Bar at Cabaña Las Lilas, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Cabaña Las Lilas

Porteño power lunchers in suits sit next to American tourists plotting their itineraries on large city maps at this traditional Argentine parrilla. Even the most discriminating meat-loving locals are willing to turn a blind eye toward Las Lilas’ touristy reputation so they can feast on every single part of a cow perfectly cooked: mollejas de corazón (sweetbread), morcilla (blood sausage), riñones de ternera (veal kidneys) and more. Non-meat-eating dining partners will love the roster of salads, rich and creamy side dishes (potatoes and squash) and fresh fish, such as merluza negra (Chilean sea bass), Patagonian spider crab and salmon.

Editors' Picks
Dinning Area at Café La Biela, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Café La Biela

What better way to soak up the local culture than to enjoy a coffee in this historic café with its large outdoor terrace overlooking a Recoleta park. This corner coffee shop is over 150 years old, and on Sundays, it is particularly popular with locals who come to shop for artisanal crafts and tchotchkes.

Exterior View - Café San Juan, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Café San Juan

This family-run San Telmo institution, helmed by the rakish Leandro Cristobal, has a great bistro vibe. Waiters scurry back and forth across the black and white checkered floor, ferrying chalkboard menus scrawled with Cristobal's winning interpretations of Argentine staples. Café San Juan is perfect for lunch after a Sunday morning stroll around the neighborhood's famous crafts market.

Exterior View - Café Tortoni,  Buenos Aires, Argentina - Courtesy of Kaled Naya

Café Tortoni

Yes, it is always filled with tourists but locals also adore Café Tortoni and the grand interiors are virtually as they were a century ago—and decades ago—when this was the haunt of the city’s great intellectuals. Founded in 1858, Café Tortoni celebrates traditions: the traditional cuisine and atmosphere. The churros and hot chocolate are incredibly rich and tasty, but skip the regular menu. Best as a coffee stop while touring the Plaza de Mayo.

Editors' Picks
Bar at Club Francés, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Club Francés

Locals rejoiced when Club Frances reopened, on the promenade in Recoleta. The menu features traditional French cuisine, and well-heeled locals laud the professional wait staff and spacious layout of tables. Perfect for an older couple, less so for cool hunters.


This Recoleta standby specializes in the earthy cazuelas (casseroles) and locros (stews) of northern Argentina. Given its relaxed atmosphere and convenient location within walking distance of many of the city's best hotels, not to mention the extensive selection of empanadas salteñas, Cumaná is a brilliant low-key dinner option for families with young children.

Don Julio

Travelers in search of an authentic parrilla, Argentine barbecue, should stop by Palermo’s Don Julio. Away from the tourist crowds, this low-key grill has excellent meat, well-trained waiters and huge wine list.

Food at El Cuartito, Buenos Aires, Argentina

El Cuartito

El Cuartito's crusts are thick and doughy, draped unapologetically in dense, oozy mozzarella and liberally spangled with jamón (ham) and morrón (roasted red pepper). Authentic Neapolitan pizza this is not, but you're unlikely to find a slice—or a setting—that's more categorically porteño. Tango memorabilia and photos of Diego Maradona cover the walls, which are painted a patriotic fútbol blue. The boisterous dining rooms are packed nightly until 1:00 am with families digging into the local favorite "Fugazzeta" (a white pie topped simply but unsparingly with onions and cheese) and abuelitos with pleading eyes, who gesticulate to the harried waiters as if they've been waiting for a round of Quilmes since the joint opened in 1934.

El Desnivel

For a down-and-dirty, authentic Argentine parrilla experience (and the least expensive meal you’ll ever buy on vacation), do lunch or dinner at El Desnivel. It’s crowded, hot, badly lit and can be a bit rowdy, but you’ll enjoy some delicious meat and tasty organs that you’ll be glad you (and your waiter) can’t seem to translate into English.

Bar at El Obrero, Buenos Aires, Argentina

El Obrero

Locals and in-the-know tourists (plus the occasional celebrity) flock to this old school eatery in La Boca. Owned and managed by the waiters, El Obrero is a good stop for an authentic lunch after seeing the neighborhood’s famous painted houses. Keep in mind that La Boca is one of BA’s tougher barrios, so if dining here at dinner, be sure to travel by taxi, not on foot.

Bar at La Brigada, Buenos Aires, Argentina

La Brigada

Tables aren’t easy to come by at this classic steakhouse in San Telmo. Reputedly a favorite of Francis Ford Coppola, the meat is excellent and the atmosphere authentic. Says an Indagare member: “This is a delicious restaurant. The steaks were great, although the waiter looked very alarmed when I asked if there were any ‘vegetables,’ and he had to say no, although he did point out some vegetable fritters. Again the wait staff did not speak much English, but we got by with an Italian/English/Spanish combination and had a great dinner.” La Brigada is an excellent choice for dinner before a tango show.

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La Cabaña

This is Buenos Aires’ version of the 21 Club in New York, and in fact, both were at one point owned by the Belmond Hotels company. So, yes, there is something historic and traditional about it but also a bit touristy. There are wonderful wood paneled walls and old leather club chairs that give the place the feeling of an old speakeasy or a gentlemen’s club. There are certainly more authentic places to experience old world Buenos Aires, but the food is delicious, and it can handle larger groups of family and friends traveling together. As at ‘21’, there is a great wine cellar and great private dining rooms.

Dinning Area at La Cabrera, Buenos Aires, Argentina

La Cabrera

Widely considered to be a less commercial alternative to the parrilla experience at Las Lilas, this perennially packed Palermo restaurant serves all the same parts of the cow, minus a bit of the theater. Go early as both locations (they are almost next door to each other) tend to fill quickly in the evenings.

Editors' Picks

La Rambla

If you're looking for an authentic porteño café complete with locals reading the paper and old-school waiters wearing bow ties, don't miss La Rambla.
Bar at Oviedo, Buenos Aires, Argentina


Between its old school dining room—crown molding, octagon-tiled floors, and lots of bronze and wrought-iron accents—and its waiters dressed in black vests and bow ties, this traditional Spanish restaurant looks fresh out of 1930s Madrid. And Oviedo’s authentic tortilla, cod and paella dishes are so scrumptious you’ll want to eat another meal here before you leave BA.

Pulpería Quilapán

Pulpería Quilapán offers is a no-frills but decidedly atmospheric lunch spot set in a restored colonial era house with a whimsical aesthetic.

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