A Taste of Knowledge – Traditional Desserts in Argentina, Translated & Explained

If you love sweets and are also intrigued by local food knowledge, Glutton Guide Buenos Aires has a treat for you! This list of delicious terms is every bit as sugary as it looks, and you’ll want to add everything to your culinary itinerary.

Diabetics beware: porteños have quite the sweet tooth and are unabashedly gluttonous when it comes to desserts. Classic Argentine cakes and pies are often local twists on European classics (usually gooier, sweeter and likely smothered in dulce de leche, or DDL). Expect to find DDL in places you never thought possible, as well as iterations of chocolate, meringue and fruits. And then there’s the helado (ice cream), which rounds out the Argentine holy trinity, right up there with Messi and the Pope.

Sweets Dictionary

Alfajores: two round cookies with DDL in between, either made with flour (harina) and covered in chocolate or powdered sugar, or with cornstarch (maicena) and rolled in toasted coconut

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Budín de pan: bread pudding

Chocotorta: a no-bake favorite at friendly gatherings made of Chocolinas cookies dunked in milk/coffee, with layers of DDL + cream cheese

Flan mixto: a typical flan or crème caramel with helpings of whipped cream and DDL

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Lemon pie: tart lemon pie with a generous portion of meringue on top

Membrillo: quince paste

Panqueques: a thin crepe filled with DDL or marmalade

Pasta frola: a pie with a lattice crust made with quince paste, sweet potato paste or guava jelly

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Postre vigilante or queso y dulce: thick slice of cheese accompanied with quince paste or sweet potato paste


Rogel: thin layers of puff pastry alternating with layers of DDL and topped with meringue


Is your mouth watering yet? You can find out the best places in Buenos Aires to eat every single one of these decadent desserts : just take a look at Glutton Guide Buenos Aires! You’ll be the life of the party! And your friends and family will be eternally indebted to you for introducing them to such heavenly, sugary goodness.

The Facts about Facturas – Buenos Aires Desserts’ Double Meanings

The only thing that comes close to being as satisfying as desserts are facts about desserts! Want to know why Buenos Aire’s facturas have evocative names like nun’s sigh or friar’s balls? If you’re keen to hear about the cultural context of Argentinian desserts, this informative post by Glutton Guide Buenos Aires will satisfy your cravings.

Ever thought of eating a friar’s balls (bolas del fraile) for breakfast? In typical lunfardo fashion, words have an often-ironic double meaning. In the late 19th century, Italian anarchists (some of whom also happened to be bakers) hiding out in Argentina started organizing anarchist resistance groups and published the newsletter El Obrero Panadero (The Bakery Worker). As a form of resistance against the government, police and Catholic Church, they started giving sarcastic names to their baked goods to taunt the powers they protested. Which is why no porteño will think twice about asking the baker for a nun’s sigh (suspiro de monja) to accompany his café. Facturas tend to be quite heavy and sweet – many are sugar glazed and/or filled with pastry cream, dulce de leche or membrillo (quince paste). The rebellious bakers have long since gone but the names have stayed.

Some of the most common factura names include:

Bolas del fraile (friar’s balls): pastry balls filled with dulce de leche or pastry cream

Cañoncitos (little cannons): puff pastry tubes filled with dulce de leche

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Medialunas (half moons): small, dense croissants (but don’t call them that!) that come in two varieties (medialunas de manteca, a flakier version made with lard, and medialunas de grasa, made with butter and topped with a sweet glaze), which are sold plain, made into sandwiches or stuffed with dulce de leche or pastry cream

Moño con membrillo y crema pastelera: “bow ties” with quince paste and pastry cream

Pañuelitos de grasa (fat wipes): layers of puff pastry

Suspiro de monja (nun’s sigh): pastry balls filled with pastry cream and covered with sugar

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Tortita negra (small black pastry): small round pastry covered with dark brown sugar vigilantes: long, thin puff pastry with a sweet glaze


The thought of anarchist bakers is simply intriguing (as are the pastries themselves.) If you want to find out for yourself what they taste like, or if you want something savory beforehand, check out Glutton Guide Buenos Aires! It will steer you in the right direct and ensure that you’re having only the best friar’s balls. 

Buenos Aires’ Best Merienda (Afternoon Tea)

Owing to a strong Southern European influence, many countries in Latin America partake in the custom of merienda, an afternoon snack that is essentially a fourth meal of the day. In BA, merienda lasts from between 5-7pm, when kids come home hungry from school and adults are fighting the afternoon slump at work when someone inevitably proposes, Vamos a tomar el té? (Shall we go have tea?). Below are Buenos Aires’ best merienda spots, and you can download Glutton Guide Buenos Aires for more info on these snack stops. 

