An antique shop that becomes a restaurant on weekends, a clothing/antique store/bar/restaurant combination in San Telmo, a speak-easy pub at the back of a pizza place, a well known and well-established Cebicheria and a few traditional “cantinas/bodegones”.
This a selection of cool and quirky restaurants in Buenos Aires that you should visit.
Located in the trendy and cool Palermo Soho, La Pasionaria is actually an antique shop (from 1920 to 1950), which becomes a pop-up restaurant on weekends.
Excellent ambience, with great furniture and surrounded by antiques. Cool music and friendly staff, a really special and intimate experience., with live music (jazz) included.
In terms of food, they offer an interesting Japanese-Peruvian fusion. The menu is set for a fixed price and includes 4 courses, a welcome cocktail and a glass of wine or beer. We had Aperol Spritz and fried mandioca as the welcome cocktail, then “masa de papa Andina sazonada con ají amarillo y coronada con tartar de salmón y palta“, then ceviche (“lenguado, leche de tigre, plátano and canchita chullpe“), then sushi (13 pieces) and finally “Suspiro de limeña” as dessert.
There were vegetarian options available as well. And a very good addition was the possibility of bringing your own wine. The total cost was ARS 650 (USD 32). For Argentineans, this may be a bit pricey, but for foreigners is a bargain.
Address: Godoy Cruz 1541 / TA
Minutes away from the heart of trendy San Telmo, Napoles is a combination of a clothing store, an antique store, a bar and a restaurant. There is a lot to see inside, from jeans to old cars, so be ready to spend some time looking around and taking pictures. Great vibes at night, and a calm atmosphere after work.
They offer international cuisine, with a good variety of options. Pasta and pizza seem to be their speciality. I would suggest trying the provoleta cheese, sorrentino di Capri, Terza salad. For dessert, I suggest almendrado, which is an almond ice-cream covered with chopped/crushed almonds (they have one of the best brands, El Fundador).
Address: Avenida Caseros 449 (Entre Gurruchaga y Serrano) / TA
La Calle Bar
La Calle Bar is one of the trendiest speakeasy pubs in Buenos Aires. It is behind a pizza restaurant called La Guitarrita (one of them, as they have a few). The shop in front does not look fancy at all and it has only a couple of tables, so it actually looks like a takeaway only place. Besides, there is no sign about a cocktail pub, so it is all about the word of mouth.
But if you look at the end of the room, you will find a door on the wall, which takes you to the bar. Once inside, you will find a much bigger room with a large selection of spirits/cocktails, a couple of beers on tap and a few tables. There is also another space at the end, with a classic Volkswagen camper van (pictured above).
Their pizza is not as good as others (like the ones you can get on Corrientes Avenue), but it can be ordered from the bar as well. They do have a good variety of cocktails, and menu listing most of them.
Address: Calle Cnel Niceto Vega 4942 (Entre Gurruchaga y Serrano) / TA
La Mar Cebicheria
La Mar has become a quite trendy and popular restaurant in Buenos Aires. So the first advice is to book in advance, especially on weekends. The service was quite good in our experience, although there are some complaints online. The menu is in Spanish, so you may need some help with it.
A modern space inside, and a great space outside, which I recommend if the weather permits it. Prices are slightly high, but so is the quality, and the portions are generous.
For a traditional Peruvian meal, I suggest a pisco sour and classic ceviche (“cebiche in Spanish”). The grilled dishes are quite good as well, from which I suggest the spicy octopus and shrimp tempura. And they also offer a “Degustation Ceviche”, with three dishes to try.
They also have restaurants in Lima, San Francisco, Santiago de Chile, Bogotá, Miami and Sao Paulo.
Lastly but not least, since you are there you may want to visit Uptown, a New York subway-inspired speakeasy. It is just a few meters away, but it gets even busier so watch out for that. Other than that, it a very cool pub offering American food, cocktails and music.
Address: Calle Arevalo 2024 / TA
Cantina Palermo (Club Atlético Palermo)
“Cantina“, “fonda” or “bodegón” are words using to describe those restaurants which are not sophisticated at all, but authentic and pleasant. Their focus is to serve quality food at affordable prices. Their portions are normally generous, their staff friendly and experienced, and the decoration is arguably old-fashioned. Football shirts, theatre posters, stainless steel trays, syphons for sparkling water, linen tablecloths and napkins, vitraux, boisserie and the very traditional “penguin pitcher” are some of the classic elements of these restaurants. The latter are ceramic or porcelain penguins used to pour wine, which has become a cultural relic in Argentina.
So… Cantina Palermo is one of them. Located where the “Club Atlético Palermo” used to be, this restaurant serves most of the Argentinean classics such as milanesa, bife de chorizo, matambre, lengua a la vinagreta, vitel thoné and provoleta. I suggest trying as many of those as you can. More information about traditional food in Argentina is available in this post.
Address: Fitz Roy 2238 / Web
El Globo is another charming and old-fashioned traditional “cantina“. It is located in a neighbourhood called Montserrat, which is said to be “the” Spanish district in Buenos Aires, with its “wide Avenida de Mayo resembling La Gran Vía in Madrid”.
Dishes are unpretentious but tasty, and portions are generous in all cases. The absolute star of the place is a traditional Argentinean dish called “puchero“, which is a type of stew. It is originally from Spain, but each country has its own version. he name comes from the Spanish word “puchero” which means “stewpot”.
Their “puchero” is arguably the best one you can find in Buenos Aires. It comes in two separated trays, one for the meat (a couple of different meat cuts, chorizo, morcilla) and one for the steamed vegetables (potato, corn, butternut squash, chickpea).
Address: Hipolito Yrigoyen 1199
The last “cantina” on the list. And again… not fancy, but charming and authentic. Friendly staff and low prices. It may even look a bit run down, but it is part of its charm. Nonetheless, the food is tasty and fresh.
Amazing empanadas, locro and lentils stew (“puchero de lentejas“). They also offer Tamales, which is a dish made of masa or dough, which is steamed in a corn husk or banana leaf, and filled with meat, pork or vegetables. They are originally from Mexico.
Address: Av. Gral. Las Heras 3357