Reasons to be Cheerful- Food in BsAs


Mar 18, 2008
Recently, somebody posted about how they hate the food here.

To me, thats pretty incomprehensible- I love the food here- but I guess I could see it if you were vegetarian, and didnt eat carbs. Or if you were totally addicted to pre-made takeout of the wealthy yuppie variety, which I myself have a fondness for, from places like Whole Foods.

Its true that in the West Coast of the USA, you can buy, if you have the money, exotic foods flown in from around the world, any day of the year.

But, with apologies to Ian Drury, I am a big proponent of being Cheerful about Food. And my key is- EAT LOCAL.

So, when in BsAs, I eat local, and I find a LOT of things to love.

Here are a few-


Now, wherever you go, pizza is interpreted differently- in Rome, for instance, I favor the super thin, crispy quatro stagioni at Baffeto, just off Piazza Navona- and, if you go down to Napoli, you cant find anything like it- instead, in Napoli, I buy thick, doughy crust slices with macaroni and cheese on top- yum!
Similarly, in BsAs, you gotta eat the pizza they make, not the pizza you wish you had, to misquote Rummy.

I enjoy the Corrientes Crawl- you go down Corrientes, trying to eat a piece or two, and maybe have a Chopp, in each of the classic places- Las Cuartetes, Los Immortales, Guerrin, El Imperio, and so on. Me, I like to try a piece of Fuggazeta at each one, maybe some Faina. My wife likes to pit Margarheita's against each other.
Nope, its not Chicago deep dish, or new jersey "italian". But man, its good, and the scene in each place is so real, and fun, and social, how can you not have a great time?

One of my favorite pastimes at parties is to get Porteno's going by asking what their favorite pizza is- heated arguments going on for hours can result, all in good fun, of course. Argentines feel almost as strongly about their pizza as about their football.

I also enjoy Io Te Amaso, in Palermo Freud, for great thin crust pizza, and really good salads made to order. And whenever I walk anywhere, its hard for me to resist a bit of research, just a slice to go...

Similarly, Empanadas. While my 18 year old son enjoys the "buy a dozen, get one free" deals at the chain stores, along with a 2 liter coke, I like finding the home-made style Empanadas. Many of which dont feature meat- but hey, I like the meat ones too. Roquefort, Spinaca, Humita- I just cant stop. There is a thread here about a good place in Belgrano, I have to try.

Cumana, on Rodriguez Pena just off Santa Fe, has great Empanadas, along with killer Locro and similar hearty stews from the Andes, with pumpkin in some, along with those great pumpkin and corn empanadas..

Casal de Catalunya- the Catalan Club, in San Telmo, which is a beautiful building, with library, theater, and a great restaurant. All the food is good- but the Cochinillo- the roast suckling pig- is just plain sinful. It feeds a horde- 6, easily, so its not actually that expensive. Add some papas with cebollos (how can that be bad?) and a salad, and you eat pig like a pig, in elegant surroundings, for not that much.

I miss the old Pharmacy in San Telmo- great fusion food, good pomo salads, and a groovy atmosphere- I hear they are going to open a new place of some kind.

Scarparo is another dish I feel obligated to try at as many restaurants as possible- Since it is literally the pan scrapings from other dishes, made into a pasta sauce, it varies from place to place- but being a leftover cook myself, I have to see how others reinterpret last night.
Pasta in general, of course, is a big thing here, and in my stomach as well.

I like the simple pesto at Rodi Bar, or the fancy stuff at haute cuisine places, or the homemade ravioli and sauces to go from my neighborhood pasta store.

I am addicted to bitter drinks here-
Terma- I am working my way through the provinces, but with ice, on a hot day, it sure beats the multinational sugar syrup drinks.
Mate, of course.
Fernet and Coke, when dining out. Not to everyone's taste, thats for sure, but as someone who doesnt really drink wine, its universally available, and pleases my quirky palate.

Dessert- well, thats a thesis, right there.
I will say that if you are not constantly trying to figure out whether Persico, or Un Altra Volta, or La Victoria, is better, then you are not living. A bit of grapefruit sorbet always makes me feel good.

I love the quirky little neighborhood places- like El Gato Negro, off Sante Fe, where I can have a quart of fresh squeezed orange juice and a torta that resembles a muffaletta, and will feed me for about a day and a half, for a few bucks.

Or Choripan, grabbed from one of the hundreds of stalls, carts, and storefront parilla to go spots- What could be bad about a grilled sausage, some chimichurri, and a big hunk of bread?

Lots more, each and everyday, makes me happy- I love Rabas, or Papas Pastel, or Baked Provolone. I love ducking into a small neighborhood place, and ordering the fixed price lunch- usually more than you can eat, for $15 or $20 pesos, including a drink and dessert.

I am sure everybody has their favorites- I have lots more- but I have to say, I am in Peanut Heaven, eating in BsAs.
WOW, I could not agree more!Thanks for that great post and now I have to go and get something to eat, maybe a Chivito or two and some Camba Serrano to drink with it:)
Don't forget 1810 Julien Alverez 1998. They have locro most days and the best artisan foods at the best prices.
Also The Bochin Club nearby, if you really want to eat local, but be prepared for a wait. Food this good always atracts crowds.
For anyone who doesnt already know about it, I heartily recommend Layne Mosler's blog, Go Where the Taxista takes you-

She finds some great places by asking her taxi drivers where THEY eat.

I had already stumbled on a couple of these on my own, but I will be trying lots of them.

My wife recently ate at Vicente, in Coghlin, and she is raving about it. I will be down in BsAs in March, and I will be sure to eat there...

Also, you pretty much owe yourself to try every place in this great little book-

All the classics, the places that make Buenos Aires what it is.
...and...for those who DO want that organic hummus wrap, downed with a shot of wheatgrass, you can always go to PuraVida, lol. Though just as is the case in the U.S., it ain't the cheapest, but you feel soo healthy when you leave, and they actually have REAL napkins, lol. A great way to balance all those yummy empanadas and locro. Now...anyone know of a real German or Austrian restaurant where I can find a true Hepheweizen(?). Unfiltered wheat beers just ain't the thang here. Cheers to ALL!
What about the restaurant at the Club Alemán?
A place to get pizza by the slice ( where loads of cabdrivers do btw ) is Punto y Banca on Honduras 4002 ( corner ) You won´t get a sit or fancy table there, just grab your slice and go :)
Great posts! Reading it really makes me think about what we are missing being stateside again. So much, but in particular the carne - the best I've ever eaten. Actually I was a vegetarian for 20 years and during my pregnancy had a craving for meat - I tried it and decided to add a little to my diet. Once in Argentina - we had carne 2 or 3 times a week - my favorite Parilla is a little place in Almagro - it's on Bartolome Mitre, at the intersection of Acuna de Figuroa. The service is excellent, very personable and the food is superb. I don't remember the name right now - but you can't miss it - there are not many other choices at that intersection. One of the older mozos is a Tango aficionado and he knows all the good spots. They also have a back patio for outside seating. And they have take out if you can't get a table - which is not uncommon during normal dining hours - earlier on isn't a problem usually.
Tell them Sue and Lucia sent you (the mom and daughter from the states) - not many foreigners in that area in my experience. We were lucky as we lived right down the street at the time. Oh, how I miss it! Enjoy..