We’ve visited Buenos Aires many times over the years and we just finished another three months of eating our way through the Argentinean capital where we were thrilled by the food and the energy of a new crop of chefs and restauranteurs pioneering a fresh dining scene in the city. Here we reveal where you should eat in Buenos Aires right now including 14 next-wave restaurants and a bonus round of tried and true neighborhood snack stops. We’ll tell you what you need to know about the established top-rated restaurants in Buenos Aires in our next post.Post-pandemic, the restaurant landscape in Buenos Aires emerged as a more relaxed and more flexible environment with grateful diners eager to welcome and support restaurants of all kinds in all areas of the city. This, plus a glut of cut-rate real estate, opened doors for young chefs offering new culinary concepts.
The result is that Buenos Aires is one of the most dynamic food capitals in Latin America right now thanks in large part to a compelling landscape of creativity and daring at these next-wave places to eat in Buenos Aires right now.
During our reporting, Argentina was going through yet another massive shudder in its economy which meant that menu prices were changing daily in some cases. Therefore, we have not included prices in this post. All restaurants generally fall into the mid-range price category unless noted as particularly expensive or particularly inexpensive.
Where to eat in Buenos Aires right now: 14 next-wave winners (and one disappointment)
Head to these innovative restaurants to be a part of where the food action in Buenos Aires is happening right now.
JuliaWe managed to get a reservation at this 22-seat place in the Villa Crespo area of Buenos Aires shortly after it squeaked onto the 2022 list of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants at number 50. We predict that Julia will claw its way up from there. Created by chef Julio Baez and named after his daughter, the Julia team runs what they call a cocina indie or independent kitchen as free from expectations, restrictions, and conventions as possible. On the plate, this means that ala carte and tasting menu dishes (on the pricey side) are fully formed gorgeous creatures with an emphasis on texture. Meticulously chopped squid in yogurt pesto came topped with slices of avocado precisely shingled on top for a silky smooth experience (pictured top left). Okra in nori seaweed vinaigrette was salty, tangy, and startling as the nori took on the texture of sun-dried tomatoes (pictured bottom left). Tender and mild Patagonian trout came with grilled asparagus and fermented carrot ver blanc poured tableside (pictured bottom middle). Our ample dessert featured homemade squares of marshmallow charred on the outside and sticky/chewy on the inside (textures again) with toasted coconut, sliced strawberries, and chocolate sauce (pictured bottom right). The small and eclectic wine list has many winners (let the somm help) and Julio recently opened a new wine-centric place called Franca Fuego y Vino located a few blocks from Julia.
La Alacena TrattoriaWe could eat at La Alacena Trattoria in the Palermo area of Buenos Aires every damn day. In fact, we ate here more frequently than at any other Buenos Aires restaurant. Here’s what we wrote about this low-key hot spot when we named it the Best Italian Restaurant of 2022: “In a town full of Italian immigrants, La Alacena Trattoria is an Italian food standout. Helmed by a young female chef, this scrappy restaurant is not beholding to terms like “classic” or “nouveau”. Instead, they’re in hot pursuit of “simply delicious” with dishes like baby calamari on a bed of creamy white beans with a dollop of pesto (pictured to right) and bucatini Arrabiata with sausage (pictured bottom right) coming out of the tiny open kitchen. All pasta is homemade, the wine selection is quirky and well-priced (this is a great place to try a new-to-you bottle), and there are fantastic fish dishes and meat dishes too.”
Bar RomaThe co-owner of Bar Roma in the Abasto neighborhood of Buenos Aires literally wrote the book on Buenos Aires-style pizza. Then he started wondering why other styles of pizza were being celebrated and tweaked in the city, but not the beloved fugazetta (a sauceless pizza piled high with cheese and thin slices of red onion, white onion, and green onion). Bar Roma was opened, in a rescued and rehabilitated historic deli and neighborhood institution that dates back to 1927, to remedy that. Here the pizza oven churns out respectful reinventions of porteño style pizza using dough made with organic wheat. One pizza is inspired by tango icon Carlos Gardel who lived nearby. Delicious empanadas, a creative vermouth-based cocktail menu, plus beer and wine round out the casual good times. Hot tip: Any large pizza can be ordered half and half which allows you to try two different types of pizza in one pie.
AnafeOne of the most old-school of the new-school places to eat in Buenos Aires is Anafe. What started as a closed-door restaurant morphed into a food truck before opening as a full-fledged restaurant in the Colegiales neighborhood. The indoor/outdoor space fills fast (reservations are a must) with a mix of hip young locals, older local couples, groups of women, and gaggles of travelers (we heard a lot of English being spoken at neighboring tables). All have come for the food which is unafraid of risk. The current craze for tartare was personalized here using fragrant deer meat instead of beef (pictured top right). Octopus saffron rice came paella style in a shallow and sizzling cast iron pan with slices of morcilla (blood sausage) on top which melted into the dish when stirred, enriching it with even more flavor (pictured bottom). The wine list is long and compelling, options by the glass change daily, and service is attentive (though our starters came out at breakneck speed). At #55 (just a few notches off the 2022 list of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants), the chefs/owners of Anafe can practically smell victory and we predict they’ll make the cut for the coveted 50 Best list next year.
