Ok, Puerto Madero beef restaurants are good, but if you prefer local experiences and spending much less money there are very good options other than Cabaña Las Lilas or Los Mirasoles in Puerto Madero. Or the trendy Miranda in Palermo, where beef quality has gone down to the pathetic level of the service of their wanna-be-models/frustrated waiters.
In almost any corner of each of the Buenos Aires neighborhoods you will find a parrilla to mingle with the locals, “una parrilla de barrio” (a neighborhood parrilla) that will provide you with a beef and wine feast you will never forget (and will cost a fraction of what you pay in touristy places).
Herebelow there is an initial list of some of the most famous ones, but I sincerely encourage you to deep dive into the Buenos Aires’ inner neighborhoods and discover your beloved one, there are plenty of them.
- Don Zoilo: located in the heart of Buenos Aires (between Caballito and Villa Crespo neighborhoods), in the very nest of the Buenos Aires middle class, Don Zoilo has been offering traditional beef and pork food in large portions for years. Adress: Avenida Honorio Pueyrredón 1406 (ask for the Cid Campeador monument). Phone: 4588-3800
- Desnivel: beef quality is not as good as the others in this best parrillas list, but Desnivel offers a lot of beef for little money. The secret is not to venture with sophisticated cuts, and focus on plain asado, thinly cut, they cannot fail. Cheap furniture, some grease on the walls, lots of noise, is a true refuge for those desperate for a piece of beef in the old San Telmo neighborhood. At Desnivel you must pair the low cost asado with some of the traditional Argentine popular wine labels, like Vasco Viejo, Valderrobles or (a bit better) Carcassone to have the full low cost experience. Address: Defensa 855; Phone: 4300 9081
- Don Julio: Best parrilla in Palermo, no tourists until a few years ago, now included in all travel books. Amazing wine list, you can sign your empty bottle and leave it as part of the parrilla decor. Address: Guatemala 4691 -and Gurruchaga-; phone: 4831 9564 and 4832-6058.
- La Dorita: born in Palermo, it has now opened some new restaurants to cope with the expanding clientele. Good beef, and wine served in “pinguinos” (ceramic jars with penguin shape) that were traditional at the Buenos Aires popular restaurants until the 80′s. Address: Humbolt 1892; Phone: 4776 5653
- La Brigada: traditional San Telmo parrilla, now it has gone upscale and become very expensive. It has also expanded the restaurant space five times its original size. It has lost some of its charm, but it is worth visiting, the beef is great. Make a reservation, it is always very crowded (both tourists and old customers including former soccer stars and coaches that started visiting when they were still playing/training). Address: Estados Unidos 465; Phone: 4361-5557
- Los Talas del Entrerriano: a totally unique experience, worth the effort traveling to some of the ugliest suburban areas of Buenos Aires (José León Suárez). A huge barrack with hundreds of cows, porks and lambs being cooked at the same time. Address: Juan Manuel de Rosas 1391, José León Suárez (14 km away from downtown Buenos Aires); Phone: 4729 852.
Other traditional parrillas worth including in the list are: La Gran Luli (Bonpland 2205 in Palermo, greasy and cheap), El 22 (popular and soccer themed, Jufre 1085 in Villa Crespo), Lo de Mary (low end, Humahuaca 4099 in Almagro), Lo de Charly (open 24 hs, made popular by taxi drivers, located in Villa Ortúzar at Alvarez Thomas 2101). There are probably another 100 parrillas worth mentioning, those “parrillas de barrio” (neighborhood parrillas) that keep on reflecting the true Buenos Aires asado experience. The best I can recommend to discover one new jewel is to take any bus heading to the inner neighborhoods in Buenos Aires (Villa Crespo, Chacarita, Caballito, Villa Pueyrredón, Liniers, Paternal, etc), ride for 30 minutes, and then walk a few blocks in any direction, you’ll find one.