In Bocca al Lupo


Don’t let your mediocre Italian skills scare you away from this neighborhood café. The translated name – “into the wolf’s mouth” – is actually an Italian idiom to wish someone good luck, akin to “break a leg”. The only luck you’ll need here is choosing what delicious dish to order. From the homemade pastas to the tasty tarts on display, the choice is not an easy one. The cheerful, airy décor and friendly staff make it the perfect low-key spot to spend time reading or relaxing in the enclosed patio. Depending on the time of day, opt for the merienda fixed menu, especially if it includes their freshly squeezed orange juice.

Las Violetas


Step back in time to a place where old school white-coated waiters have been serving meals, drinks and friendly advice to generations of families since 1884. Las Violetas is now a historical landmark and bar notable (historic bar) and one of Buenos Aires’ best merienda spots. This restaurant/pastry shop has undergone two renovations (in the 1920s and in 2001) though the Italian marble columns and French stained glass windows look as though they were installed yesterday. The architecture and atmosphere are delightfully over the top, as are the afternoon tea portions. Mountains of sandwiches, pastries, toasts and sweets are more than a “snack”. (Tea for two could easily satisfy four.) Linger awhile like the locals and admire the lavish décor from another era. And don’t forget to take home something sweet from the amply stocked and highly sugared confitería (pastry shop).

Ninina Bakery

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Since it opened in 2013, this popular spot has become a merienda fixture in Buenos Aires. If it is busy you may even snag the best seat in the house – right in the middle of the kitchen. Everything on the menu is prepared with care and that little touch of something extra. Savory items like the avocado toast and cold salads are healthy and delicious. But the real stars are the desserts, lined up like trophies along the long marble bar and ranging from the delicate to the downright sinful. The best deal by far though are the tea time menus, which offer generous combinations of sweet and savory items in addition to drinks.

Petit Colon


Bow-tied waiters whoosh past the dark wood paneling between café chairs. Welcome to one of BA’s bares notables (historic bars). Petit Colón, open since 1978, has a central downtown location that draws an interesting cross-section of society. During working hours lawyers come for a jolt of caffeine before heading back to their offices at the courts. But by night the scene transforms into well-clad theater-goers sharing a carafe of wine before a performance at Teatro Colón. Resist the temptation to succumb to “Paris of the South” clichés. And soak in the atmosphere while munching on a factura displayed on the long wooden bar. If hungry for something more, it is best to stick to the local classics like a lomito sandwich or ham & cheese tostados.

Hungry for More? Read Buenos Aires’ Best Food Books!

Read your way through Glutton Guide Buenos Aires: The Hungry Traveler’s Guidebook, but still want more? Dig into these food books on Buenos Aires and Argentinian cuisine. Don’t even think about reading them on an empty stomach!

bodegones

Bodegones of Buenos Aires 

Food critic and writer Pietro Sorba’s book is an indispensable guide for anyone interested in traditional porteño restaurants (bodegones). He defines bodegones as sharing the following in common: abundant portions, Spanish/Italian influences, years of history, affordable prices and professional waiters. His passion for the subject is evident; the descriptions read like short love letters. This book is just one in a series of food guides covering pizzerias, parrillas and many more. This book is available in a bilingual Spanish/English edition. More info.  

The Food and Cooking Of Argentina: 65 Traditional Recipes from the Heart of South America 

Whether you’re missing the flavors from Argentina or too poor to buy a ticket in the first place, this go-to cookbook will bring Argentina to you. With 65 recipes, BA native Chef Cesar Bartolini covers all the classics from empanadas to locro to DIY dulce de leche. Happy cooking! More info.  

creating_a_common_table_in_twentieth-century_argen-pite_rebekah_e-21514029-3323719528-frntl

Creating a Common Table in Twentieth-Century Argentina: Doña Petrona, Women, and Food 

Doña Petrona is one of the most famous Argentine women and author of the voluminous cookbook El Gran Libro de Doña Petrona. The book is found in almost every Argentina home. Author Rebekah E. Pite illuminates the fascinating intersection of gender roles, food, history and economic development in 20th century Argentina. More info

Seven Fires: Grilling the Argentine Way 

Argentina’s star chef and grill master Francis Mallmann’s first book is an ode to fire and traditional cooking techniques from his native Patagonia. While not everyone has room to cook an entire cow at home, Mallmann offers his classic recipes with twists for an indoor kitchen and a how-to guide for a proper Sunday asado. More info.  

