The more things change, the more things change. For instance, Buenos Aires, which saw its restaurant landscape transform after that little incident called COVID-19. The good news is the eats are still, well, good. In some cases, even better. Think of this as your go-to list for where to eat in Buenos Aires now.
The Restaurant: Mishiguene
Good For: Elevated comfort food
Buenos Aires is not short on restaurants and cafés offering Jewish and Mediterranean food. None come close to Mishiguene. Argentinean chef Tomás Kalika spins his grandmother’s recipes into the stuff of dreams (and childhood memories). Kalika’s sophisticated style takes comfort-food favorites to new heights, like fork-tender pastrami, smoky baba ganoush, and pierogis. Insider tip: make a dinner reservation for late on a Friday night. This gets you prime seating when the klezmer band shows up around midnight to perform in the restaurant in celebration of Shabbat. After all, you know the party doesn’t really start until late in Buenos Aires anyway.
The Restaurant: Casa Cavia
Good For: Elegant lunch and dinners in a beautiful setting
If you’re looking for an elegant spot, Casa Cavia is where to eat in Buenos Aires now. The restaurant is set in an old mansion that gets the concept of graceful spaces that integrate the outdoors with the indoors. It attracts trendy ladies who lunch, along with other notables such as the U.S. ambassador to Argentina. Casa Cavia is the place to see and be seen, but doesn’t rest on its beautiful people. Instead, Casa Cavia is a standout spot for inventive and well-executed meals. Notable dishes include a tender, sweet, and juicy shrimp with toasted corn and a creamed corn soup poured tableside. The food is meticulously presented and the service is polished. To add to the neighborhood charm, there’s even a flower shop in the central garden. Bonus: The sommeliers know their Argentinean wines, and yes, you need some Malbec in your life over a leisurely lunch.
The Restaurant: El Preferido de Palermo
Good For: Classic Italian-inspired meals
From the folks who brought you Don Julio (the top restaurants in South America) comes this re-invented traditional Argentinean eatery. The original owners of El Preferido opened nearly 100 years ago, but as these things go, decided to close their doors at some point. Enter the owners of Don Julio, who couldn’t bear to lose this classic restaurant, and you have yourself new life at El Preferido. Don’t miss the chef’s take on beloved dishes like homemade ravioli, succulent local anchovies, and fainá (a dense, rich, chickpea cake). Other notables include the pounded Milanese and of course, the flan. The new incarnation of El Preferido is winning awards for the first time, which is why it’s where to eat in Buenos Aires now.
The Restaurant: CoChinChina
Good For: Cocktails, scene, and light bites
If you crave a cocktail but know you can’t start drinking on an empty stomach, CoChinChina is where to eat in Buenos Aires now. CoChinChina is the brainchild of owner, creative director, and rock-star bartender Inés de los Santos. Open only a year, it’s already creating big buzz. Born during the pandemic, Inés wanted to create an experience that scratched the travel itch. So naturally she channeled her two favorite destinations, France and Vietnam, whose influences can be seen, felt, and tasted everywhere. First, the name comes from the French colony that was where Ho Chi Minh is today. Second, the décor is bustling, neon, and slightly chaotic à la an Asian food hall, complete with the family-style plates. Then of course there are the cocktails. A standout is a re-imagined Manhattan, finished with three drops of sesame oil. Insider tip: there’s an exclusive upstairs room that’s only for patrons who reserve the tasting menu experience.
The Restaurant: Anafe
Good For: The adventurous gourmands
Anafe started as a closed-door restaurant, then morphed into a food truck before becoming a full-fledged restaurant in 2021. Despite its modest beginnings, Anafe is making its name on creatively re-imagined dishes. Case in point: the common Buenos Aires dish of tartare on a shiso leaf. At Anafe, the kitchen staff go one step further by making the tartare from fragrant and tender deer meat.
The Restaurant: La Carnicería
Good For: A modern take on the traditional Argentine parrilla
The Argentines are known for their parrilla — essentially a big outdoor all-you-can-eat BBQ. Think huge cuts of meat, sweetbreads, blood sausage, and chorizo grilled over wood coals. In 2019, a young chef whose family raises top Argentinean beef thought he could shake up the traditional grilled meat restaurant concept. It’s pretty aggressive, as Argentines love their parrilla. Since then, though, La Carnicería (the Butcher Shop in English) is doing just that.
The menu looks like that of a parrilla restaurant, but what comes to the table is next-level food, like sweetbreads grilled and basted in honey. The result is a dish that’s creamy on the inside and crunchy and caramelized on the outside. The fresh honey adds both lightness and decadence. So this is where to eat in Buenos Aires, when you prefer your traditional Argentine parrilla with a modern and innovative take.