Bodegon MenganoBodegon Mengano, in the Palermo Soho neighborhood, is not a new restaurant (it opened in 2018). Its chef/owner, Facundo Kelman, however, was very much new to us and, despite a resume that includes time in the lauded kitchen of Tegui, he is very much unsung (so far) in the Buenos Aires restaurant scene. This needs to change. Facundo’s stylish and bustling take on a traditional bodegon (a place where immigrants ate affordable versions of dishes from Spain and Italy) is inventive and laid back with an open kitchen and a lively vibe. Of all of the dishes we ate at Bodegon Mengano (including a world-class empanada pictured top right), Facundo’s reinvented chicken with scallion sauce (a bodegon classic) stood out with a combination of breast and thigh meat wrapped in a leak on a bed of chicken liver in a broth made from the chicken carcass topped with chicken skin chips (pictured bottom left). This whole animal treatment was the best chicken we’ve had in years. Hot tip: Facundo is almost always in the kitchen except on Saturdays.
Ajo NegroThere are an increasing number of fish and seafood restaurants in Buenos Aires. A standout is Ajo Negro “Mar de Tapas” in the Chacarita neighborhood of the city. This long narrow space presents its ambitious dishes simply with a menu divided into small tapas and large tapas. There are six red wines to choose from and six white wines to choose from. Make your choices and watch young tattooed chefs rock out to Ozzy Osborne as they delicately tweezer herbs to finish plating dishes using raw, cooked, and dry-aged fish and seafood (the restaurant built its own dry ager). A spongy bao bun arrived stuffed with tender marinated raw fish with peanuts, julienned ginger, and cilantro. Nearly transparent chipirones (small calamari) came in a silky broth dotted with morsels of toothsome pasta (pictured bottom right). And save room for dessert…Hot tip: this place does not take reservations, so turn up a few minutes before opening time and try to get seats at the bar in front of the kitchen so you can see all the action.
ChuíChuí in Villa Crespo is the most fully-formed of the new batch of vegetarian places to eat in Buenos Aires. Here’s what we wrote when we named Chuí as the best vegetarian restaurant of 2022: “Chuí is the kind of vegetarian restaurant a city like Buenos Aires deserves: daring, unexpected, never done pushing. You will not find a “veg burger” on the menu. The treatment of vegetables here does not rely on attempting to stand in for meat. They do their own fermenting, foster a wide range of mushrooms, and seem to be genuinely curious about how far an all-veg ethos can go under chef Leonardo Govetto Sosa. Standouts include a complex, bright, sweet, and almost fatty green pea hummus with mint, Patagonian extra virgin olive oil, and a topping of fired raw peas. A charred avocado half came with kimchi and leche de tigre (made from a base of nuts instead of fish) is gorgeous to look at (pictured bottom left) and full of nuttiness, fattiness, and deep flavor. A large variety of evenly browned, softened, and seasoned mushrooms on a bed of pureed lentils and green apple with crunchy dry Yamani rice got a jolt from fresh lime and we couldn’t stop eating it (pictured bottom middle). And don’t get us started about the fantastic pizzas…”
Na NumNa num means “to share” in Korean and this tiny restaurant is certainly part of the trend toward shared plates, but with its own distinct culinary twist. Opened by Korean Argentinean Marina Lis Ra in the Chacarita neighborhood, Na Num brings true spice, fermented ingredients, pickled ingredients, and bold sweet/savory combos. For example, Marina’s take on a humita (a sweet tamale) swaps almond milk for cow milk (making the dish vegan too) and adds kimchee, pickled turnip, and a burned sugar crust topped with watercress and dusted with sumac. It’s a creamy, sweet, crunchy, sour, and umami reinvention that’s both lighter and more complex than a traditional humita. Whatever you do, don’t miss the slow-cooked gochujang pork ribs (pictured bottom right) that come to the table glossy in a spicy glaze that’s sweet, caramelized, and sticky. The meat is so tender it falls off the bone so it can mingle nicely with a side of white rice. A salad of greens and candied peanuts in a light creamy dressing balances the plate. Reservations are a must for one of two nightly set seatings. If the door is locked, just knock.