Check out Mallmann’s episode on the sensually-shot Netflix documentary series Chef’s Table. His romantic personality shines through. Even the staunchest urbanites will be left wanting to catch and cook a fish over an open fire in remote Patagonia. More info.

Vino Argentino: An Insider’s Guide to the Wines and Wine Country of Argentina 

If you are looking to learn more about Argentine vino and terroir, who better than to consult than Laura Catena? The fourth generation of an Italo-Argentine winemaking family, Catena is also the president of famed winery Bodega Catena Zapata. The book explores the history of wine in Argentina and its regions and varietals. After reading, you will make you want to book a flight to Mendoza immediately. She also shares recipes of classic Argentine dishes to pair perfectly with a bottle of Malbec or Torrontés. More info 

Download your copy of Glutton Guide Buenos Aires, and start eating like a local today!

Buenos Aires’ Best Pasta

With a long history of immigration from Italy, pizza and pasta are, not surprisingly, a ubiquitous presence on Argie tables. The second of the three staples of porteño cuisine, homemade pasta is a well-prepared dish all over town. Discover Buenos Aires best pasta joints, and some of the most slurpable noodles this side of Rome.

Cucina Paradiso

Walking into Donato De Santis’ restaurants is like stepping into Italy.  It has a warm atmosphere, respect for tradition and the best quality ingredients. His accessibility belies the fact that this Milan-born chef has cooked for jetsetters from LA to Miami, and was once Gianni Versace’s personal chef in New York. Cucina Paradiso is a one-stop shop at any time of day for an Italian fix: seasonal homemade pastas for lunch, two-for-one aperitivos at happy hour or an afternoon espresso and dessert. And no reservations required. Its walls are also lined with imported Italian products to take home that are not always easy to find elsewhere in the city.

Belgrano location: Map. Castañeda 1873. Train: Line Belgrano Norte – Scalabrini Ortiz. Tel: +54 11 4780 2409. Hours: Mon-Sat 9am-midnight.

Palermo Hollywood location: Map. Arévalo 1538. Subte: Line D – Ministro Carranza. Tel: +54 11 4770 9406. Hours: Mon-Tue 10am-10pm, Wed-Sat 10am-midnight. Menu: Spanish & Italian. Web: www.cucinaparadiso.com

Guido

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Tucked in a quieter part of Palermo near the zoo is Guido, serving some of the best pasta in Buenos Aires. This dimly-lit Italian restaurant with checkered tablecloths boasts an opinionated wait staff who will joke about anything but the food. Homemade pastas are served family style, perfect to order a few and share with good company. While waiting for a table, the large wooden bar is the perfect place to strike up a conversation with a regular while sipping on a Cinzano. Feel free to linger over dinner, dessert and drinks because Guido is open late even by Argie standards, making it a low-key yet entertaining night shared with friends old or new.

Cerviño 3943. Subte: Line D – Plaza Italia. Tel: +54 15 4802 1262. Hours: Tue-Sun 7pm-3am. Menu: Spanish & English. Web: www.guidorestaurant.com.ar

For more info on the best places to eat and drink in BA, including more of Buenos Aires’ best pasta joints, download your copy of Glutton Guide Buenos Aires: The Hungry Traveler’s Guidebook and start eating like a local.

Top Three Parrillas in Buenos Aires

The parrilla is a typical steakhouse, but also the physical grill the meat is cooked on. Parrillas range in size from portable mini-grills to massive doublewides, and some apartment buildings include them as an amenity. Parrillas are unifying spaces in Argentina, a rare common ground where rival soccer clubs, opposing political groups and different social classes intersect in pursuit of juicy steak. You can find them everywhere, from the most humble barrios to the poshest neighborhoods. Luckily for meat lovers, good quality beef is still relatively affordable and accessible to most of the population. Here are three of the best parrillas in Buenos Aires:

Cabaña Las Lilas

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Not for the meat-shy or shallow of pocket, Cabaña is a powerhouse parrilla in Buenos Aires’ Puerto Madero neighborhood. It is popular with dollar-wielding visitors and diners with expense accounts. Perfect for special occasions and business dinners (especially if someone else is paying), the beef is of the highest quality and handpicked daily by the owners (they are also award-winning cattle ranchers). Warning: it may be the best steak of your life

Alicia Moreau de Justo 516. Subte: Line B – Leandro N. Alem. Tel: +54 11 4313 1336. Hours: 12pm-1am. Menu: Spanish & English. Web: www.restaurantlaslilas.com.ar

Don Julio

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Don Julio just marked its 15th year as a Buenos Aires parrilla, but it feels like it’s been around forever. The restaurant made it to the 45th spot on Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants of 2015. The giant posters of cuts of meat, open grill and wine bottles signed by past guests lining the walls make it feel like an institution, which it has become in the midst of trendy Palermo. The quality of the meat, service and atmosphere make it popular among tourists and locals alike. Its growing popularity unfortunately means longer wait times, eased with complimentary bubbly, so go early (7-8pm) to assure a table.

