of lamb sausage. It’s delicious and filling and you can eat it with your hands.

Narda Comedor

Narda Comedor Buenos Aires

A celebrity chef committed to reducing meat consumption has been proving her point (deliciously) for years at Narda Comedor.

Argentinean chef, TV personality, and author Narda Lepes opened  Narda Comedor in the Belgrano area of Buenos Aires in 2017 and this chic cafe/restaurant has been amplifying her pragmatic yet passionate advocacy for eating less meat ever since. To be clear, she’s not pushing for everyone to become vegetarian and the menu at Narda Comedor (which has been on and off then back on the list of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants for years) includes some wonderful meat dishes. But Narda is committed to proving that a meat-free dish can be just as indulgent and satisfying. Case in point: her crunchy, light tempura eggplant dish perfectly mimics the texture and shape of shrimp. Narda Comedor also offers wonderful set lunch meals on weekdays and this is one of the few restaurants at this level in Buenos Aires that’s open all day long from breakfast through dinner and into the night with no afternoon break.

Cucina Paradiso Mercato

Cucina Paradiso Buenos Aires

You’ll find lovingly crafted Italian food (including a gluten-free location) at Cucina Paradiso.

For years, Cucina Paradiso Mercato shop and restaurant, in the Palermo Hollywood neighborhood of the city, dished up beloved Italian dishes and sold ingredients for home cooks. The original Palermo Hollywood location has now gone gluten-free and six spin-off locations (with full-gluten offerings) have cropped up around the city. Read your menu carefully (most, but not all pastas are homemade) then get ready for perfect cao y pepa, pillowy focaccia, and rich rabbit ragu. We hope they can keep quality high as they expand.

Yiyo el Zeneize

Yiyo el Zeneize historic eatery

Yiyo el Zeneize is a locals’ favorite and a neighborhood institution.

The best part of our visit to Yiyo el Zeneize, in the Parque Avellaneda area of Buenos Aires, came right at the beginning. We arrived at this historic place on a whim on a weekend without a reservation which meant we had to wait for a table. While waiting, we were placated with sangria (made with their own white wine) served in charming etched vintage stemware along with small plates of some of the best olives we’ve ever had. That makes sense when you remember that Yiyo el Zeneize, which recently celebrated 100 years in business in this same corner location, started as an olive processing operation. The stroll through the rambling building to our table revealed a structure heaving and crumbling under the weight of its years and the proliferation of old-time paraphernalia. First, a paper bag with a fresh roll and a slice of focaccia arrived along with a sweet and creamy whipped carrot spread. Then, despite the fact that we’d asked for dishes one at a time, all of our dishes arrived at once. Unfortunately, fried empanadas filled with mortadella and mozzarella (pictured above, bottom left) were bland and a bit greasy. The chipa (a baked dome of dough) was filled with excessively sweet pulled pork (pictured bottom middle). Pique de hembra came as slices of nearly tasteless beef marinated in citrus and Magi sauce over rustic cut fries and sliced cherry tomatoes and was not improved by the very sweet pepper jelly that came with it. For us, the sense of living history and the festive atmosphere are both pleasing, but the food did not justify the schlep out to this part of town but the crowds just keep coming.

Dada Bistro

Dada Bistro, is a locals’ favorite in the Retiro neighborhood and it was one of the very first places we ate at during one of our earliest visits to Buenos Aires. It remains a go-to for us because of the true bistro ambiance, small but solid menu, welcoming bar, open-all-day hours, and Mateo from Venice holding court and welcoming all with grace. This is the kind of stylish, popular, yet casual bistro that every neighborhood needs.

La Cabrera

La Cabrera meat happy hour

Don’t miss the legendary Meat Happy Hour at no-nonsense La Cabrera.

La Cabrera has been slinging meat in the Palermo area of the city since long before Don Julio was conceived. It’s a no-nonsense place for no-nonsense meat and also home to the Meat Happy Hour. Every day between 6:30 pm and 8:00 pm the La Cabrera annex, located across the intersection from the original La Cabrera location, offers 40% off everything on the menu (including wine) and they’re not skimping on portion size. Everything we ordered, including mollejas (sweetbreads), morcilla (blood sausage), arugula salad, and a butterflied bife de chorizo (strip steak), was huge. Pro tips: Since you will literally be kicked out at 8 pm (at which point staff reset the dining room for an evening of patrons paying full price), it’s best to have your order ready when you sit down so your meal is not too ridiculously rushed. And you can’t make a reservation for the Meat Happy Hour, so turn up by 6:15 to get a spot in line. It’s not elegant, but it is nearly half the price.

Madre Rojas

The crowds come for wagyu beef many ways at relative newcomer Madre Rojas.

Opened in 2021, Madre Rojas is a newcomer compared to many of the classic restaurants in Buenos Aires. However, this parrilla restaurant in the Villa Crespo neighborhood is already drawing crowds. The owners have been raising wagyu beef for more than 25 years so it’s no surprise that their twist on parrilla is a menu studded with creative ways to use wagyu. The wagyu chorizo (pictured above bottom left) was glossy, crispy, and spicy with a bright dash of yellow pickled peppers and sweet grilled onion on the side. Wagyu empanadas (pictured above top right) came lightly fried, super plump, and filled with tender meat enhanced with onion and spices and served with Bolivian llajwa sauce for a change. And French fries cooked in wagyu fat were every bit as crunchy/creamy/decadent as you think. We visited Madre Rojas on a Tuesday night and this neighborhood favorite was packed with locals including long tables of friends, a family celebrating a birthday, couples on dates, and families with kids.

El Obrero

Our colleague, journalist Michael Luongo, wrote some of the first comprehensive travel guidebooks about Buenos Aires. On his sage advice, we celebrated Eric’s birthday at El Obrero in the La Boca neighborhood. That was more than 15 years ago–during our very first visit to Buenos Aires–and we were (pleasantly) overwhelmed by the blaring soccer matches on the TV, no-nonsense service, and crowds of locals (some fancy, some very much not) whoofing down huge portions of Argentinean favorites. To call this place, which opened in 1954, a classic bodegon (traditionally, an affordable restaurant for immigrant workers offering dishes from the homeland) is an understatement. There’s a chalkboard menu, the walls are covered in futbol paraphernalia and snapshots of famous patrons, and the TV seems to be always showing a soccer match. Family-owned El Obrero closed during the pandemic, and it looked unlikely that the place would be able to re-open until investors stepped in to get the doors open. In 2022, we visited El Obrero again with our friends Megan and Barrett and we are happy to report that the family is still running things, portions are still huge, and soccer is still being shown on the TV which is watched by a crowd of loyal locals.

Cafe Bar Oriente

Cafe Bar Oriente Buenos Aires

Head to Cafe Bar Oriente for the milanesas and the old-school ambiance.

There is nothing fancy or hip about Cafe Bar Oriente, in the working-class Villa Ortúzar neighborhood of Buenos Aires, and that’s how locals like it. They also like this casual combo eatery (part coffee shop, part cheap meals) for its enormous, crispy, and tender milanesas (pounded, breaded, and fried meat). And we did too.

 

Got a favorite tried-and-true restaurant in Buenos Aires that you don’t see in this post? Don’t keep it to yourself! Tell us about the tried-and-true places you love to eat at in Buenos Aires in the comments section below.

 

Here’s more about travel in Argentina

Here’s more about Eating & Drinking in the Americas

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