The bustling city of Buenos Aires is one that showcases the authentic cuisine of South America. Argentinean cuisine has many Mediterranean influences, namely Italy and Spain, and many dishes showcase items like jamon and prosciutto as well as some of the spices and flavors they use in flavoring and preparing dishes.
On my first trip to the continent, I had done my food due diligence prior to my arrival. I wanted to experience a mixture of fine dining cuisine at world-renowned hotels but also embrace the local food and nightlife experience.
What I found was that the city of Buenos Aires loves its meat — and meat in many varieties. Some chefs take the traditional route at restaurants like Miranda, where their mixed grill plate with a side of potatoes is the only way to go. The meat is grilled over charcoal and seasoned simply, but to perfection.
At the Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires the cuisine is on an elevated plane. The newly renovated hotel offers several outstanding dining concepts where you can have the best of both worlds. In its fine-dining restaurant, Elena, the squid ink paella for two was packed with spices, flavor, and much appreciated seafood (which I didn’t get too much of on this trip). It was one of the more memorable meals of my life.
For a more boutique-like atmosphere and farm-to-table cuisine, I had the pleasure of dining at the HG Restaurant at Hotel Fierro in the Palermo district of the city. There, the chef crafts menus that showcase fish, fresh vegetables, fruits, and the like in unique and exciting ways. The presentation is just as good as the quality and taste of the ingredients.
While this South American city is much grounded in its traditional cuisine, there are a number of talented chefs and restaurants who are pushing boundaries and crafting unique culinary experiences that still pay homage to the very much adored cuisine of the region.
Here are five excellent dishes to try while in Buenos Aires:
Squid Ink Paella with Baby Squid, Rabbit, and Shrimp
The dimly lit Elena in the newly renovated Four Seasons Buenos Aires Hotel offers hungry eaters a variety of menu options ranging from rotisserie items like suckling pork to a sampling of charcuterie to appetizers like grilled octopus with truffled potato broth. I split the squid ink paella with baby squid, rabbit, and shrimp with my sister the last evening of our trip. The dish was presented in a large black cast-iron pan that was so hot, I was afraid to go near it. It was served to us gracefully by our server, who commented on the amazing aroma that was steaming from our plates. After just a bite, I knew this dish was magical, as it married the seafood with the rabbit with the flavorful rice.
Mixed Grill, Flank Steak, Lamb, Chorizo, Papas Fritas
For a traditional Argentinian experience, look no further than Miranda in Palermo. It was suggested by our hotel concierge shortly after arriving at our hotel after traveling for nearly 24 hours. Suffice it to say, we were ready to chow down. We ordered two platters, one being the mixed grill with a side of those delicious papas fritas. The meat was grilled over an open fire, giving the meat the smokiness that any red-meat-eater should crave. Each bite was intensely satisfying and certainly set the tone for the quality of food we would sample in Buenos Aires.