Guatemala 4691. Subte: Line D – Scalabrini Ortiz. Tel: +54 11 4831 9564 / 4832 6058. Hours: 12-4 pm, 7pm-close. Menu: Spanish & English. Web: www.parrilladonjulio.com.ar

La Brigada

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La Brigada is everything a Buenos Aires parrilla should be: a family-run institution headed by a charismatic owner who is not only a master griller, but also a serious wine collector. Look down at the epic 48,000 bottle collection he amassed below the restaurant! The meat is perfectly grilled, and if you have your doubts, the owner may come out and cut it for you with a spoon, as he first did to prove to a customer it was perfect, or so the legend goes. Soccer jerseys, no-nonsense waiters and famous clientele round out the whole experience.

Estados Unidos 465. Subte: Line C/E – Independencia. Tel: +54 11 4361 5557 / 4685. Hours: 12-3 pm, 8pm-close. Menu: Spanish & English. Web: www.parrillalabrigada.com.ar

For more info on the best places to eat and drink in BA, download your copy of Glutton Guide Buenos Aires: The Hungry Traveler’s Guidebook and start eating like a local.

 

How to Eat Vegetarian in Buenos Aires

Vegetarian options have traditionally been something of an afterthought in Argentine cuisine, like a hunk of pumpkin or pile of mashed potatoes that pale next to a steak. That has been changing in recent years thanks to the influence of global food trends and a greater concern for healthy eating. Vegetarians in Buenos Aires are no longer doomed to eat a lettuce and tomato salad or pick from the breadbasket. There are lots of great vegetarian (or veg-friendly) restaurants, organic food stores, open-air markets and smoothie bars, and even gluten-free eats for those with dietary concerns or cravings for healthier options.

Al-Zein

 

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Al-Zein follows in the tradition of great Middle Eastern restaurants: a family affair in which the food, prepared with love, is a source of pride for the hardworking owners. One block off the busy avenue of Las Cañitas, the casual spot opened in 2010 to bring the best Syrian-style shawarma to Buenos Aires. Every dish on the small menu is authentic and tasty (and many are veg-friendly). The indoor dining room is lined with images and decorations from the old country while outside regulars puff the afternoon away on a hookah.

Arce 488. Subte: Line D – Ministro Carranza. Tel: +54 114775 1402. Hours: Tue-Sun 12pm-midnight. Menu: Spanish only.

Buenos Aires Market 

 

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BA Market started in 2012 and is growing in popularity each year. The roving organic food market enlivens different city neighborhoods with more than 60 vendors of produce, baked goods, prepared foods and local products as well as cooking and nutrition classes. While there is no fixed calendar, it is always held on weekends, and they frequently update their Facebook page with dates and location. Make sure to get any shopping done before noon though because hungry crowds become overwhelming by lunchtime.

Web: www.facebook.com/buenosairesmarket

Buenos Aires Verde

 

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Part restaurant, part store, BA Verde is an organic and vegetarian food haven. All portions are extremely plentiful, and they offer special menus for every meal. They offer veggie wraps and salads, as well as more creative options tasty enough to satisfy a carnivorous soul. Vegans and raw food eaters have lots of choices here. Because of the range of healthy food being offered, the colorful and casual spot attracts diners from all walks of life. Expect fresh-off-the-boat Californians, Hare Krishnas and the Palermo office crowd. Service is quite slow though, so relax and sip on one of the house elixires de la vida. This genius wine-smoothie combo goes great with admiring the trippy photos of raw vegetables radiating energy.

