Alternative Dining Options are Reinvigorating Buenos Aires’ Evolving Food Scene
Argentina is best known around the world for the quality of its beef,
its legendary asados (barbecues), empanadas, and robust Malbec wines. No visit to the country would be considered complete without a meal in a classic parrilla (steakhouse).
But Argentina’s food scene is being reinvigorated by a new generation of chefs and a new wave of alternative dining spaces. Buenos Aires, the country’s cosmopolitan capital, has a dynamic and ever evolving food scene with a varied array of options from fine dining to traditional bodegones, historic cafes, and carritos along the riverfront serving choripan (a chorizo sandwich). You can grab a slice of decadent Argentine-style pizza in a classic pizzeria in the city’s theater district or spend a leisurely evening feeling like you’re a guest in someone’s house in the patio or garden of an elegant neighborhood home that’s been converted into an alternative dining establishment.
There’s also a growing food truck scene here serving creative fare. Charming alleyways in different parts of the city, like Pasaje Suizo in the chic Recoleta neighborhood or Pasaje Echeverría in Belgrano, are being transformed into food hubs. The city’s Chinatown and Little Korea are thriving, and talented crews are creating updated versions of Jewish immigrant cuisine, as well as introducing more vegetable-forward and plant-based foods in menus. There are even vegan parrillas.
Food halls, many of them open-air and centered around communal tables, offer a great opportunity to experience diverse food options in a fun and casual setting. For an immersion into the daily life of a typical Buenos Aires neighborhood, visit Patio de los Lecheros in Caballito. The market is set in a former train station where deliveries of milk used to arrive from the countryside for distribution throughout the city. The numerous options here range from grilled meats and tacos, to fish, pizza, and Middle Eastern food. Specialty cocktails and a wide selection of Argentine wines are also on offer. You can even enjoy live music, browse a bookshop or sign up for a horticulture workshop.
Mercat Villa Crespo is another neighborhood market that is a paradise for food lovers. Located in a trendy Buenos Aires neighborhood, Mercat Villa Crespo offers a wide variety of shops and eateries that offer everything from Argentine regional specialties to Asian and Middle Eastern food, fine wines and chocolates, artisanal breads, a Jewish bakery and even plant-based ice creams. The market also organizes workshops and cooking classes and demonstrations.
Close to Costanera Sur and to the Reserva Ecológica nature reserve, on the southern end of the coastal corridor that runs along the Río de la Plata, the Patio Rodrigo Bueno is a smaller open-air food market that specializes in Latin American cuisine, especially from Peru and Paraguay. Mostly run by micro-entrepreneurs from the local community, this initiative was launched as a social impact project to benefit the residents of this underprivileged neighborhood.
Additional information on travel to Argentina is available at: www.argentina.travel