Buenos Aires Restaurant Highlights

This is a selective list of restaurants that we enjoyed during our trip.

Aroma – All over the city you’ll find Aroma cafes – many inside bookstores, others in stand-alone spots.  They feature fresh “US-style” sandwiches, many made with whole-grain bread, which you select yourself from the cold case.  Even if you don’t read Spanish you can probably identify a familiar ham and cheese!  Packaged salads are also available, along with yogurts, fruit salads, soft drinks (and wine and beer) plus delicious little desserts (brownie is now apparently a Spanish word).  Aroma is a great option for a light lunch, or a coffee or tea break in the afternoon.

Bella Italia. Republica Arábe de Siria 3285, in the main section of Palermo, near posh Libertador Avenue.   The restaurant occupies an old house, gutted down to the brick walls, to become a small, cozy, upscale Italian spot (whose owners, interestingly, have a venture in Fort Worth TX).   In the next block is the Bella Italia café, where you can have a light lunch or supper.  A classic Buenos Aires Italian.  4802-4253

Libelula (Dragonfly).  This fascinating Peruvian-Japanese place is near `Libertador on Lafinur at 3268, one street over from República de la India, which borders the zoo.  It offers a fine collection of ceviches and sushi – but the most interesting dishes are a kind of Andean/Japanese fusion, using traditional Andean ingredients such as quinoa/quinua, presented as risotto, or Peruvian chile (ají) in a sauce for fish.  Divine desserts.  Streetside you will see only a small black signboard with an outline drawing of a dragonfly – ring the bell and prepare to be delighted.  Tel 4803 6047

Hyatt Palacio Duhau. This extremely luxe hotel on Alvear in the Recoleta neighborhood offers a wide range of restaurants – we visited at teatime and had a super tea, with tiny sandwiches, scones, and desserts, and teas properly served in silver pots.  For the style and service, not expensive! The hotel is lodged in a former family mansion (supplemented by a modern building) with a block-deep garden behind.  Don’t miss this glimpse into the life of the rich in the early 20th century.

La Parolaccia Casa Tua.  The Parolacci group have created a new version of their very successful restaurants, at José María Gutiérrez 3765 in Palermo Botánico.  At mid-day a 20 peso (plus 5 peso cover, so let’s call it what it is, 25 pesos) three course menu is offered.  Wine is extra, but you’ll get a glass of sparkling wine – or orange juice – on arrival.  The array of options is amazing.   Add in excellent bread, a nice dip for the breadsticks, and the best Tiramisu we’ve eaten in a long long time, and you won’t be sorry you stopped in.  4514-3220

Jangada.  Jangada is about the only place in Buenos Aires where you can find fish from the Paraná river.  The name derives from the practice of floating logs down the river in a huge mass, with the log-driver perched on them, pushing them away from the banks – a “jangada.” (Paul Bunyan in the southern hemisphere!)  This new spot In Palermo Hollywood achieved its fifteen minutes of fame when the Bush twins descended on it the night after one twin’s cellphone was stolen in San Telmo.  Forget that and go for the fish!  (The only downside, oddly, is that your waiter may not be very knowledgeable about the fish – check Food and Drink in Argentina, or just order the surubí! Trillas for an appetizer or starter are excellent.  Bonpland 1670; 4777-4193 

Sabot.  This venerable restaurant in the center of Buenos Aires reeks of atmosphere and delivers excellent, classic Argentine food – meat, fish, revuelto gramajo, many specials on offer every day – pay attention to these, they are guaranteed to be seasonal and no frozen items ever appear.  At lunch you may notice that 95% of the clientele are businessmen, but don’t worry, there is a women’s room.   A visit to Buenos Aires is really not complete without a stop in this most porteño of restaurants. 25 de mayo 756, 4313-6587

Cabernet.  New spot in Palermo Viejo, at 1757 Borges, in a nicely recycled house.  Very comfortable ambience, and excellent modern porteño cooking, from sweetbreads to pasta to . . .  Tel 4831 307

La Cabrera.  Cabrera 5099 at Thames in Palermo Viejo (there is also La Cabrera Norte just down the street, which is much more elegant, but the original is the one to choose).  An outstanding parrilla, with the additional touch of serving many little dishes of vegetables and sauces to go with the meat.  Essential to share what you order with at least one other diner!  4831-7002  

© Copyright 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, Richard W. Tripp, Jr.