Gorriti 5657. Subte: Line D – Palermo. Tel: +54 11 4775 9594. Hours: Mon-Sat 9:30am-12:30am. Menu: Spanish & English. Web: www.bsasverde.com

Full City Coffee House

Started by an Anglo-Colombian couple, Full City found the recipe for the perfect coffee house: comfy couches, tasty eats, reliable wifi and killer coffee. Beans are 100 percent sourced from Colombia (thanks to a family coffee connection there), and the menu has a variety of dishes. Try Colombian favorites like arepas (maize flatbreads with cheese, meat or other vegetarian fillings) and tropical fruit juices as well as other international eats. If you find yourself hanging around for a while, they also offer classes on the art of preparing coffee and the perfect espresso.

Thames 1535. Subte: Line B – Dorrego. Tel: +54 11 4833 6774. Hours: Tue- Fri 10am-8pm, Sat 11am-8pm, Sun 11am-6pm. Menu: Spanish & English. Web: www.facebook.com/fullcitycoffeehouse

Fukuro Noodle Bar

 

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Since 2013, Fukuro has filled a gap in the Buenos Aires food scene to the delight of Asian food lovers. Everything on the small, curated menu is made from scratch with love, down to the alkaline noodles and secret spicy sauce. Owners (and spouses) Vanessa and Matías Camozzi travelled the world specifically to learn from the best and create their own Taiwanese/Japanese fusion in Palermo. They offer dumplings, steamed buns and ramen (some vegetarian) as well as sake and local artisanal beer. The décor is as colorful as the food is tasty, complete with original stencil art by local graffiti artist Cabaio. It is also a great place for solo diners to eat in peace or sit at the bar and make new friends.

Costa Rica 5514. Subte: Line D – Palermo. Tel: +54 15 3290 0912. Hours: Tue-Thu 8pm-midnight, Fri-Sat 8pm-1am. Menu: Spanish & English. Web: www.fukuronoodlebar.com

Hierbabuena


Translated as “good herb”, this natural deli/restaurant is one of those rare dining gems that pleases vegetarians and carnivores alike. They offer a creative menu of salads, sandwiches and main dishes, as well as an impressive line-up of homemade smoothies and juices. Though it’s not a meatless restaurant, the care given to veggies often tempts meat lovers to put down the steak knife for a meal… and like it. Snag an outdoor table if the weather is nice, and you’ll be feeling good both inside and out.

Av. Caseros 454. Subte: Line C – Constitución. Tel: +54 11 4362 2542. Hours:Mon 9am-5pm, Tue-Sun 9am-midnight. Web: www.hierbabuena.com.ar

MEME Sopa & Roll

 

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Channeling a bit of that rebellious rock and roll spirit, this great little daytime joint goes against the grain in a land of meat and pasta. Perfect for a light (and vegetarian) lunch, the menu changes with the seasons and offers hot and cold soups and rolls, drawing on recipes from around the globe. Indecisive eaters can mix and match menu items or go for a three-soup tasting flight. Service is friendly and presentation is impeccable.

Gorriti 5881. Subte: Line D – Ministro Carranza. Tel: +54 11 4770 9234. Hours: Wed-Mon 11am-8pm. Menu: Spanish & English. Web: www.facebook.com/meme.resto

Mercadito Latino

Conveniently located across from the San Telmo Market, Mercadito Latino is the perfect place in Buenos Aires to pop in for a vegetarian-friendly snack after working up an appetite browsing the antique dealers. This unpretentious little spot offers Latin American food and drinks from Mexico to Brazil, and everywhere in between. The menu changes from time to time, but offerings always vary in terms of spice level, region of origin and ingredients. Try to snag one of the outdoor tables for a side of people watching with your margarita.

Carlos Calvo 488. Subte: Line C/E – Independencia. Tel: +54 15 2004 1056. Hours: Tue-Sun 10am-midnight. Menu: Spanish only. Web: www.facebook.com/mercaditol

Pain et Vin

 

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The lovechild of an Argento-Israeli couple, Pain et Vin is a simple yet soulful wine bar and bakery in Buenos Aires. Eleonora is a sommelier who curates an eclectic wall of wine, while Ohad prefers to remain in the back. He churns out homemade sourdough bread from the oven they built from scratch. For lunch or dinner, they have sandwiches, salads and snacks with many vegetarian options that perfectly accompany the vino. In addition to tasting wine by the glass or taking a bottle to go, they also frequently hold wine tastings from some of the best wineries around. If your Spanish is not up to snuff, don’t let that hold you back, as they will always accommodate an English-speaking audience. Check their Facebook page for upcoming events.

