Maat is a private dining club in the district of Belgrano in Buenos Aires. You normally need to be a member to eat here but they will accept tourists. Please book ahead and expect a formal dining room and incredible service. The six-course tasting menu is great value. Expect upwards of $100 for two.
Finisterra offers great delights at small prices in the warm and informal atmosphere of the classic Argentinean resto-bar.
This stunning, unassuming restaurant in San Telmo has possibly the best tasting menu in the world! About 20 small dishes (with matching Argentinian wines) for 500 pesos for two people, and delightful staff. A bargain since this is not far off Fat Duck standards of food. Three hours of pleasure.
Google map: tinyurl.com/m8fbyu
La Cabrera is one of the best steakhouses I have ever eaten in. It's based in Palermo the posh area of BA, between Cabrera and Thames.
It serves up the best steaks and malbecs in Argentina and is reasonably priced but choose one steak dish for two as they bring you four steaks. It has some outside seating and is extremely safe.
Take a taxi there and from central it will cost you five pesos.
The easiest, friendliest and probably best-looking bar/restaurant in BA with top cocktails supplied by a Geordie barman, barflys made up of artists and jovial locals and a kitchen that serves up delicious argie-based food with an often spicy twist (rare for BA!). Enough said.
san martin 941, BA
Google map: tinyurl.com/kpbucl
When I went to BA on business for six weeks, my heart sank at the thought of all the bad "sorry did you say you don't eat meat" so-called dinners I'd be enduring. How wrong I was - in BA (admittedly eating in good restaurants, sure it's different beyond the city) I ate superbly almost every night. Yes, my companions were tucking into the most ridiculous slabs of beef at the same time, but I'm used to that.
My favourite two places were Sucre and Miranda, the first a pretty hip restaurant, the second more informal. Always washed down with an amazing glass of malbec.
A typical Argentinian parilla. Order the bif de chorizo, which is basically a sirloin (nothing to do with the sausage!). You'll get one big enough for two; order potatoes (papas) any way you like (natural - boiled; fritas- chips). Bottle of Malbec or a Qulimes beer.
Follow with a helados (ice cream) and coffee. In June it set me back 40 pesos - including tip.
Definitely no fancy stuff here, this is a local restaurant full of portenos. Although tourists do know about it. Fantastico, I thought!
Stroll down the street to Bar Seddon afterwards. In fact, San Telmo is full of interesting bars, cafes and restaurants.
Avenida Defensa 858, San Telmo.
Google map: tinyurl.com/kt38yq
Known as pasties to the English, the Argentinians are experts at these and they are cheap and superb. They come with all sorts of fillings with different crimps to indicate what's in them and regional variations (Catamarquenas from Catamarca, Saltenas from Salta etc). You can have them fried (souffle) or baked (al horno). They are good as a starter before a steak, a quick snack while on the go or finger-food for a party. Lastly, they can be delivered direct to your door, just like everything else in Buenos Aires.
Only Uruguayans eat more beef per capita than the Argentines so it stands to reason they'd know a thing or two on the subject.
La Celeste, a parilla set in the cobblestone alleys of trendy Palermo Viejo serves an excellent steak dinner with all the fixings, including a decent Malbec for 30 pesos. Plus there is a table soccer game in the outside patio to help you make room for dessert.
Crizia is a palatial restaurant in downtown Buenos Aires (according to the waiter, the building used to be a bank). It's trendy, with slick decor, a very good DJ, plenty of BA's beautiful young things as fellow diners - but the food (Mediterranean and Sushi as well as the ubiquitous slab of Argentinian cow) is absolutely top notch with wines to match. The Chocolate Por Serena dessert is a must for chocolaholics.
Foodies who prefer fish should head for Coyar de Buitres in Palermo Viejo - the salmon teriyaki was nigh on perfect the other night.
Crizia: Lavalle 345 (1st Floor)
Coyar de Buitres: Honduras 5702, y Bonpland
Google map: tinyurl.com/ln9udn
Chipa is a Paraguayan snack. If you catch a train to or from the Retiro stations you'll hear loads of people selling it - "chipa, chipa, dos por un peso" - if you get it when it is warm, it is fantastic. And if you get the chance, try chipa guazu too - made with egg and sweetcorn.
Outside Retiro train stations
It's a brilliant restaurant serving an all-you-can-eat buffet and parillada (BBQ). The deserts are amazing too - so save some room. Extremely popular throughout the day because it's such good value. In the evenings, be prepared to queue.
Av Alicia M de Justo 1714, Puerto Madera
Google map: tinyurl.com/kkr2wz
Not really going to tell you what it is because whichever way it's translated, it sounds horrible. But, if you are into meat and tenedor libre asado then you have got to try "Chinchulines". I promise you will not regret it. Also Morcheja. They are both delicious.
This exists in virtual and paper form, and is the only guide to eating out in Buenos Aires. Worth reading. It praises *and* criticises. All the others are either written by brainless joe soaps who don't like "comida picante" or by the restaurants themselves.
In bookshops or at www.vidalbuzzi.com.ar
The delta in Tigre is a unique place, a mix of Venice and Vietnam, only one hour from BA. You can go for the day and have a barbecue (asado) or stay over night in one of the 'recreos'. Don't miss it.
Train to Tigre and then public boat. www.ruta0.com/locs.asp?loc=74
This place is perfect for lunch, and especially breakfast. It's very good vulue for money, with nice and varied set menus, including cooked options. It has great ambience and is in a great location, ideal for starting the day or take a break after strolling around Palermo Viejo. During the evening it gets busier and more expensive but still worth it.
Google map: Armenia 1676
The best meat in town can be found at Cabaña las Lilas. Its luxurious setting in the converted dockside area of Puerto Madero complements the impeccable service.
Avenida Alicia Moreau de Justo, 516; Tel: 4313 1336
Google map: tinyurl.com/pcvht5
The best ice cream in Argentina, which is saying more than a lot, is based on the gelati traditions from immigrant Italians and improved with the superior milk from Argentine dairies.
Salguero, 2591; 9am-2am
Google map: tinyurl.com/mtkanf
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