All posts by Roberto Lhopital

Born in Chacabuco (Buenos Aires Province) lived in Buenos Aires for 14 years. Former banker and economist, now I work for Google. I'm an enthusiastic traveller, a foodie and a wine lover. After emigrating from Argentina in 2002 I've lived in Madrid, Mexico, Amsterdam, Bogotá, Sao Paulo and now back in Mexico City.

Best beef restaurants in Buenos Aires / Traditional parrillas

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.  


Los Inmortales, traditional pizza in Buenos Aires


Los Inmortales should be a top 5 traditional Buenos Aires pizza of everybody’s ranking. As opposed to most of the traditional pizzerias, Los Inmortales is more upscale and everything has less fat. The pizza is much thinner.

The original Los Inmortales opened in 1952, and the large Gardel sign that became the pizzeria’s symbol was erected in 1955. Los Inmortales (“the inmortals”) was named after the many writers, actors, singers and musicians that populated its tables in the heart of the bohemian and theater scene of Buenos Aires in the 50’s. Los Inmortales was founded by Felipe Fiorellini and “Chiche” Da Ciancia.

Now it has brached out and has some 6 restaurants, but I would recommend stick to the traditional one at Corrientes avenue. It is located at Corrientes 1369, between Talcahuano and Uruguay. It opens daily from 12 to 4pm and 8pm to late in the evening. One of the few traditional pizzerias that accepts almost all credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, Amex).

El Cuartito, traditional pizza in Buenos Aires

El Cuartito is one the top places for traditional Buenos Aires pizza and maybe the only located in Barrio Norte (as the traditional pizzerias are concentrated at the Theater district along the Corrientes Avenue).

Founded in 1934 by Mr. López, a sports enthusiast, El Cuartito rapidly became a gallery to exhibit sports memorabilia of great value: from Argentine football team shirts to autographed  posters of famous world box championships.  Many argentine presidents have eaten at El Cuartito, as well as almost all sport stars of the past 5 decades.

The Napolitana and the fugazzeta are the best options of El Cuartito.  Empanadas are also very good.  Have them with large (650 cm3) Quilmes bottle of beer.

El Cuartito is located at Talcahuano 937, between Marcelo T. de Alvear and Paraguay, in Barrio Norte.  Opens daily from noon to 4pm, and from 8pm to late in the evening/morning. El Cuartito is a cash only place.

 

Guerrín, traditional pizza in Buenos Aires

Guerrín is one of the traditional pizza places in Buenos Aires.  No glamour, nothing fancy, just plain authentic Argentine pizza to enjoy seated or standing at the bar (I recommend the second option to have a true Buenos Aires pizza experience).

Located in the heart of the theatre district (Corrientes Avenue), people have a fast pizza before rushing to the theatre or enjoy it after theatre at 2am in the morning.  As most of the places in Corrientes, it closes very late in the morning as most the Porteños going to theaters and movies tend to dine after the event.   In daytime, you will see many people who work in the thousands of lawyers and accountants offices nearby.

Pizzaería Guerrin was founded by Franco Malvezzi in 1932.  Malvezzi, a theater lover himself picked a place in the heart of Avenida Corrientes, close to the main theaters in Buenos Aires.

As with all the traditional pizza places in Buenos Aires, the recommendations are the mozzarela (call it “moosa”), napolitana (tomato, mozzarella, garlic), fugazza (onion), fugazzetta (onion and cheese) and anchovies (anchovies and tomato sauce).  Have them with a chopp (draft beer) or a glass of moscato (amber sweet and spirited wine).

It opens daily at 8am and closes anytime around 2am-4am.  The Guerrín address is Corrientes 1368, between Uruguay and Talcahuano.

 

 

Rondinella, traditional Buenos Aires food

Cantina Rondinella is one of the traditional cantinas and bodegones in Buenos Aires to taste Buenos Aires authentic food, the one that dominated the Buenos restaurant scene before the arrival of the sophistication of the 90’s and the world tourists discovery in the early 2000’s.

