Buenos Aires is a city of cherished food traditions, quality beef, and amazing wine. It’s also a place where lunch stretches into dinner, coffee dates last for hours on end, and sitting around the table with friends and family is so commonplace it has a name (the sobremesa).
This Buenos Aires guide will give you an introduction to the food traditions of Buenos Aires, the neighborhoods to explore during your visit, and things to do while you’re here.
Asado, the word for both a barbecue and a cut of meat (beef short ribs) is a Sunday afternoon tradition for many Buenos Aires families. Porteños (residents of Buenos Aires) also host asados for birthdays, work get togethers, family reunions, and everything in between.
Joining a family asado is a treat — asado invitations are often limited to inner circles of friends and families. You can book our one of our cooking experiences, including the Asado experience on an island in the Tigre Delta, for a taste of an authentic asado.
Argentines cook and eat almost every part of the cow. Chinchulín (intestines) are marinated in lemon and salt and then charred over a hot grill. Other organ meats you might find at a barbecue include riñones (kidneys) and mollejas (sweetbreads). Check out this meat guide for more on the different cuts of beef eaten in Argentina.
Dinners take place late here — from 9pm onward — and a hearty merienda is key to making it to dinner without a growling stomach.
Merienda at home or in the office might include mate, pronounced ma-teh (loose-leaf tea served in a gourd or cup), and cookies or medialunas (Argentine-style croissants), while friends enjoying merienda at a café might order coffee, tea, and elaborate cakes or tea time pastries.
Porteños don’t rush when it comes to meals. Diners hang around the table for the sobremesa, which translates to something like “over the table” and refers to the casual chit chat (and sometimes mate or dessert). Sobremesas can last anywhere from an hour...or two, or three.
On the 29th of every month, you’ll see gnocchi specials on every restaurants’ specials board. Everyone’s grandmother makes homemade gnocchis and special sauces from recipes passed through generations. Eating gnocchis on the 29th is good luck, but porteños love pasta every day of the month — thanks to the city’s history of Italian immigration.
The best wine to go with a juicy asado is an Argentine Malbec. This is the most well-known Argentine red, but other local wines, such as Torrontés from Salta or Patagonian Pinot Noirs, are also delicious.
Buenos Aires is not a city known for its varied street food in that way that Peruvian or Mexican cities might be. But Argentina has choripan, a chorizo sausage grilled and served in between a loaf of delicious bread, often slathered in chimichurri or salsa criolla, a kind of Argentine pico de gallo.
There’s enough variety in this city to spend your entire trip just trying new foods. For an extensive list of Argentine foods, check out local food blogger Pick Up the Fork’s Argentine Food Glossary.
Palermo is the place to be to try cuisines from all over the world. You’ll find hipster cafés, art galleries, clothing boutiques, and tons to see and do.
The cobblestone streets of San Telmo are full of historic charm mixed with a contemporary allure. San Telmo is full of museums and opportunities to dive into Argentine history. The restaurant scene has been booming recently, and there are tons of Bares Notables, or historic cafés.
Recoleta is one of the most affluent neighborhoods in Buenos Aires, and boasts intricate French architecture and plush hotels. The Recoleta Cemetery is one of the main attractions, and the weekend fair is a great way to spend a sunny day. When visiting, make sure to stop by and join the empanadas workshop.
Villa Crespo is full of art galleries, international restaurants and a growing number of craft beer breweries.
Coghlan is definitely one of the hidden secrets of Buenos Aires. Its quiet, tree-lined streets are known for the big, English-style homes. Join one of our hosts in this cosy part of the city to make empanadas and taste Argentine wines.
Colegiales is another one of Buenos Aires’ small, cosy neighborhoods. It’s home to the Mercado De Pulgas, a flea market full of upscale antiques and intriguing treasures.
The Tigre River Delta is just a short hour long train ride from downtown Buenos Aires, and a beautiful way to spend a sunny day outside of the city. You could spend the whole day on a private island with our island asado experience and enjoy a day trip the way the locals do, complete with kayaking and swimming in the river post-asado.
If you’re looking for something to do without leaving Buenos Aires, pack a picada (cheese and gourmet deli meats) and picnic by the river in the city’s Ecological Reserve.
Stroll through the weekend markets in Recoleta or San Telmo. The San Telmo fair takes place every Sunday and is an amazing way to spend a Sunday strolling along the cobblestones, browsing antiques and stopping for a choripan sandwich or two.