The Good Food in BA Thread

It's a given that food here is awful and the Argentines have no idea how to cook, but enough complaining about this. The question is how to get around it. I've decided to list some good dishes I've been able to find. Even though most restaurants are bad, they may have one or two dishes that are worth it.

For meat:
I've eaten at a LOT of different steakhouses. While Cabrera in Palermo is good, it's packed and there's a line around the corner most nights. I've found the steaks at Buenos Aires Grill (near Riobamba and Santa Fe) to be outstanding. Much, much better than the steakhouses that get top ratings on Guia Oleo, not to speak of utter crap you get from Cabana das Lilas, etc.; the downside is it's a bit pricey but if I feel like complaining for paying 50 pesos for a ribeye, I remind myself that it would be about 3 - 4 times as much at a restaurant in NYC and even then it wouldn't be as good.

Of course the best way to eat meat in BA is to get it from a butcher's shop and cook it on your grill. The meats at the butchery called Antares on Rodriguez Pena are the best in BA according to many.

This is just to start things off. I have other dishes I know of, but I'll keep it short:

A lot of the older-style restaurants have a good Spanish dish, Pollo al Ajillo, and some of them cook it very well. I know Cervatillo does a great job cooking this and it's available for lunch (or actually all day, but they cook it better for lunch) as part of a menu ejecutivo at a reasonable price. Although Cervatillo is an expensive and very bad restaurant in general, it does this dish well; it also has good coffee, much better than you'd get at most coffeehouses in BA. This is what I mean...if you have specific recs for dishes that may be good even when the restaurant is bad.

I ate at Pozo Santo, a Peruvian restaurant in Palermo; I found most of the dishes to be mediocre. However the tiradito is quite good and the shrimp soup/stew (Chupa) is outstanding.

The best empanadas I've had were at a tiny place on Pueyreddon and Arenales. The best locro is on Las Heras, right across from Las Heras Park...ugly, small place, but good food.

I'll try to think of other places or foods I've liked. I've found most of the popular or highly-touted restaurants in Palermo to be crap. I'm talking about places like Dominga that get very high ratings from Argentines and try to be innovative, but the food is truly atrocious. Standard is a good restaurant with consistently good food but aside from the brain ravioli they don't have anything I'd really go out of my way for.

A question, I'm used to very good sushi so I haven't even bothered with the sushi here...it's been a long time since I've had sushi and could use some. If someone has a rec for Japanese-grade sushi, please recommend.

I also really, really miss fish. The fish in BA is absolute crap, both the quality of the raw product and the fact that they have no clue how to cook it. If anyone has a good rec for eating cooked fish dishes let me know. I ate good fresh-water fish at Jangada (their pacu is great but you need to go with a friend or two to finish it) but I've never had even passable ocean fish in BA, unless it was ceviche/tiradito.

I'll post more places for good dishes when I remember...

BUT PLEASE don't just list "your favorite restaurants." I've been at all the highly-touted ones like Sucre, etc., and found them to be mediocre. La Bourgogne is another example...given all these best ratings, etc., but it's not a good restaurant at all and not even comparable to the French food you can get in Rio for example. Let's just agree that BA restaurants suck and talk about dishes you can get that are good...even in unknown and small places.
 

ssr

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pandulf.ironhead said:
...A question, I'm used to very good sushi so I haven't even bothered with the sushi here...it's been a long time since I've had sushi and could use some. If someone has a rec for Japanese-grade sushi, please recommend...
Irifune's not too bad (but expensive) and Yuki's probably the best (tiny place with an old Japanese dude that's been here forever making the sushi; great service, too). I've also heard that Sushi Furusato (delivery-only; http://www.sushi.com.ar/) isn't too bad.

The only restaurant that really exceeded my expectations here in BA (and I keep my expectations here in BA as low as possible) is Sarkis. Can't remember any particular dishes I've had there, but the place didn't disappoint (a rare occurrence here).

And for tacos, Fabrica de Tacos is the way to go. Nothing mind-blowing, but certainly the best in BA.
 

jp

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Tenku do pretty decent sushi at sensible prices.
Sarkis is good lebanese fare, about the only example of its kind here.
Peruvian food can be hit and miss, had great dishes at Bardot though (mero a lo macho was amazing)
Standard probably my favourite spot for argentine food (lamb & slow cooked beef both great)

French, Indian & Asian food are best prepared at home. There's a good fishmonger near me in la imprenta, but you have to pay a small fortune...

Never tried the delivery services but hear good reports, if you live in their catchment area you might find quality better than whats available locally.
 

