I ended up in Argentina for 12 days, splitting my time between Buenos Aires and El Calafate. Before visiting Argentina, I did what most folks do and went on YouTube, TripAdvisor, and blogs trying to figure out what to do, where to do it, and what to eat. To start, I have always assumed that Argentina was a meat-heavy society since everyone always talked about steaks when discussing Argentinian food. I didn’t think I would fit into Argentina’s food landscape because I don’t eat steak, but I wanted to visit the country anyway. Below is a list of places I stumbled upon or decided to visit because of positive online reviews and recommendations.
The Pani Café in Recoleta is close to the Recoleta Cemetery and many other attractions in this area. It’s only one of many other Pani Cafés located in Argentina. I ate at Pani on my first day in Buenos Aires, enjoying a light late lunch. The restaurant is whimsically themed, and at first glance, it reminded me of Alice in Wonderland attending one of the Mad Hatter’s tea party and the Cheesecake Factory blended together. It’s bright and colorful with giant murals on the walls and tons of pastries and cakes. My aim while traveling is to stay away from busy franchise eateries, but Pani looked so inviting I had to go in. Off the menu, I had the Falafeliz, which was a homemade falafel with hummus and greenery. It was very healthy and light enough to get me through my afternoon walk around Recoleta.
Fervor is a steakhouse and seafood restaurant that provides fine dining in an upscale atmosphere. Now I am not a steak eater, but my traveling companion loves the stuff, so we had to go. The dining is a bit more formal, and it’s all about the service. An older crowd frequents this place more than the younger group at places like Pani or Floreria Atlántico. If I had to rate this restaurant, I would give it a 4 out of 5; removing one point because I really don’t think they are the best seafood preparers. I ate at Fervor twice during my stay in Buenos Aires, so it was not very disappointing, but the meal for me as someone who does not eat steak was just okay. While the steak lovers, on the other hand, might find this place more appealing. The atmosphere to me was very sophisticated but kept a very traditional feel.
Greenery / Verde Feria Organica
While strolling around San Telmo, we ran into a lovely café called Greenery painted in an eye-catching shade of green. The color itself was the very reason we wandered into this establishment. From my travels, I have found that the smallest cafes often produce the best services, the boldest flavors, and the most memorable ambiance. Greenery is a more health-conscious eatery, so when I decided to go for their cheesecake, I knew I was in good hands.
Inside the San Telmo Market is a small coffee-stand called Coffee Town. My travel companion kept raving about this place as she is a coffee lover. Coffee Town sits in between a host of other stores standing out among the many cafes, vegetable stalls, and antique shops. It’s run by a group of expert baristas who specialize in brewing the best coffee from around the world. According to my travel companion, a few of the baristas have won prestigious awards in several competitions. If you are not a coffee drinker, they also have several teas to satisfy the most discerning tea drinker. San Telmo Market is a vibrant place where many of the locals hang out, so remember if you look like a tourist chances are someone is watching you. While enjoying a latte and tea at Coffee Town, my travel companion’s purse was taken. Unfortunately, she hung her purse on the back of her chair, and while engaging in polite banter with the barista, someone stole it. Fortunately, there was nothing in the bag that was worth anything, but to my ghost audience out there don’t become as complacent as we did.
La Pescadorita is in Palermo and was selected for the mere fact that they specialize in seafood. As a lover of seafood, I had to try this place. Like other restaurants in Buenos Aires, it was uniquely styled to represent the genre of food they are preparing. For my visit to La Pescadorita, I had mussels as a starter and paella. It’s important to note that the smallest paella on the menu serves two people. To be 100% honest about this restaurant, as someone who has eaten seafood in the Caribbean, Spain, Thailand, and Italy; I didn’t find these dishes memorable. They did satisfy my hunger and curiosity about seafood in Argentina enough to know that overall, it’s just okay.
Buenos Aires seems to be obsessed with hidden speakeasy bars, and I love it. While in Retiro, I went to Floreria Atlántico, which is a secret bar inside of a flower shop. By day it’s a flower shop, but by night once you enter the shop and pass through the refrigerator door and head downstairs, you will enter a world of culinary delight and sophistication. The food, although simple, tells a story and conveys the overall mood of this bar.
Tea Connection is another franchise that can be found in Argentina, Mexico, Chile, and Brazil. The restaurant is also a deli that makes natural organic food, drinks, and teas. I was highly impressed by Tea Connection; the service and food were fantastic, and most importantly, it was very healthy and a good starter for the day.
El Querandi is a restaurant that provides a live Tango show and dinner. I must say that the dinner was not the best, but to see Tango performed so passionately. Anyone who visits can pay for the dinner and show or the show only. El Querandi also provides a ride back to the hotel since the show runs a bit late.
Negro Cueva de Café
During my time in Buenos Aires, I counted about four Negro Cueva de Cafés, so I couldn’t help but stop for a bite. This café is very Soho hipster chic offering excellent service, food, and atmosphere. Negro Cueva de Café is a cool place that in my opinion, is a few steps above Starbucks. The one I frequented in Retiro was small and hosted several working Argentinians on the go. They had the best cream cheese bagels and peach tea!