Argentina Food and Drink

Argentina serves up an exceptional standard of food, although choices can often be restricted to meat, pasta and pizza. Buenos Aires, however, offers a wide selection of culinary genres, with Japanese, Thai and Asian-fusion food becoming increasingly popular. Vegetarians may struggle to find extensive veggie options, but most restaurants do serve vegetables and salads. Outside Buenos Aires, however, vegetarians may be faced with quite limited choices. 

Wherever you are in the country, meat is the name of the game here, and if you fancy broadening your carnivorous horizons, then there is a weird and wonderful array of meat treats to get stuck into. The traditional Argentine parrilla (grill) is the very heart and soul of Argentina's cuisine. Sample morcilla (blood sausage), chinchulines (intestines), or simply plump for a slap of prime Argentine beef - all sizzled to perfection. Don’t forget to liberally douse your chosen meats in delicious chimichurri – a sauce made from finely chopped parsley and oregano, garlic, olive oil and vinegar. Those after an authentic and reliably delicious meat experience in Buenos Aires, try El Trapiche in Palermo, and Desnivel in San Telmo. 

For breakfast, head to a traditional confitería (café) and sample a few medialunas (small, croissant-like pastries) and a strong café con leche. In cities, fashionable resto-bars (restaurant-bars) are taking hold, offering more contemporary takes on traditional Argentine cuisine, and all manner of lunch options. A strong Italian influence means quality ice cream is also popular, and in summertime Buenos Aires the many gelaterias (ice cream parlours) are certainly worth making use of. In the evening, Argentines dine late - 2100 is considered early – and the feasts are typically massive.

Argentina's wines have flooded the international market in recent years, and are famed for their quality and value. Try a light pinot noir from Patagonia or an inky and smooth Malbec, and don’t miss Argentina’s celebrated white, the aromatic Torrontés.

Specialities

• Bife de ancho (rib eye steak).
• Bife de chorizo (sirloin steak).
Bife de lomo (fillet steak).
Empanadas (little pasties typically stuffed with meat, vegetable or cheese).
Parrillada (mixed grill which might include morcilla - blood sausage).
Alfajores (shortbread-type biscuits sandwiched with dulce de leche - a caramelised milk sauce).

Things to know

If you’re baffled by the choice of meat cuts most waiters in parrillas are more than happy to advise on what to start with and how much per person – even if you have limited Spanish.

Tipping

Around 15% is acceptable in restaurants as well as bars (unless you were dissatisfied) which waiting staff rely on to survive.

Regional drinks

Yerba mate (tea-like drink).
Quilmes is the national brand of lager.
Malbec wine.

Drinking age

The legal age for drinking alcohol in a bar/cafe is 18.

Newsletter