While the primary consumption of Argentinians is beef, there are other options in this cosmopolitan city. Italian food is pervasive but in neighborhoods like Palermo, pizza joints are seeing heavy competition from sushi, fusion, and even vegetarian bistros. Just about everything can be delivered - including fantastic, gourmet helado (ice cream).
You will want to try asado (beef/steak barbecue) at a parrilla, restaurants specializing in roasted meats. There are expensive parrillas, and more simple and cost effective ones, In either case you will likely have some of the best "meat" you have ever tasted. The bife de lomo (tenderloin) is unbelievably tender.
As matter in fact. the first regular refrigator ship is the Steamers Le Frigorifique and Paraguay, that carried frozen mutton from Argentina to France.
Jugoso means rare (literally "juicy"), however the Argentine concept of rare is very different from that of someone from the States (perhaps its a tourist thing, but an American ordering rare is likely to get something between medium well and hockey puck). Argentines cook their meat all the way through, and they can only get away with this method because the meat is so tender that cooking it well does not necessarily mean it's shoe leather.
For Westerners, don't be afraid to order "azul" ("blue"), you will not get a blue steak, more like an American Medium Rare. If you like your meat "bloody", or practically "still walking" it might pay to learn words like "sangre" ("blood"), or to make statements like "me gusta la sangre" ("I like the blood"). Don't be afraid to spend two minutes stressing how rare you want your steak to your waiter- this is something no one talks about in guidebooks but every other American and Brit once you arrive will tell you the same thing, if you want it rare, you have to explain exactly how rare.
Only the most old school parrillas (grills) don't offer at least one or two pasta dishes and pizza is everywhere.
Parrilla Tour Buenos Aires leads walking tours around different neighborhoods of classic parrillas. During the tour, participants stop and sample traditional foods at 4 restaurants, 3 parrillas (steakhouses) and an artisanal ice cream shop, as well as learn about the history and culture around Argentine cuisine. The stops chosen tend to be hole-in-the-wall, locals only, establishments not in guidebooks.
Italian and Spanish food are almost native here, as the cultural heritage heralds in great part from these two countries. Other popular meals are pizzas and empanadas (small pastries stuffed with a combination of cheese and meats). They are a popular home delivery or takeaway/takeout option.
Pizza is a strong tradition in Buenos Aires. It comes al molde (cooked in a pan, usually medium to thick crust), a la piedra (baked in a stone oven, usually thin to medium crust), and a la parilla (cooked on a parilla grill, very thin, crispy crust). Best places: "Los Inmortales", "Las Cuartetas", "Guerrín", ·El Cuartito", "Banchero's", "Kentucky".
"El Cuartito" in Recoleta has a delicious "Fugazzeta rellena" pizza. This restaurant can be packed with families and friends even at midnight.
In "Guerrin", ask for a slice of pizza muzarella with a glass of Moscato.
Vegan food is available at these restaurants:
One incredible and typical Argentinian kind of "cookie", is the alfajor, which consists of two round sweet biscuits joined together with a sweet jam, generally dulce de leche (milk jam, akin to caramel), covered with chocolate, meringue or something similarly sweet.
Do not expect service to be comparable to large cities in Europe or in the USA. Don't expect your waiter to take your drinks order when the menu is delivered and don't expect the menu to arrive very quickly. If you want service, attract the waiters' attention, s/he will never come over to take your empty plate etc., unless they want to close.
Patience is the key. Argentinians as so accustomed to the relaxed service that they don't bother to complain directly to the waiter, but only commented toward fellow Argentinans. Speak out to the waiters if you feel it is appropriate.
There are a lot of al paso (walk through) places to eat; you eat standing up or in high chairs at the bar. Meals vary from hot-dogs (panchos), beef sausages (chorizos, or its sandwich version choripán), pizzas, milanesas (breaded fried cutlets), etc. Don't forget to indulge in the perennially popular mashed squash - it is delicious and often comes with rice and makes a full meal in itself. It is perfect for vegetarians and vegans to fill up on.
You can go to a huge variety of small restaurants, with cheap and generous servings, most notably the ones owned by Spanish and Italian immigrants. There are also many places which offer foreign meals, mostly Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Arabic, Spanish, and Italian.
The most expensive and luxurious restaurants are found in the Puerto Madero zone, near downtown, heading to the River Plate.
But the nicer places in terms of decoration, food and personality are in Buenos Aires/Palermo.
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