Argentina’s capital is an easy place to fall into tourist traps like cheesy tango shows and overpriced steaks at parrillas. But Buenos Aires harbors a clandestine culinary culture marked by hidden restaurants and secret bars that only locals know about. By navigating South America’s most romantic city like a Porteño, you’re guaranteed to make your trip a culinary delight.
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Here’s where to start.
Almost unfailingly, Porteños begin their mornings at a neighborhood café; locals wash down medialunas, small, croissant-like pastries, with a morning dose of caffeine. If you pine for almond milk and prefer your lattes with heart-shaped foam, visit Lattente in the ultra-trendy neighborhood of Palermo Soho. Grab a pastry and a single-origin cold brew para llevar (to go), then hit the streets to explore.
If you’re craving a taste of hipster dining, swing by Proper Restaurant, an open-concept spot housed in a former mechanic shop. Located in Palermo Viejo, this industrial outpost is filled to the brim with tattooed chefs cooking around a wood-fired oven. Order the homemade sourdough and miso-mustard pastrami, and end with flan topped with a heaping portion of dulce de leche.
If you love fried chicken, there’s no better place to visit than NOLA, a hole-in-the-wall gastropub in Palermo Viejo that’s constantly teeming with locals angling for a taste of the American South. Porteños sit on the sidewalk outside, crowd around metal tables at the entrance and fill the barstools within, all while chowing down on red beans and rice, gumbo, and fried chicken slathered with one of the four house-made sauces.
④ La Mar
Celebrated Peruvian chef Gastόn Acurio has brought his seafood prowess to Buenos Aires, taking over a Palermo mansion to create the city’s finest cebichería. Although La Mar is known for its ceviche, the tiradito is the best bite on the menu: white fish sashimi served with diced avocado, two types of cream sauce and olive oil. Wash it down with a Pisco Sour in the atmospheric outdoor bar, which has plenty of shade, thanks to a giant palm tree.
Buenos Aires owes its thriving speakeasy culture to Thames 878 (known to locals as ocho siete ocho), which was the city’s first. Located behind an unassuming facade in the neighborhood of Villa Crespo, the bar offers a classic mix of cocktails, more than 130 wines and small bites, like goat dumplings served with sweet tomatoes and arugula, and croquettes stuffed with Gruyère cheese and meat.
You must visit the ultra-popular neighborhood of San Telmo on Sundays when the weekly Feria de San Telmo street fair, complete with tango dancers and antiques vendors, is in full swing. When you’ve worked up an appetite, venture off the tourist path to El Banco Rojo, known for its empanadas. Best among them: the ones stuffed with braised lamb that’s been slow-roasted in garam masala for nine hours. They’re spicy—heat is a rarity in Buenos Aires cooking—so order a craft beer to cool your palate.
Perhaps the loveliest bar in all of Buenos Aires, Florería Atlántico is worthy of multiple visits. The speakeasy, which is disguised below a flower shop, applies its botanical theme to its cocktails, too; its most famous drink is La Rose, made from a mix of maté-infused gin, macerated lime and elderberry, then topped with a handful of rose petals.
Pack your passport—and an appetite—as we hit the world's hottest culinary destinations on and off the grid all month long. Now Boarding: your next trip to paradise.
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