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Buenos Aires restaurants

Given the zesty flavor of Argentine beef, it's not surprising that a dizzying array of palate-teasing steaks litter the menus in traditional Buenos Aires eateries. Throughout the city, the aromas of steak and choripan (spicy sausage sandwich) emanate from the ubiquitous parrilla grillhouses, where both the sophisticated and the uncouth tuck into sizzling heaps of offal and sweetbreads or savor melt-in-your-mouth cuts of rib and rump.

However, a slew of new eateries, many clustered in Palermo Viejo, B.A.'s own Soho, are fast transforming the city's culinary offerings. New-wave chefs—whose cuisine is generally described as de autor—place great value on creativity, seeking inspiration from traditions as diverse as Lebanese and Thai, Indian and Provençal. Enterprising chefs are even turning to the country's exotic fauna, bestowing long-awaited culinary recognition on low-fat, low-cholesterol meats such as ñandú, a South American ostrich, and the yacaré caiman, a seven-foot alligator.

The trailblazing has its limits: Locals have little stomach for strong spices or fish. Nevertheless, dozens of top-notch restaurants turn out sophisticated dishes, combining hunted game, free-range meats, tropical fruits, delicate cheeses, and organic vegetables, all enhanced with roots, herbs, and spices. Look out, too, for Andean cooking, particularly from the northwestern province of Salta, in which quinoa, llama, and corn feature alongside locro (stew), tamales, and diminutive, piquant empañadas.

Since Buenos Aires adopted a no-smoking law in 2006, the days when the aroma of your artfully contrived dish mingled freely with your neighbor's high-tar cigarette are long gone. Porteños remain unconvinced that it's time to quit—just count the number of diners rushing outside for a puff between courses—but the city's determination to apply the law has confounded critics who said it could never be enforced.

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Nectarine, Buenos Aires

The approach to Nectarine, via a tucked-away pedestrian arcade, feels convincingly like a sleepy back alley in, say, Aix-en-Provence. The delicious illusion...more

Editors' Pick
Oviedo, Buenos Aires

For 20 years, Oviedo has been the prime destination for Old World Spanish eats in Buenos Aires. The clubby brasserie, all white linen and burnished banquettes,...more

Editors' Pick
Patagonia Sur, Buenos Aires

Francis Mallmann, the globe-trotting dandy who is Argentina's best-known chef and restaurateur, selected an appropriately southern city location for this...more

Editors' Pick
Sucre, Buenos Aires

You know Sucre is hot the moment you step through the door. There's its sleek industrial ambience of exposed girders and pipes, the perfectly exfoliated...more

Editors' Pick
Hotel Photo
Tegui, Buenos Aires

Don't be put off by the unlit Palermo Hollywood block, the unmarked door, or the graffiti-scarred exterior. Out back is a courtyard lined with banana palms...more

Editors' Pick
Tomo I, Buenos Aires

The decor of Tomo I, B.A.'s storied temple of alta cocina, is a bit sterile—but don't let that fool you. The restaurant's ambrosial offerings remain...more

Editors' Pick
Un' Altra Volta, Buenos Aires

One of the unmistakably Italian assets that Argentina's Genovese and Neapolitan immigrants brought to the New World was a knowledge of ice cream. Three...more

Editors' Pick
Ølsen, Buenos Aires

Germán Martitegui, the bald, goateed visionary behind this mod Nordic bistro (who's also exec chef at Casa Cruz and Tegui), has become the city's chef of...more

Editors' Pick
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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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