The Ultimate Guide to Restaurants in Argentina
Welcome to the land of tango, football, and mouth-watering cuisine! Argentina, a melting pot of European and indigenous cultures, offers a diverse and delightful culinary experience that is sure to satisfy even the most discerning foodies. In this friendly and informative guide, we’ll take you on a delicious journey through Argentina’s restaurants, highlighting the must-visit establishments and various regional dishes that make this country’s cuisine so special.
Exploring Argentina’s Culinary Regions
Argentina is a vast country, and its diverse geography and climate contribute to a rich and varied culinary landscape. From the Patagonian lamb to the mouth-watering empanadas of the northwest, let’s explore some of the unique regional dishes you’ll encounter on your Argentine adventure.
Patagonia, the southernmost region of Argentina, is known for its stunning landscapes, pristine lakes, and its famous Patagonian lamb. Here, you must try the tender, slow-roasted lamb, often cooked over an open fire, known as “cordero al asador.” The region is also famous for its smoked trout, which is an excellent choice for seafood lovers.
The Pampas, Argentina’s fertile grasslands, is the heartland of the Argentine beef industry. This is where you’ll find the iconic Argentine “parrilla” (grill) restaurants, serving up perfectly grilled steaks, chorizos, and other meats. Don’t miss the “bife de chorizo” (sirloin steak) or “asado” (barbecued short ribs), both cooked to perfection on a traditional Argentine grill.
Argentina’s northwest region, home to the Andean highlands, offers a unique gastronomy with indigenous and Spanish influences. Here, you can indulge in savory “empanadas salteñas” (meat-filled pastries), “locro” (a hearty stew with corn, beans, and meat), and “humitas” (steamed corn cakes wrapped in corn husks).
Top Cities for Dining in Argentina
Now that we’ve explored Argentina’s culinary regions, let’s dive into some of the best cities for dining and the must-visit restaurants you’ll find in each one.
As Argentina’s capital and largest city, Buenos Aires is a gastronomic powerhouse, offering a diverse array of dining options to suit every taste and budget.
Don Julio – A beloved institution, Don Julio is one of the best parrilla restaurants in the city, offering an exceptional selection of grilled meats and an extensive wine list. Don’t forget to try their signature “provoleta” (grilled provolone cheese).
iLatina – This upscale restaurant offers a unique seven-course tasting menu that showcases the flavors of Latin America, with each dish inspired by a different country. A true culinary adventure!
Located at the foothills of the Andes, Mendoza is Argentina’s wine country and a haven for food and wine enthusiasts.
1884 Restaurante – Housed in an old winery, this elegant restaurant is helmed by renowned chef Francis Mallmann. Expect delicious Argentine cuisine with a modern twist, all paired with exquisite local wines.
án – Azafrán offers a sophisticated dining experience that highlights the region’s local ingredients, accompanied by an impressive wine cellar. The menu changes seasonally, ensuring a fresh and exciting culinary journey each time you visit.
Bariloche, located in the Patagonian Andes, is known for its picturesque lakes and mountain scenery, as well as its mouthwatering cuisine.
Cassis – A lakeside gem, Cassis offers stunning views and a menu featuring Patagonian specialties, such as slow-roasted lamb and homemade pasta. Be sure to try their decadent chocolate fondant for dessert.
Alto el Fuego – A cozy restaurant with a welcoming atmosphere, Alto el Fuego is a must-visit for meat lovers. Their Argentine-style barbecue, featuring locally sourced meats, is grilled to perfection and paired with hearty sides and salads.
Vegetarian and Vegan Dining in Argentina
While Argentina is known for its meat-heavy dishes, vegetarian and vegan travelers will also find plenty of delicious options. In recent years, a growing number of vegetarian and vegan restaurants have opened their doors, catering to diverse dietary preferences.
Buenos Aires: Visit Sacro, an upscale vegan restaurant that offers plant-based dishes with an innovative twist. For a more casual experience, check out Veggie Medio Oriente, which serves delicious vegetarian and vegan Middle Eastern cuisine.
Mendoza: Head to Govinda for a satisfying vegetarian meal, featuring dishes like vegetable curry, falafel, and homemade gnocchi. For vegan options, try La Luciérnaga, which offers a varied menu with plenty of plant-based choices.
Bariloche: Ren Vegetariano is a popular spot for vegetarian and vegan diners, with a menu that includes hearty soups, vegetable stir-fries, and tasty homemade desserts.
Embrace the Argentine Dining Experience
As you explore Argentina’s diverse culinary landscape, remember to embrace the local dining customs. Take your time to savor your meal, enjoy a leisurely conversation, and, of course, pair your dishes with a glass of Argentine wine.