Gorriti 5132. Subte: Line D – Plaza Italia. Tel: +54 11 4832 5654. Hours: Tue-Sat 12-10pm, Sun 12-7pm. Web: www.facebook.com/pages/Pain-et-Vin

Sarkis

 

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If you are interested in eating with a capital E, look no further than Sarkis. This Armenian institution became a tour de force for those craving Middle Eastern and Caucasian flavors in Buenos Aires. The dining room is huge, yet simple, and the old school wait staff is no nonsense but for a good reason. Their objective is that you leave satisfied, and if you let them guide you, that outcome is assured. The quality of the food, ample menu and generous portions keeps locals and visitors alike coming back for more, as well as the affordable price tag and vegetarian-friendly menu. Get there early for dinner though because lines are already out the door by 9pm.

Thames 1101. Subte: Line B – Dorrego. Tel: +54 15 4772 4911. Hours: noon- 3pm & 8pm-1am. Menu: Spanish, English & Armenian.

Sunae Asian Cantina

 

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Since 2009, Asian-American chef Christina Sunae opened the door to her beautiful Colegiales home, where she serves creative, homemade Southeast Asian fare. No longer a closed door restaurant, diners can enjoy her spicy, flavor-packed dishes every Tuesday-Saturday night in Palermo. Sunae is now a must-eat for anyone craving gourmet Asian cuisine (with vegetarian options) in Buenos Aires. Her empire continues to grow since she released her book Sabores des Sudeste Asiático (Flavors of Southeast Asia) and started selling her special spicy sauce.

Humboldt 1626. Subte: Line D – Palermo. Tel: +54 11 4776 8122. Hours: Tue-Sat 8pm-close. Menu: Spanish & English. Web: www.sunaeasiancantina.com

For more info on the best places for vegetarians, carnivores and omnivores to eat and drink in BA, download your copy of Glutton Guide Buenos Aires: The Hungry Traveler’s Guidebook. Start eating like a local!

The Best Pizza in Buenos Aires

One of the three staples of porteño cuisine, pizza is something of a local obsession in Buenos Aires. Argies love to eat pizza seated or standing, at home or out, drunk or sober, at any time of day. There is pizza to please any palate in this city, but the classic Argentine-style pizza is a cheesy, doughy slice of steaming mozzarella (muza, for short). Here are the best pizzas in Buenos Aires:

Güerrin

 

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Avenida Corrientes, the location of the pizza walk, is ground zero for the best pizzerias in Buenos Aires, and Güerrin is the center of the street. Founded in 1932 by Italian immigrants, Güerrin is a bustling pizza parlor, where guests can peer into the oven as pizzas are churned out and quickly enjoy their pies either standing at the original bar or seated in the restaurant in the back. Original fixings, pizza boxes stacked to the ceiling and waiters in checkered uniforms yelling out orders create a charming kind of chaos emblematic of Buenos Aires.

Order: muza, fainá (flatbread made from garbanzo beans often put on top of pizza)

Corrientes 1368. Subte: Line D – 9 de Julio or Tribunales/Line B – C Pellegrini or Uruguay. Tel: +54 11 4371 8141. Hours: 8am-close. Menu: Spanish only. Web: www.pizzeriaguerrin.com

Siamo nel Forno

 

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If authentic Neapolitan pizza in Buenos Aires is what you’re craving, then get thee to Siamo nel Forno. They have a certified Neapolitan wood-burning oven carefully baking gourmet thin crust pies night after night – and it is one of the best pizzas in Buenos Aires. The best course of action is to go with good company and split everything family style, accompanied by a bottle of local wine, craft beer or an Aperol spritz.

Order: burrata, pizza margherita, pizza spinachi, pizza of the day

Costa Rica 5886. Subte: Line D – Ministro Carranza. Tel: +54 11 4775 0337. Hours: Tue-Sun 8pm-1am. Menu: Spanish, English & Italian. Web: www.facebook.com/pages/Siamo-Nel-Forno

For more info on the best places to eat and drink in BA and more of Buenos Aires’ best pizza joints, download your copy of Glutton Guide Buenos Aires: The Hungry Traveler’s Guidebook and start eating like a local.

Best Ñoquis (Gnocchi) in Buenos Aires

If it is the 29th of any month, you will find many Argentines eating ñoquis (gnocchi) smothered in tomato sauce, either at home or at one of the multitude of Italian restaurants. Like any longstanding tradition, there is debate about its origins, with one claim dating back to St. Pantaleon’s pilgrimage through Italy in the eighth century. The more common belief is that Italian immigrants made gnocchi when resources were stretched at the end of the month, since potatoes and flour are both inexpensive and filling. Superstitious folks place money under their plate for good luck in the coming month – some claim you have to carry the money with you and others that it must be donated for future prosperity. However, ñoqui isn’t just pasta. In local Buenos Aires slang it is also a derogatory term for public employees and/ or people who don’t go to work, but appear at the end of the month just in time to collect a paycheck.

