Updated: Sep 23, 2022
There are so many great places to eat, but these are five of the best restaurants in Buenos Aires that we found while visiting the cosmopolitan foodie city. Keep in mind that these options align with pretty traditional Argentinian foods, which are heavily meat centric. As in, even the main meat course comes with a side of meat…seriously. Argentina is famous the world over for its beef because they still hold sacred the idea of producing livestock that is reliant on Mother Nature: free-range and fed grass diets, making the beef leaner, healthier and more flavorful. If you’ve ever seen images or pictured the famed South American gauchos roaming the plains on horseback, you can still find them. And they’ve been rearing cattle largely the same way since Spain first brought cows to Argentina in the 1500s. That is not to say you won’t find commercially raised cattle that is fed corn and grains, but the quality of meat produced the traditional way and cooked in the traditional asado (barbecue) format are sources of pride for the country. And nothing goes better with Argentinian beef, than Argentinian Malbec. You'll find plenty of both on this list.
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José A. Cabrera 5099, Cabrera 5127
Don’t be confused by the two separate locations, La Cabrera Sur and La Cabrera Norte are the same restaurant, just across the street from each other. Turns out, they were so successful at one location they had to buy another building to keep up with the customer demands. That’s a pretty good sign that it’s worth the visit. Gastón Riveira is at the helm of the restaurant in which celebrity chef Francis Mallmann says is the best place to get a steak in Buenos Aires. That’s like getting kissed on the forehead by God himself. The restaurants are a little different in design, one a bit more whimsical with miniature hot air balloons hanging from the ceiling and red checkered tablecloths. This is comfort food at its finest, with hearty sides and sauces served in cast iron. They even make their own olive oil so you can get a few bottles to take home and enjoy long after you’ve left the restaurant.
Parilla Don Julio
A classic beauty, Don Julio gives you the feel of a vintage steakhouse built for Argentina’s elite. The building itself was built in the 19th century so it still retains the old-world charm like ornate tile flooring, warm wood with wrought iron and a mezzanine dining option that allows for an even better view of the restaurant and its wine bottle-lined walls. The restaurant’s owner, Pablo Rivero, comes from a long line of livestock producers who raise their cattle in the grass prairies just outside Buenos Aires. So naturally, that means the quality of meat you’ll find at Don Julio is unrivaled. As are the vegetables. The owner sources his own seasonal organic vegetables from a five-acre plot he planted right outside the city. They also have an extensive wine list and an expert sommelier, who also happens to be the impressive Señor Rivero, to help guide you to the perfect wine pairing for whichever cut of meat you choose. It’s been suggested that Don Julio has one of the most comprehensive wine lists in all of Argentina, if not the most comprehensive. Just recently, Don Julio was named the No. 1 restaurant in Buenos Aires and the 34th best restaurant in the world by the World’s 50 Best list.
Caldén de Soho
This little neighborhood gem packs a lot of the same punch as the more visible Don Julio and La Cabrera, but at a much lower price point. A beautiful slab of melt-in-your-mouth steak will only set you back about nine bucks USD. This is one restaurant where you’ll want to pay extra attention to the details on the menu, like the weight of your entree. If you’re not careful, you could end up with a John Candy “The Great Outdoors” moment. This is another restaurant with mezzanine dining that allows guests to sit above the action and people watch at the tables and the grills below. Comfortable and cozy, the two-story dining room features an industrial feel with a concrete floor, exposed brick and beams, warm wooden slats on the ceiling and an iron staircase leading to the upper level. There’s even an antique wood-burning stove with a chimney and hand-woven baskets adorning the walls. While the meat is divine, they’re also known for their mouthwatering provoleta (grilled provolone cheese) and desserts.
Costa Rica 4464
Still on the hunt for the elusive vegetable in Buenos Aires? Well you’re in luck. La Escondida has a giant salad bar in the middle of the restaurant that you can purchase along with your meal. You may not necessarily think you’d miss having your daily dose of veggies, but the truth is, it’s a bit of a welcome sight after a few consecutive nights with the meat sweats. It should also be noted that this isn't necessarily the salad bar you'd find at your neighborhood Whole Foods, but there are tons of pickled vegetables and relishes to choose from. The building has strategically put the parrillas in the front so anyone passing by can both see the chefs grilling and smell that delightful barbecue smoke from a block away. The inside of the restaurant is stunning and unique, and looks like a converted stable with soaring wood rafters and barn doors set against brick and rough stucco walls. There’s also a large covered patio out front for outdoor dining as well. The menu is expansive and includes a large selection of all kinds of meat as well as chinchulines and mollejas (organ meats). But of course, when you’re in Argentina, you can’t go wrong with the beef.