Ries

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I have had great seared ahi tuna at Olsen...

and a really good salmon gravlux appetizer at treinta sillas
http://www.treintasillas.com/

Diego cooks great fish at Casa Felix.
http://www.diegofelix.com/

The ceviche at Osaka isnt bad, although the place is too full of drunk foreigners for my tastes.

Although its pricey, there are fresh oysters, and very good crab cakes, at
Crizia, on Gorriti in Palermo.

I like the rabas (squid rings) at Rodi Bar in Recoleta, and Martita in Boedo on Cuchabamba does good rabas and langostinis as well.
http://www.guiaoleo.com.ar/detail.php?ID=2133

There is a good fish market- Ostramar- on Santa Fe y Julian Alvarez- you can get a pretty wide variety of fresh fish there, along with premade seafood salads and paella.

I like the lunch special stir fry at Sudestada.

Personally, I disagree with your premise, though- I frequently drop into virtually any bar or small restaurant in a non-tourist neighborhood, and order the special, whatever the cabdrivers are eating, things like Pollo Portuguese or tortas or chicken with papas or stew, and get perfectly decent food for very little money.
I have had killer cheap meals at little dives on Scalabrini Ortiz, or Cabildo, or Rivadavia, in Villa Crespo, or Caballito, or Colegiales, quite often.

Lots and lots of good food in BsAs, if you ask me.

My favorite choripan is the little place in the San Telmo market building, a storefront on Carlos Calvos, just a pepsi and chori, lots of chimichurri.. If they have bondiola, which they dont always, its really great.
Good Bondiola at the two carts across from the horseback riding place on Dorrego in Bosque Palermo, too.

My favorite pizza changes weekly, but La Mezzetta never disappoints, nor does Punto y Banco, or El Cuartito. But I like Faina y Fugazzeta, with a chop.

I like the ravioli, or whatever the daily special pasta is, at Pierino.

I have to try the scarparo, wherever I go- because its always different, and sometimes killer. I make my own, of course, influenced by what I find on my wanderings.

I enjoy the big chicken, spinach, cheese and calabaza tartas at El Nueva Gata Alegria on Billinghurst- cheap, huge, and satisfying.
 

timsofam

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I tend to agree with the Argentine food statement, for that reason I am opening a restaurant in Mercedes, BA province. I am a US chef and restaurant owner and looking forward to doing some cooking here. The menu will include some good american dishes, some Argentine (with some flavor added), and some international dishes. I promise to serve the best burger in Argentina!!! Big bost I know, but fortunately don't have much competition here! I won't open for 4 months or so, but hope some one anxious for food will try it out.
 

ssr

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timsofam said:
I tend to agree with the Argentine food statement, for that reason I am opening a restaurant in Mercedes, BA province...
How far away is Mercedes?
 

tangobob

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pandulf.ironhead said:
It's a given that food here is awful and the Argentines have no idea how to cook, .
You may think it a given, I do not.

Have you ever been to an Argentine restaurant in Spain or The UK ?
They suck to. True every place that puports to cook the American way is truly awful, but then they cannot cook Fish and Chips either. Italian food also is awful, but the point is "when in Rome" if you go where the locals go and eat what the locals eat the food is excellent.
Nowhere in the world have I sought English bars or "Sunday lunch" as is often sold.

Been to America and I though the food was awful, does that make it bad? No just not to my taste. Leave your prejudices behind when you travel.
If you cannot enjoy the local fare that is your problem, not the local cooks.
 

ssr

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tangobob said:
...Been to America and I though the food was awful...
So nutty. We are beyond spoiled for every kind of food in the US. There are few places in the world with as many excellent options (I've heard good things about Canada, Australia and Hong Kong).

But, whatever, if you like crappy Argy food, that's cool. To each their own.
 

pauper

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tangobob said:
You may think it a given, I do not.

Have you ever been to an Argentine restaurant in Spain or The UK ?
They suck to. True every place that puports to cook the American way is truly awful, but then they cannot cook Fish and Chips either. Italian food also is awful, but the point is "when in Rome" if you go where the locals go and eat what the locals eat the food is excellent.
Nowhere in the world have I sought English bars or "Sunday lunch" as is often sold.

Been to America and I though the food was awful, does that make it bad? No just not to my taste. Leave your prejudices behind when you travel.
If you cannot enjoy the local fare that is your problem, not the local cooks.
What on earth are you talking about? Almost all the recommendations here have been places with a predominantly local clientele. I see no prejudice on this thread just what is the opinion of a great many foreigners that have made their homes here. In general the food is of a low standard and bland in BA - there is generally not a culture of appreciating, exploring and taking care in the preparation of food here. If you randomly try your luck with some corner restaurant, you're probably going to get more blandness, hence this thread.
 
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