This is one topic I certainly wanted to share as we explore the amazing things Argentina has to offer in terms of food and drink options. Having been born and lived in Buenos Aires for almost 20 years all in all, I can attest to the fact that it has a vibrant and diverse culinary culture.
Our nation’s capital genuinely reflects Argentina’s rich cultural heritage and the influences of various immigrant communities that have enriched the country over the years. From succulent meats to mouth-watering sweet treats, Buenos Aires offers an assortment of dishes that cater to a wide range of tastes and budgets.
*This post contains compensated links. Find more info in my DISCLAIMER. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
What to Eat in Buenos Aires
If you are not a local, it can be hard for you to experience the very best of the food scene in Buenos Aires. This is why I have put together this Argentina Food Guide to tell you what to eat in Buenos Aires and why I can proudly say that Argentine food is among the best in Latin America.
What you will Learn in this Argentina Food Guide:
- 10 must try dishes in Buenos Aires and why they will make you want to visit Buenos Aires on your next trip
- Where to find many of these delicious food options where the quality is of the best in the world(and at extremely reasonable prices for the value)
- Great ways to have top Buenos Aires food and drink experiences and the various tour options that can guide you to the best spots picked by locals
10 Must-Try Dishes in Buenos Aires
Asado is definitely one of my favorite food experiences as it is more than just a dish in Argentina. It represents the traditional culinary culture of South America. Derived from the Spanish word asar, which means ‘to roast’, asado is the Argentine version of a barbecue. Unlike American barbecues, Argentinian barbecue does not involve the use of a gas grill. It involves cooking meat nice and slow over an open flame using wooden logs or hardwood charcoal.
In Buenos Aires as well as other parts of Argentina, asado is a social event that brings our families, friends, and coworkers together. The centerpiece of an asado is meat and the various cuts that we love to include. Beef is usually the preferred choice for asados, but pork, chicken, and lamb can also be used. Apart from meat, chorizo and morcilla (blood sausages), molleja (sweetbread), and provoleta (provolone cheese) are also included in asados.
We typically serve asado with condiments like salsa criolla and chimichurri, salads, and grilled vegetables. The smokey flavor of the meat and the tangy flavor of the condiments complement each other perfectly. You can enjoy your asado with an Argentine Malbec or any other wine of your choice.
Asado is Also a Cut of Beef
Asado de Tira is also the Argentine name for short rib, which is a popular cut of beef served within our typical asado. Our other top choices include ojo de bife(rib eye), entraña(skirt steak) and bife de lomo(beef tenderloin). When visiting Buenos Aires and ordering any of these cuts at restaurants and even top steakhouses, due to the incredible quality of our meat as well as the cost in dollars, you will not find this level of quality for the value almost anywhere in the world. I would consider this alone to be a top reason to visit Buenos Aires.
Where chimichurri is not a dish, as we just reviewed asado I had to include it in this list of must haves in this Argentina Food Guide. It is such an important staple that in fact, chimichurri is the most commonly used condiment in Argentine cuisine. It consists of a wide range of ingredients including cilantro, parsley, garlic, oregano, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, and olive oil. Chimichurri is typically green in color, but you can also find a red version that contains smoked paprika and roasted red peppers.
Chimichurri is spicy, tangy, and citrusy all at once, which makes it the perfect condiment for meat as well as vegetables. It is also used as a marinade and salad dressing.
Milanesa is a breaded and fried meat cutlet whose history can be traced back to the late 19th century. It was brought to South America by Italian immigrants, and it has now become one of the traditional Rio de la Plata dishes.
Milanesa is prepared by dipping thin slices of meat (beef, veal, pork, or chicken) into beaten eggs seasoned with salt, pepper, and oregano. The slices are then dipped in breadcrumbs and shallow fried until they become brown and crispy.
One of the most popular and most savory variations of milanesa is the milanesa napolitana. It consists of breaded and fried steaks which are topped with a slice of ham, tomato sauce, and mozzarella cheese. It is the favorite dish of our own Argentine football legend Lionel Messi, who has stated that his mother adds parmesan cheese, garlic, and chopped parsley to the dish to enhance its flavor.
You can find one of the best milanesas in Buenos Aires in the neighborhood of Palermo, El Preferido de Palermo.
