Buenos dias! After traveling around Argentina for the last ten days, I can happily report back on the amazing experience and of course, on the delicious food. Argentines love their meat, cheese, and bread. Like, really love. The most common foods we saw were empanadas, pizza, and steak [parillas].
We started our trip in Buenos Aires, a gigantic city with distinct neighborhoods. We stayed in Palermo Soho, which turned out to be a great choice. Palermo is all shops and restaurants, incredibly walkable, and basically kind of like NYC SoHo. Pricier and full of well dressed people. We ate a lot of different cafes/restaurants in this area, and a few places have a full ‘continental’ breakfast, as opposed to the classic bread + jam + coffee.
Everything starts a bit later in Argentina, and dinner is no exception. The typical time for dinner is around 9:30/10pm, which means happy hour is around 7/8pm. Wine is literally cheaper than water in most cases, and getting a bottle for the table can be around $7 USD, usually Malbec. Beer is also very affordable. We discovered our new favorite kind of Stella, Stella Noire, which is a dark beer that’s a bit sweet instead of bitter.
Our largest meals were definitely at parillas [pronounced pa-ree-sha by Argentines]. Parillas are Argentine steakhouses, and they are everywhere. And I love them. Such good, quality meat as well as amazing sides. I always went for the verduras grilladas [grilled vegetables] and provoleta, which is baked cheese with herbs. Obviously it’s delicious.
As you can see above, the cuts of steak are massive. There’s also so many choices for varieties of steak depending on your preference. Nothing we tried was bad, however some of the cuts are naturally much fattier so be sure to understand what kind of cut you want before ordering.
Milanesa is another classic Argentine food. We tried it a few times, and found that the dish does vary greatly. It’s typically with chicken, but can be with steak as well, and is similar to chicken parm except you can choose to have it breaded or baked, and it’s not smothered in sauce. In the photos below, the chicken is flattened and then breaded, but sometimes it’s like a classic chicken breast baked with tomatoes and herbs. Usually milanesa is with tomatoes, but at one place we tried, you could choose the toppings.
In Mendoza, which is equivalent to Napa Valley for us, we were able to go to several wineries. Most wineries there produce Malbec, but there’s also Chardonnay and Syrah. We also had the chance to tour an olive oil factory which was very cool. The factory had only recently switched to modern methods for creating the oil, so we could see the classic, and arduous, time consuming techniques that had been used for hundreds of years.
We absolutely loved our trip to Argentina. I’ll admit, I might need a break from cheese for a few days, but everything we experienced was wonderful. Buenos Aires has a rich history and you could spend weeks just walking the city, learning about what it has to offer. The bar & club scenes are huge, and as I said before, everything starts later in Argentina, so don’t expect to head out on the town until at least midnight, maybe later. We really liked some of the bars in San Telmo, like Doppelganger and La Puerta Roja. Also be sure to head to one of the government’s bares notables, which are protected, historical bars. El Federal is a popular one, and we liked El Hipopotamo [be sure to try their homemade sidra].
TL;DR: eat cheese, meat, and bread and enjoy Malbec by the bottle. My favorite foods of the trip were verdura empanadas, provoleta, cazuela [with cheese and spinach], flan with dulce de leche, alfajores, and verduras grilladas. If you’re thinking of planning your own trip to Argentina, definitely take time to travel to cities all over! We loved Rosario and Mendoza, and wished we’d been able to travel to more areas.