Buenos Aires

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Economic crisis or not, porteños still love to dine out, and the cuisine scene has burgeoned way beyond the classic steakhouse parrilladas (though these are certainly still the most prevalent eateries), to include world cuisines, vegetarian and organic options, and unique culinary twists on local dishes, known as nouvelle Argentine.

Top Restaurants in Buenos Aires

Bar El Federal

Nosh on picadas (meat and cheese appetizer plate) and sidra (a fruity cider similar to white sangria) in a space that has housed everything from grocery stores to a brothel since opening in 1864. Little has changed in decades at this historic bar, from the original tile floor to some of the staff.

Peru and Carlos Calvo, 011-54-11-4300-4313, www.barelfederal.com.ar
Tags: budget | argentine

Casa Cruz

Reservations are a must at this trendy hotspot exalted as much for its sumptuous surroundings as its modern Argentine cuisine and regionally focused wine list. Frequented by local celebrities, expect lots of red velvet and flashier than thou porteños who come for the social scene more than the slightly above average food.

Uriarte 1658, 011-54-11-4833-1112, www.casa-cruz-resaturant.com
Tags: expensive | editor pick | smart splurge | argentine

Dada

A mosaic-tiled bar and floor lend an inviting touch to this ten-table café/bistro specializing in modern Argentinean cuisine. Its convenient downtown location makes it a lunch favorite for the office crowd and pleasant post-sightseeing stop, to boot. Its bright red façade makes it hard to miss.

San Martin 941, 011-54-11-4314-4787
Tags: moderate

Desnivel

Fluorescent lighting, plastic tablecloths and hodge-podge decor are all part of the charm at this neighborhood bodegón where tenderloin tastes like butter and wine flows from penguin-shaped pitchers. Both tourists and locals frequent the homey restaurant, and lines often run out the door, especially on Sundays, when a game is on.

Defensa 858, 011-54-11-4300-9081
Tags: budget

El Cuartito

For a slice of porteño tradition, don't miss El Cuartito's pizza and empanadas that have changed little since the restaurant opened in 1934. Order faina (a chickpea-based top crust of sorts) and a glass of moscato (sweet, raisiny wine) and you may be taken for a local.  Boxing posters and portraits of tango stars cover the walls of the large dining rooms.

Talcahuano 937, 011-54-11-4816-4331
Tags: budget | pizza

Gran Bar Danzon

Sample Argentine wines and top-notch porteño mixology in this sophisticated, mood-lit lounge/restaurant. It's perfect for a pre-dinner stop, but arrive after midnight to observe the beautiful denizens of Recoleta sipping cocktails and noshing on tapas.

Libertad 1161, 011-54-11-4811-1108, www.granbardanzon.com.ar
Tags: nightlife | lounge | bar | wine

Juana M

Thanks to the well-prepared meat dishes and homemade pastas, lunch and dinner are busy affairs at this somewhat hidden family-owned parilla (steakhouse) near Avenida Libertador (diners must walk downstairs from street level to enter the gallery-like space). Before deciding, check out the selection of meats sizzling on the grill. A complimentary salad bar accompanies the entrees.

Carlos Pellegrini 1535, 011-54-11-4326-0462
Tags: moderate

La Cabrera

Come hungry and early to this popular parilla where an eye-popping array of sides accompany what many consider the best beef in Buenos Aires. Complimentary sidewalk champagne aperitifs ease the wait for a table, though a second location has opened a few doors down with the same menu and is usually less crowded.

Cabrera 5099, 011-54-11-4831-7002, www.parrillalacabrera.com.ar
Tags: moderate | great value | argentine

La Giralda

The neon sign on the back wall of this 24-hour traditional bar near Plaza de la Republica and the used-book stores on Avenida Corrientes remind you what you've come for: chocolate con churros. Located in the heart of the theatre district, it's one of the most famous cafes in Buenos Aires.

Avenida Corrientes 1453, Buenos Aires, 011-54-11-4371-3846
Tags: budget | cafe

La Vinería de Gualterio Bolívar

A nine-course tasting menu, with or without wine pairings, is an indulgent way to savor Chef Alejandro Digilio’s exciting creations (potato-egg-truffle square with potato foam, anyone?) at this intimate restaurant, a pioneer of the small-plate movement in Buenos Aires. Snagging a seat at the bar affords a view of your meal’s preparation in the open kitchen.

Bolívar 865, 011-54-11-4361-4709, www.lavineriadegualteriobolivar.com
Tags: expensive | editor pick | smart splurge

Nectarine

Duck down a quaint passageway called Pasaje del Correo (and ring the buzzer) to access this chic second-floor eatery in the heart of Recoleta, where white-clothed tables, brass chandeliers, and dark finished woods set the stage for high-end, French-influenced cuisine (quail and duck feature highly on the menu).

Vincente Lopez 1661, 011-54-11-4813-6993
Tags: expensive

Olsen

The airy bi-level dining room and garden seating fill up quickly with locals and travelers hip to the Scandinavian-inspired fare (think smoked herring and potato pancakes), vodka bar with more than 60 types, and fresh, minimalist décor at this converted warehouse. They also offer Sunday brunch – a trend that is yet to catch on in Buenos Aires, but packs them in at Olsen every weekend.

Gorriti 5870, 011-54-11-4776-7677
Tags: expensive | scandinavian

Osaka

Few realize that Buenos Aires offers a wide-range of Peruvian restaurants. Osaka, which originated in Lima and combines Peruvian flavors with Nikkei, Japanese, and Thai, sits at the top. Sample signature tiraditos (a Japanese take on ceviche with thinly sliced fish in an ají pepper-based sauce), maki rolls, causas (a layered yellow potato dish, served cold), and stir-frys.

Soler 5608, 011-54-11-4775-6964, www.osaka.com.pe
Tags: moderate

Patagonia Sur

Famed Mendoza chef Francis Mallmann, whose books about cooking with gauchos have earned him critical acclaim, chose a century-old narrow house in the gritty neighborhood of La Boca for his sole Buenos Aires restaurant. The multi-course tasting menus – a la carte doesn’t exist here – combine country-style Argentine plates like humitas (corn tamales) and pastel de carne (meatloaf) with contemporary culinary techniques.

Rocha 801, 011-54-11-4303-5917, www.restaurantepatagoniasur.com
Tags: expensive | smart splurge

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