Cucina Paradiso

Walking into Donato De Santis’ restaurants in Buenos Aires is like stepping into Italy – a warm atmosphere, respect for tradition and the best quality ingredients. His accessibility belies the fact that this Milan-born chef has cooked for jetsetters from LA to Miami and was once Gianni Versace’s personal chef in New York. Cucina Paradiso is a one-stop shop at any time of day for an Italian fix – seasonal homemade pastas (including the famous gnocchi) for lunch, two-for-one aperitivos at happy hour or an afternoon espresso and dessert – no reservations required. Its walls are also lined with imported Italian products to take home that are not always easy to find elsewhere in Buenos Aires.

Belgrano location: Castañeda 1873. Train: Line Belgrano Norte – Scalabrini Ortiz. Tel: +54 11 4780 2409. Hours: Mon-Sat 9am-midnight.

Palermo Hollywood location: Arévalo 1538. Subte: Line D – Ministro Carranza. Tel: +54 11 4770 9406. Hours: Mon-Tue 10am-10pm, Wed-Sat 10am-midnight. 

Menu: Spanish & Italian. Web: www.cucinaparadiso.com

Guido

Tucked in a quieter part of Palermo near the zoo is Guido, a dimly lit Italian restaurant with checkered tablecloths and opinionated wait staff that will joke about anything but the food. Homemade pastas, including the gnocchi, are served family style, perfect to order a few and share with good company, which locals have been doing for years as evidenced by the photos lining the walls. While waiting for a table, the large wooden bar is the perfect place to strike up a conversation with a regular while sipping on a Cinzano. Feel free to linger over dinner, dessert and drinks because Guido is open late even by Buenos Aires standards, making it a low-key yet entertaining night shared with friends old or new.

Cerviño 3943. Subte: Line D – Plaza Italia. Tel: +54 15 4802 1262. Hours: Tue-Sun 7pm-3am. Menu: Spanish & English. Web: www.guidorestaurant.com.ar

Il Ballo del Mattone

Part art gallery, part music venue, part eatery, this eclectic trattoria is unlike any other in town, serving Italian food in a lively yet intimate atmosphere. Lines are blurred between indoor and outdoor space, as well as public and private – with stylized family portraits hanging from the walls and family members passing through to their living quarters upstairs. The hip wait staff haul the menu to your table on an oversized blackboard, dodging sculptures, the live band and trays of homemade gnocchi along the way, in a cheery chaos emblematic of BA. In addition to this Il Ballo del Mattone Originale, named after a 1960s Rita Pavone song, the energetic artist owners also have two more restaurants nearby (Trastevere on Gorriti 5893 and Trinacria on Carranza 1601), are involved in local music and food festivals, teach Italian classes and even host film screenings and a radio show (Mattone Radio) five nights a week, expanding their Pequeña Italia (Little Italy) cultural empire all over town.

Gorriti 5737. Subte: Line B – Dorrego/Line D – Ministro Carranza. Tel: +54 15 4776 4247. Hours: Mon-Sat noon-4pm & 8pm-close, Sun 8pm-close. Menu: Spanish & Italian. Web: www.ilballodelmattone.com

In Bocca al Lupo

Don’t let your mediocre Italian skills scare you away from this neighborhood café because the name “into the wolf’s mouth” is actually an Italian idiom to wish someone good luck, akin to “break a leg”. The only luck you’ll need here is choosing what delicious dish to order; from the homemade pastas to the tasty tarts on display, the choice is not an easy one. Owner and Illy educator Enrico Aguggiaro personally ensures that espressos and cappuccinos are executed to perfection, just like in his native Italy. The cheerful, airy décor and friendly staff make it the perfect low-key spot to spend time reading or relaxing in the enclosed patio while trying a bowl of gnocchi. Depending on the time of day, opt for a fixed menu, especially if it includes their freshly squeezed orange juice. If you need even more reasons to stay, Bocca offers both Italian language and coffee education classes as well as a selection of Italian products for sale in front.

