Argentina Food and Drink

Argentine cuisine is largely exceptional, 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.

Wherever you are in the country, meat is the name of the game, with a wonderful array of carnivorous treats to get stuck into. The traditional parrillada (mixed grill) is the very heart and soul of Argentina's cuisine. Other staples include morcilla (blood sausage), chinchulines (intestines), or the feted Argentine steak.

Vegetarians may struggle to find many options, particularly outside Buenos Aires, though fruits and salads are widely available. A strong Italian influence means quality coffee and ice cream is popular, and in Buenos Aires the many gelaterias (ice cream parlours) are packed in the summertime.

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, and particularly good in Jujuy and Salta in the northwest.
Choripan: Rump steak sandwich.
Milanesa: Breaded veal or beefsteak, sometimes topped with cheese, ham or egg.
Parrillada: Mixed grill, which might include morcilla blood sausage.
Alfajores: Shortbread-type biscuits sandwiched with dulce de leche – a caramelised milk sauce.
Chimichurri: A sauce made from finely chopped parsley and oregano, garlic, olive oil and vinegar, served as a side dish with meat.
Medialunas: Small, croissant-like pastries served for breakfast.
Wine: Argentina produces some excellent wines. Try a light pinot noir from Patagonia, a silky red from Malbec and Argentina’s celebrated white, the aromatic Torrontés.
Mate: An invigorating green tea made from the yerba mate plant and drunk any time, anywhere, as a staunchly Argentine custom.
Quilmesis: The national lager.

Things to know

If you’re baffled by the choice of meat cuts most waiters are more than happy to advise on what to start with and how much per person. Argentines dine late – 2100 is considered early.

Tipping

Around 15% is acceptable in restaurants as well as bars (unless you were dissatisfied).

Drinking age

18.

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