Another item I had to include in this Argentina Food guide is choripan. Choripan is one of the most popular street foods in Argentina. I can personally add that my family makes sure that choripan is served in every one of our asado gatherings. It’s a grilled sausage sandwich which is typically garnished with chimichurri and salsa criolla. One of my own family’s choices of garnish is regular or hard ground mustard for extra spice.
You can find choripan everywhere in Buenos Aires – from street corners to steakhouses. It’s commonly sold at football stadiums, as eating choripan while watching football games is a beloved Argentine tradition.
You can enjoy your choripan with a cold beer or a glass of Malbec (my personal favorite) or Cabernet Sauvignon.
Matambre is a cut of beef that can be found in steakhouses and grills across Argentina. It consists of cutaneous muscles and is taken from the bottom of the cow’s ribs. It’s cheaper compared to most other cuts of beef and can be delicious and filling, which makes it a perfect choice for those who are on a budget.
The most common dish made with matambre is matambre arrollado. It’s an oven-roasted matambre stuffed with hard-boiled eggs, carrots, and bell peppers. It is typically cut into slices so that the fillings can be seen and is served with chimichurri sauce.
Berenjenas al Escabeche
Berenjena(eggplant) is a staple in an Argentine asado and can be prepared in many ways. One of my preferred berenjena dishes and an Argentine favorite is berenjenas al escabeche. This is a traditional Argentine dish consisting of pickled or marinated eggplants. Slices of eggplants are cooked in a mixture of water and vinegar and marinated in a jar filled with oregano, parsley, garlic, red pepper flakes, and olive oil.
The best thing about berenjenas al escabeche is that it can be enjoyed as an appetizer, paired with grilled meats, or used as a sandwich filling.
Provoleta is the Argentine version of grilled cheese. Simple and lip-smacking delicious, provoleta is a dish you must try in Buenos Aires. This dish consists of provolone cheese placed directly on a grill and cooked until the exterior turns brown and the interior becomes gooey. It’s typically served piping hot with bread and chimichurri sauce. You can dip the bread into the gooey center of the cheese, drizzle a little bit of chimichurri sauce, and eat it.
You can find great provoleta options at most restaurants in the city that serve asado as it is a typical appetizer option.
Where there are many versions of an empanada throughout South America, the Argentine Empanada is a stuffed savory pastry whose origins can be traced back to the 1500s. Originally a Spanish dish, empanada has become a staple of Argentine cuisine over the years.
Empanadas are made with dough and filled with various filling options including meats, cheeses and vegetables (and all combined). Popular choices of fillings include ground beef, chicken, ham and cheese, caprese (mozzarella, tomato and basil), tuna, and vegetables. In some places, ground chili, olives, bell peppers, peas, garlic, and a wide range of other ingredients are also added to the fillings.
You can get baked as well as fried empanadas in Buenos Aires. If you prefer a soft crust, go for the baked version. If you prefer a crispier crust, go for the fried version. Either way, you’re good to go.
If you are wanting to enjoy the best empanadas in town, you can find them at Pizzeria Guerrin, and pair them with a delicious slice of Argentine pizza.
Dulce de Leche
Dulce de leche is a traditional Argentinian dessert that is mouthwateringly delicious. It is made by heating whole milk and sugar until the mixture caramelizes and turns brown. A pinch of cinnamon or vanilla is often added to the mixture to make it more flavorful.
The origin of dulce de leche is disputed, as both Argentina and Uruguay claim the dish as their own. Some food histories also theorize that it might have originated in France. Whatever the place of origin might be, dulce de leche is now considered the quintessential Argentine dessert.
Dulce de leche is commonly used as a spread, filling, or topping for cakes, cookies, waffles, churros, ice creams, crepes, and toasts.
This sweet food option always reminds me of my childhood years living in or visiting Buenos Aires as I had to have one every morning while walking through the vibrant streets with my family.
Alfajor is a dessert made of two cookies sandwiched together with a layer of dulce de leche. While the dish is also consumed widely in Spain and France, the Argentine version of an alfajor is different from the Spanish and French ones. The French version typically consists of ganache, jam, or butter frosting fillings. The Spanish version typically consists of ground bread, almonds, honey, cinnamon, cloves, and several other spices.
The Argentine version is the simplest of them all, as it only consists of two cookies with a dulce de leche layer in the middle. Still, it is as tasty as they come, and you would be hard-pressed to eat just one.
