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Insider Guide to Buenos Aires Restaurants

When he’s at home in Buenos Aires, South American grill master and author of the renowned cookbook Seven Fires, Francis Mallmann can often be found at his Argentinean restaurant Patagonia Sur. When it’s time to go out, he loves the city’s simple cantinas and local bodegónes—“traditional restaurants with the spirit of a French bistro.” Here, Mallmann reveals all sorts of insider finds, from a family-run lunch spot with no menu to a tiny but incredibly glamorous stop for coffee.

Francis Mallman’s Favorite Buenos Aires Restaurants

Best Night Out with Friends: Munich Recoleta

“This is an elegant old restaurant—it’s been there more than 30 years—with dark woods and animal heads on the wall. The food is extremely good—Argentinean cooking with a German twist. They make a beautiful revuelto gramajo, an omelet with thinly sliced french fries.” munich-recoleta.com.ar

Incredible Steak: La Cabrera

“Though it’s quite expensive, I think this is the best place for meat—both for its quality and the way they cook it. It’s not an elegant place—the décor is casual, with old pictures on the wall. I always order the tapa de ojo de bife, the top or cap of the rib eye. I think it’s the best part of the cow.” parrillalacabrera.com.ar

Homey Lunch: Don Carlos (a.k.a. Carlitos)

“This small family-run place in La Boca is one of the best simple restaurants in town. There’s no menu—you sit down and they start bringing you food until you say, ‘That’s enough!’ They make their own pastas and a very good rotolo—an Italian dish consisting of mushrooms and spinach wrapped in a thin pastry (similar to a crêpe). They also have wonderful desserts; I like their bread pudding.” Brandsen 699; 54-11-4362-2433

Buenos Aires Restaurants: Olsen
Photo © Vilde Adele Aarbo

Romantic Lunch: Olsen

“I love having lunch on Olsen’s terrace on a spring day. Located in Palermo Hollywood, the restaurant is Scandinavian, with beautiful design and a great chef. They serve smoked fish like herring and salmon, smorrebrod (open-face sandwiches) and salads. It’s very civilized.” Gorriti 5870, 011 4776 767

Most Glamorous Coffee Spot: Farinelli

“This is a tiny, tiny place, but it’s one of the most cozy and glamorous cafés in Buenos Aires. They are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., and serve breakfast and lunch with little sandwiches and really good coffee. It has the most incredibly chic ambiance and it’s always full of beautiful young girls.” farinelli.com.ar

Favorite Bakery Snack: Confiteria Santa Paula

“They make a beautiful little bread called locatelli—sort of like a croissant—and fill it with chicken, mayonnaise and tomato slices. When you order one, they put it in a tiny wrap and you leave the happiest person in the world.” cateringsantapaula.com.ar

Best Ice Cream: Persicco

“Eating ice cream in the street is a huge thing here, year-round. I like Persicco—they have locations all over town, and more than 40 flavors at each one. I always get the same thing: dark chocolate and dulce de leche.” persicco.com

 Great Classic Cocktails: Plaza Hotel

“For old-fashioned cocktails, I head to the bar at the Plaza Hotel. It’s a classic English-style bar with a very Old World feel, and beautiful paintings. They can make anything, but I like to order a local martini called a Clarito, which is very dry with gin, vermouth and lemon peel.” marriott.com

Trendy Drinks: Isabel

“For a modern, trendy feel, I go to Isabel, next door to the upscale Casa Cruz in Palermo Soho. They have a DJ and it’s young and hip—much more of a scene than the Plaza.” isabelbar.com

Buenos Aires Hotels: Palacio Duhau
Photo courtesy of Park Hyatt Palacio Duhau

Buenos Aires Hotel Pick

Beautiful Hotel: Palacio Duhau Park Hyatt

“With its beautiful gardens, top-notch service and palace setting, this hotel channels the elegant Argentina of the 1920s. The rooms are all fantastic, though the best ones are in the palace itself (rather than the adjoining annex). When the weather’s nice, I love eating one of their seasonal salads on the terrace overlooking the gardens.” hyatt.com

Buenos Aires Shopping Picks

Go-To Gourmet Shop: Valenti

“Sort of like a salumeria, Valenti sells wonderful cheeses, charcuterie, jams and breads. They have several locations, but there’s one right across from the Park Hyatt.” valenti.com.ar

Stylish Home Design: Laura O

“Laura Orcoyen, one of the top interior designers in Buenos Aires, sells all sorts of home decor items here, from furniture to Argentinean textiles to handmade plates.” laurao.com

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