CatalinoCatalino, a small restaurant on an otherwise residential street in the Colegiales area of Buenos Aire, does not take reservations so arrive near opening time (look for the tiny sign near a buzzer) and wait on the sidewalk with other eager diners until a staff member opens the front door of a modest house that now serves as the restaurant. A small bar and smattering of tables exist in what was the living room under a high ceiling with exposed beams. More tables have been placed in the slim garden and tiled carport area where the restaurant’s mascot, a hen named Catalina, struts and clucks around diner’s legs (she appears harmless and trots on over when staff members call her, but a sign warns: don’t touch or feed the chicken). Like the overall look and feel of the place (which calls itself a cocina sincera or sincere kitchen), Catalino’s small menu offers dishes that are homey and bohemian. Wild boar empanadas (pictured top left) are juicy and light. A choripan (Argentina’s beloved sausage sandwich) comes in a toasted homemade sourdough bun (pictured bottom left). Artichoke hearts slow-roasted in a clay oven are browned and succulent and dotted with spicy pepper sauce (pictured right). Heartier appetites are satisfied with venison goulash with spaetzle and wild boar ribs with French fries. A small list of beers and wines by the bottle and by the glass plus vermouth cocktails invite lingering, even though you know there are others waiting on the sidewalk.
Sifon SoderiaSifon Soderia in the Chacarita neighborhood is a chef favorite place to eat in Buenos Aires thanks to its causal vibe, solid ready-to-share small plates, and easy-going vermouth cocktails. The osso buco empanadas (pictured bottom left) were lightly fried and amply stuffed with tender well-spiced meat. A plate of fried fish fingers on a bed of babaghanoush with a cilantro salad in a slightly sweet, slightly Asian sauce was lively and satisfying. And tender meatballs came on light and silky mashed cauliflower dusted with zingy paprika (pictured bottom middle). Named for beloved traditional refillable soda water dispensers called sifones in Spanish, this indoor/outdoor space (the back garden is more peaceful than the sidewalk tables) has high ceilings and an industrial look and feel with a color palette that playfully riffs on the blue color of the sifon bottles.
La CarniceriaLa Carniceria in Palermo (which we first visited in 2019) was at the pointy end of the next-wave trend of upstart propositions with its mission to shake up some of the stuffy stereotypes of what a parrilla restaurant should be. La Carniceria continues to redefine the genre with a young, hip vibe, quality meat produced on family ranches, and a creative kitchen. Reservations required.
Niño GordoThe team behind La Carniceria also created Niño Gordo (Fat Baby) in Palermo Soho. This “Asian parrilla” is every bit as surprising and delicious as that sounds which is why Niño Gordo landed at number 75 on the 2022 list of Latin America’s 100 Best Restaurants. The decor is loud punky Asian, the crowd is festive, and the menu is small but packed with winners. Tataki de Bife (pictured top left) comes as a mound of tender sweet sushi rice wrapped in nearly translucent slices of raw ojo de bife (rib eye) topped with an egg yolk and dots of wasabi–just mix and eat. And we can’t stop dreaming about the Katsusando “milanesa” sandwich (pictured bottom right) which is a square of ojo de bife (rib eye) flash-fried then placed on thick-cut brioche toast that’s been slathered with mayonnaise on one side and black tonkatsu on the other. The meat is impossibly soft and smooth–more like black and blue tuna than a hunk of beef–and the sweet/buttery bread and sauces perk the whole thing up. Hot tip: Niño Gordo may be adding a fish version of the sandwich to the menu (we tried it and it’s wonderful). Reservations highly, highly recommended.
Corte CharcuteriaNotes from our first visit to Corte Charcuteria in the Belgrano neighborhood begin with “Lord help us this place is good.” After sitting at one of the outdoor tables, our plan to “just have a little late afternoon snack” soon ballooned. First came a sandwich of melt-in-your-mouth housemade pastrami on a very light bagel with grainy mustard and house pickles for a rich, chewy, crunchy, salty, smoky, tangy experience that earned it our Best Sandwich of 2022 award (pictured bottom left). Next up was a wedge of faina (a chickpea bread) topped with thinly-sliced housemade mortadella and a half-ball of burrata (not too runny) sprinkled with toasty pistachios (pictured top right). The deli portion of the restaurant is a great source of sliced meats, cheeses, wines, and crusty bread to take away. Did we mention the 100 grams of rich, tender, perfectly marbled soppressata dry-aged salami and the bread basket with anchovy lardo?