Rondinella is cantina by the book: an endless menu, extremely professional waiters in their late 50s, traditional wine list, no focus on decoration (to say the least), enormous rations, and no-nonse with prices.

Almost everything is good at Rondinella, but this cantina is especially known for their home made pastas, offered with more than 12 sauces.  Try vermicelli, fussili, ravioli or (my favorites) capeletti.   If you will keep on walking for a while and have no stranger to kiss do not miss the Chivito a la Provenzal, a quarter kid roasted with garlic and parsley.

Rondinella is located in Palermo Hollywood, and is one of the favorite spots of the people (producers and talent) working in Channel 9 (across the street), Endemol and other of the many tv production companies in the area.  Over the weekend it becomes a retreat of local families and old couples that have been sitting at the same table for 30 years.  Try to avoid weekends as it may get to crowded.

Do not expect a fancy place, cantinas are aimed for great food at the best value for money. The decoration (or the lack of it) dates back to the late 80s.

Cantina Rondinella address: Avenida Alvarez Thomas 12 (between Dorrego and Concepción Arenal), across the street from the Mercado de Pulgas (Dorrego flea market).  Phone: 4775-6216. It used to close on Tuesday, so check it out before you go.  They take all credit cards (something not so common with the cantinas).

Roberto Lopez Viajes

What to do 3 days in Buenos Aires

Like many other big cities in the world, my impression is that the minimum stay should be 7 days to get a complete feeling of Buenos Aires.  But as most of the visitors want to also visit other places like Patagonia during their trips, somehow the time dedicated to Buenos Aires is more limited.

So, if you only had 3 days to stay in Buenos Aires, these are my suggestions:

Day 1: Avoid starting by the obvious tourist attractions.  The first impression needs to be an authentic one.  Take a long walk along the busy Avenida Santa Fé, connecting Retiro, Palermo and Barrio Norte.  Stop by the cafés, and sip a “cortado” (local macchiato) watching busy Porteños (people from Buenos Aires) at work.   Keep on walking watching people, french architecture buildings and when you get hungry stop by a traditional pizzeria to have quick lunch, you’ll need space in your stomach for Buenos Aires’ main meal (dinner).

Get some rest, and get ready to head to Palermo Soho or Palermo Hollywood for a drink, dinner and more drinks.  If you stay for dinner you can have a glimpse of Buenos Aires’s amazing nightlife, if you stay later for drinks you will absorbed by it…

Day 2: Have breakfast at a cafe near your hotel, any of them will offer tasty “medialunas” (croissants), “tostados” (ham and cheese hot sandwich) and good coffee.  Head to the “Microcentro” (city center/financial district).   Start in Plaza San Martín, walk by Florida pedestrian street.  Then take Reconquista (recently become pedestrian also).  See bankers and executives shout, laugh and moan about their daily luck.  Sit down at a coffee. Take Corrientes Avenue down to Puerto Madero.   Walk by the old peers now become restaurants and expensive office space.  Take Sarmiento street and get to San Martín street, turn left and you will be in Plaza de Mayo, sorrounded by the Casa Rosada (presidential building), the Catedral, the Cabildo and other historic buildings.  Take Balcarce street and head to San Telmo, Buenos Aires’ old neighborhood.  Window shop the hundreds of antique shops, visit its food market, have a beer at the terraces of Plaza Dorrego.  Have lunch at one of its traditional parrillas.  Get some rest, and on the evening head to Palermo or other “Milonga” places to see real tango dancing.

Day 3: In the first two days you had an ambitious but kind of generic coverage of the best areas of Buenos Aires.  The third day is to focus on specific places, on your interests and eventually returning to some of the places you discovered.  In the list of recommended places for the third day you may consider:

  • Teatro Colón (Buenos Aires Opera house, now re-open after 5 years refurbishment)
  • La Boca/Caminito (riverside, working class neighborhood, home to the famous football team)
  • MALBA Museum (contemporary art) and Bellas Artes Museum
  • Recoleta: walk around the park, visit the cemetery, have a coffee at La Biela
  • Take a tango lesson
Hurry up and have fun!
Roberto Lopez Viajes
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