Map. Bonpland 1965. Subte: Line D – Ministro Carranza. Tel: +54 11 4774 3692. Hours: Tue-Fri 9am-8pm, Sat-Sun 9:30am-8pm. Menu: Spanish, Italian & English. Web: www.facebook.com/inboccaallupocaffe

For more info on Buenos Aires’ best gnocchi and how to eat and drink like a local, download your copy of Glutton Guide Buenos Aires: The Hungry Traveler’s Guidebook. May your hungerlust never be sated!

Best Dulce De Leche Desserts in Buenos Aires

Though it is definitely socially acceptable to eat spoonfuls of dulce de leche straight from the jar in Buenos Aires, it’s more of an ingredient than a standalone dessert and can be enjoyed at any meal of the day on toast, bread pudding, chocolates, crepes, pastries, cakes, ice cream or even in coffee. Popular all over Latin America, it’s also known as manjar, arequipe or cajeta, and is a spreadable confection made from slowly heating sweetened milk until the water evaporates, leaving the sticky “sweet of milk”. Try making it at home, but be prepared for hours of stirring over the stove. Different countries lay claim to inventing dulce de leche, but in Buenos Aires it is best to agree on the Argentine origins story unless you want to start a continental conflict.

Here’s the best places to find dulce de leche in Buenos Aires favorite places to pick up a DDL dessert:

Bar du Marché

On one of Palermo’s prettiest tree-lined blocks is this cozy café/wine bar whose mirrored walls, wicker chairs and wine list feel decidedly more parisien than porteño. With over 50 wines available by the glass, some of them imported, this is a great spot for a leisurely lunch, afternoon aperitif or wine and cheese flight paired by the sommelier. Do not miss their mousse de dulce de leche, an extra creamy DDL mousse that is to die for.

Nicaragua 5946. Subte: Line D – Ministro Carranza. Tel: +54 11 4778 1050. Hours: Mon-Sat 9:30am-12am. Web: www.bardumarchepalermo.com

Don Julio

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Dulce de leche at a parrilla? Dulce de leche-stuffed crepes are actually the best way to end a night of feasting on meats from an open grill, and no one does panqueques de dulce de leche better than Don Julio. In 2015, Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants recognized their outstanding meat and dessert game, naming them the 45th best restaurant in the region. Expect long waits (eased with complimentary bubbles), but it’s totally worth it.

Guatemala 4691. Subte: Line D – Scalabrini Ortiz. Tel: +54 11 4831 9564 / 4832 6058. Hours: 12-4 pm, 7pm-close. Menu: Spanish & English. Web: www.parrilladonjulio.com.ar.

Freddo

Freddo’s black, white and blue logo is part of the porteño landscape, with over 150 locales in BA and beyond. Opened in 1969, they are the largest chain of heladería in Buenos Aires and their name is practically synonymous with ice cream. They have a huge offering of flavors as well as sundaes, smoothies, blended drinks and more. Try classics like dulce de leche helado (ice cream) to see what all the fuss is about.

See website for locations all around town. Tel: +54 0810 3337 3336. Web: www.freddo.com.ar

Maru Botana

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Celebrity chef and TV personality Maru Botana has been busy, growing her gastronomic empire to include successful TV shows, cookbooks, a catering business and eponymous brick & mortar locales, while also raising seven children. Her outposts offer savory items like quiches, salads and sandwiches, but they’re only a precursor to the main course: dessert. A glance at the DDL-loaded pastry case alone may send you into hyperglycemic shock. You can’t miss Rogel, Marquise de chocolate con dulce de leche, crema y frutos rojos (chocolate marquise with DDL, whipped cream and berries) or the dulce de leche cheesecake.

BEL Location: 11 de Septiembre 982. Line D – Juramento. Tel: +54 9 11 4772 2478.

Second BEL Location: Echeverría 3240. Subte: Line D – Juramento. Tel: +54 9 11 4551 8887.

R+R Location: Suipacha 1371. Subte: Line C – San Martín. Tel: +54 9 11 4326 7134.

Hours: Mon-Sat: 8am-8:30pm, Sun 9am-8pm. Web: www.marubotana.com

Un’Altra Volta

Commonly just known as Volta, this local artisanal helado (ice cream) chain has a modern, sleek aesthetic. Try a combo of any of the classics, but don’t miss the DDL.

Libertador 3060. Subte: Line D – Plaza Italia. Tel: +54 11 1088 8622. Hours: Sun-Thu 8am-2am, Fri 8am-3am, Sat 8am-4am. Web: www.unaltravolta.com.ar/english

For more info on the best dulce de leche in Buenos Aires and other sweet spots, download your copy of Glutton Guide Buenos Aires: The Hungry Traveler’s Guidebook and start eating like a local!