After our experience at Corte Charcuteria, we had high hopes for its sister restaurant Corte Comedor in Belgrano on the border with Chinatown. This parrilla, helmed by chefs who’ve worked with Argentina’s most famous grill master Francis Mallmann, was generating a lot of buzz, so we booked a table for a late lunch to celebrate Eric’s birthday. The dining room at Corte Comeor has an open live-fire grill area, indoor/outdoor seating, and an uplifting teal color scheme. Though very much on the pricey side of parrillas in Buenos Aires, we went for it. Our morcilla (blood sausage) was very greasy and also somehow lumpy and not spreadable as it normally is. The chorizo sausage was better but way too salty. Our ojo de bife (rib-eye steak) arrived way more cooked than we’d ordered it, but our waiter was nowhere to be found and no one else came to the table to ask how our food was. With the meat getting colder by the minute, we cut into it and tried to enjoy it. Our French fries did not arrive with our steak and when they did finally appear, they were absolutely doused in salt. Our side order of smoked zucchini included four small zucchini cut length-wise but they were so undercooked that they were still cold and crunchy in the middle. A sprinkling of salty ricotta and weirdly sweet candied pistachios (not almonds as described on the menu) did not help. Nor did the fact that our wine glasses sat empty, staff used a dining table near us to start spraying and disinfecting plates and glasses for dinner service, a can of bug spray sat in the cabinet along with wine glasses, and we could see chefs at the open grill wipe their noses and eating from jars with their fingers. And despite indicating, when I reserved, that we would be celebrating a birthday no one at the restaurant ever acknowledged the special event in any way. Spend your money elsewhere.
MaizIt’s worth the trip to the Nordelta area north of the city to visit Maiz where chef Felícitas Pizarro (pictured top right)–famous for her cookbooks, TV shows in Argentina, and guest appearances on international food shows including “Somebody Feed Phil”–has opened her first restaurant. Inside the pale, minimalist, sun-drenched cafe you’ll find select local cheeses, olives (some of the best we had in Argentina), cured meats (including pastrami from Corte Charcuteria), very satisfying salads, and a smart offering of hand-selected wines. Outside, a large parrilla area lets Feli (as everyone calls the effervescent chef) exercise her love of all things grilled (her latest TV show is called “Felicitas Grills”).
Bonus: budget food finds in Buenos Aires
Hunger can strike anywhere, anytime. Here are tried and true casual and affordable food options in neighborhoods around the city for when you need to eat now.
NOLANOLA in Palermo was one of the first places we ate at during an early visit to Buenos Aires years ago and we’re here to say it’s still going strong. Head to NOLA for homemade Cajun food including epic fried chicken, gumbo, and jambalaya plus local craft beer, a tight but varied wine selection, generous daily happy hour specials, a great funk soundtrack, and typically New Orleans service (slow) from an owner who’s from New Orleans.
EretzEretz existed for many years in another part of the city before moving to Villa Crespo in 2022. The new space has a small outdoor sitting area at the entrance, followed by a glassed-in semi-outdoor area and then indoor seating. In this garden-like environment, Israeli favorites are served up. Eggplant is roasted whole then skinned to reveal the smoky, silky, slightly-sweet flesh. Kebabs, made with meat from Patagonia plus onion and spices, came atop more roasted eggplant. Succulent shawarma, made with ojo de bife (rib eye), was served over tender roasted squash. Plus, the pita bread was fresh, the coleslaw was crunchy, and the daily set lunch meal is a bonafide bargain. Hot tip: check the Eretz Facebook page for weekly passwords that get you 50% off on certain days of the week.
El Hornero in the San Telmo Market has been one of our tried and true snack stops in Buenos Aires for years. The empanadas here are baked or fried, come with a wide range of fillings, and are made fresh (as you can see in our video above). Be prepared to wait for your order. This place is popular.
La ConcinaAnother beloved place to pick up fresh empanadas is La Cocina with two locations (one in Recoleta and Montserrat). These tiny shops have a few stools inside but most people order to go. These are not our favorite empanadas in Buenos Aires, but if you prefer a heartier, slightly sweet crust you’ll love them.
ChoriFrom the team behind La Carniceria and Niño Gordo comes Chori in the Palermo Soho area of the city. Here the humble and beloved choripan sandwich (a sausage–or chorizo in Spanish–inside a bun) gets a makeover with high-quality meat (including lamb), gourmet toppings, and homemade buns. These are Argentinean sausage sandwiches done without skimping and with plenty of love.
Siamo nel FornoPorteños love their pizza weighed down with thick crust and mounds of oozy cheese, but the city’s pizza palette is expanding and a number of true Neopolitan-style pizzerias have opened in the city. Our favorite remains Siamo Nel Forno in the Palermo Hollywood neighborhood. It’s not the newest or the flashiest, but their wood-burning oven turns out pizzas with a thin, chewy, salty crust topped with a range of traditional high-quality ingredients. Try the faina (chickpea bread) too while you’re at it. The wine list is small but smart, the salads are great, the service is good, and the simple room is charming. They don’t take reservations and Siamo nel Forno is only open at night. It should be noted that Siamo nel Forno is the only pizzeria in Argentina that’s received official certification from the VeraPizza Napoletana (AVPN) certification organization.
Got a favorite restaurant in Buenos Aires that you don’t see in this post? Don’t keep it to yourself! Tell us about where you love to eat in Buenos Aires in the comments section below.
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