Traditional Argentine alfajores are made of cornstarch cookies which melt in your mouth when you take a bite. The cookies are coated with desiccated coconut, which makes them all the more delicious. You can also find alfajores with the cookies coated with dark or white chocolate or coated with chocolate flakes.
You can enjoy alfajores as a dessert after lunch or dinner, as a stand-alone snack, or with a cup of coffee. My absolute favorite alfajores, which actually originated in my birth city Mar del Plata, are Alfajores Havanna, which you can find all over Buenos Aires (and you can order them in the US).
Buenos Aires Food Tours – The Best Way to Experience the City’s Culinary Scene
Being originally from Argentina and having lived for over 20 years on and off in Buenos Aires (or visiting regularly while living in the United States), I have had many chances to enjoy amazing food and drink experiences throughout the city. There are a vast number of places to choose from and local recommendations are always your best bet when seeking authentic, top-notch spots.
Having most of my family and lifelong friends living in Buenos Aires, I can always count on their advice for myself or for others that would prefer native guidance. This is where I learned about a great, enjoyable way to visit top food and drink establishments that will surely please the palate and allow you to feel like a local.
There are many reasons why food tours are the best way to enjoy the food scene in Buenos Aires, and why I wanted to share more about them in the Argentina Food Guide. These include:
Local Expertise: Food tours are led by local guides who have extensive knowledge of the city’s culinary culture. They can introduce you to hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path eateries that you might not discover on your own.
Variety of Tastings: Food tours offer a diverse range of tastings, allowing you to sample a wide variety of dishes in a single outing. This is particularly advantageous in Buenos Aires, where the food scene is rich and varied, from traditional Argentine steakhouses to empanada shops and gelato parlors. Moreover, with a Buenos Aires Small Group Wine Tasting added to your culinary adventure, you’ll have the chance to savor exquisite local wines that perfectly complement the city’s gastronomic delights.
Cultural Insights: A food tour isn’t just about eating. It is also an opportunity to learn about the cultural and historical aspects of the food you are consuming. Guides often share stories about the origin of dishes, culinary traditions, and the role of food in Argentine society.
Efficient Exploration of the City: Buenos Aires is a sprawling city with many neighborhoods, each offering its own culinary delights. Buenos Aires City Tour helps you efficiently explore different areas and get a taste of what each has to offer without the need for extensive planning or travel.
Social Experience: Food tours are typically group activities and can be a great way to meet fellow travelers and food enthusiasts. Sharing a meal with others can be an enjoyable experience as well.
Stress-Free Experience: Food tours take the stress out of finding the best places to eat and navigating language barriers, making your culinary exploration in Buenos Aires more relaxing and enjoyable.
Authenticity: Food tours tend to prioritize authentic, locally-owned establishments, providing a genuine taste of Argentine cuisine and supporting small businesses.
Time-Saving: If you have limited time in Buenos Aires, a food tour can be a time-saving way to experience the city’s culinary highlights in a short period.
Top Buenos Aires Food Tour
I personally recommend booking a food tour with Sherpa Food Tours to experience the very best of Buenos Aires’ culinary delights. They have local guides who can take you to eateries where you can try a diverse range of dishes and drinks that best represent traditional Argentinian food. Their food tours include a neighborhood stroll, which can help you get a glimpse of the city’s history and beauty. If you want a private tour just for you and your family or friends, you can book a private tour as well.
Buenos Aires – A Culinary Hotspot in Argentina
Buenos Aires has earned its reputation as a culinary hotspot due to its culinary diversity with influences from Spain, Italy, France, and a number of other countries. The city has also managed to retain the culinary influences of the indigenous peoples of Argentina. It has resulted in a melting pot of unique flavors, tastes, and culinary traditions, making it a must-visit destination for food enthusiasts.
When exploring the vibrant culinary scene of Buenos Aires, it’s helpful to utilize resources like the Viator Buenos Aires Tour Search to find the best food tours and experiences tailored to your preferences. Buenos Aires offers an excellent range of wines, desserts, and artisanal ice creams that are every bit as unique and tasty as the dishes they are paired with.
Above all, Argentine culture places a high value on food and social gatherings. The people of Buenos Aires have a genuine passion for eating, sharing meals, and celebrating life through food. It creates a welcoming and inviting culinary atmosphere for visitors and tourists. Simply put, if you are a foodie, Buenos Aires is a place you must visit at least once!