It seems as though almost every block in Buenos Aires includes a parrilla, or steakhouse. The establishments range from white tablecloth settings to the simple neighborhood joint, but every place has a menu full of meat — the fresh, juicy cuts for which Argentina is renowned. While you can grab a satisfying steak just about anywhere in the city, several new dining experiences are sating the city’s carnivores, both porteños (locals) and tourists.
Most visitors to the city receive the same recommendations for steakhouses, and while the food is tasty, you’ll hear more English than Spanish in the dining rooms. The Parrilla Tour, however, leads red meat lovers looking for something less touristy on an indulgent journey through either the San Telmo or Palermo neighborhoods. Each stop, handpicked for its authenticity and the quality of the food, serves a different course, and the guide shares insider knowledge about the neighborhood, parrilla culture and Buenos Aires.
The San Telmo route hooks visitors up with some of the best empanadas (fried pastries stuffed with savory meats, cheeses and veggies) in Buenos Aires, then allows them to try classic parrilla food and wine, and finally a delicious dessert at a heladeria, or ice cream shop. On the Palermo tour, you’ll experience choripan (grilled chorizo sandwich on a baguette) at a traditional parilla and then head to a casa de empanadas to try authentic handmade empanadas. After that, you’ll make your way to a historic steakhouse beloved by locals, and finish at an artisanal heladeria for a cool treat.
Adentro Dinner Club
The asado, or barbecue, is a cornerstone of Argentine culture. Families or groups of friends gather to grill up a meaty feast and spend hours eating, drinking and socializing. Adentro Dinner Club is a closed-door restaurant (reservations are required) that makes that classic local experience accessible to passersby in Buenos Aires.
The dinner party takes place every Wednesday in an Argentine-U.S. couple’s home in the Palermo Soho neighborhood. Hosts Gabriel and Kelly serve an hours-long feast for about 10 guests at a communal table with dish-after-dish hot off the grill, including empanadas, sausages, assorted seasoned vegetables, shrimp and various cuts of steak. Adentro cooks up some of the best barbecue in Buenos Aires in a convivial, social setting that gives tourists the chance to meet locals and fellow travelers, and also partake in the asado tradition.
In one of the most historic neighborhoods in the city, San Telmo, chef (and owner) Fernando Rivarola revisits Argentina’s culinary, native roots. It’s not just the beloved cow that has been bred and consumed on Argentina’s pampas, or plains, but also animals such as llama and wild boar. Those regional meats, as well as creatures such as chinchilla, alligator and hare are incorporated into the menu and expertly prepared to complement risottos or as brochettes (shish kabobs) and carpaccios. For the adventurous meat eater looking to try it all, the upscale restaurant offers a six-course tasting menu with the option of adding wine pairings.
Photos Courtesy of Parrilla Tour Buenos Aires