Buenos Aires Restaurants

Cabaña Las Lilas

Argentineans are carnivores: if forced to go a while without their parrilla, or grilled meat, they start to get grouchy. All over the city, one finds parrilla restaurants, some indicated by stuffed bulls at the doorway. One standout is Cabaña Las Lilas, on the waterfront in the area of restored warehouses known as Puerto Madero, on Avenida Alicia Moreau de Justo 516, (54-11) 4313-1336, fax (54-11) 4315-6045. The meat, from grass-fed cattle raised on the restaurant's own ranch, is extraordinarily tender and comes in a variety of cuts, some of which may be unfamiliar to Americans. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Dinner for two with a bottle of robust red wine from Mendoza or Neuquén, $100.

The new and stylishly severe Sucre, at Sucre 646, (54-11) 4782-9082, with a view of a park in Belgrano Chico, takes a very different approach, in an effort to remind diners that there is more to Argentine cuisine than beef. A gigot of boneless Patagonian lamb is typical of the restaurant's flair for adapting Mediterranean recipes. Open daily. Lunch or dinner for two with wine, $100.

For more than a century, Castilian, Basque, Catalonian and Galician immigrants have been flocking to Argentina and leaving their mark on eating habits. Of Buenos Aires's multitude of Spanish restaurants, the quiet and cozy José Luis, Avenida Quintana 456 in Recoleta, (54-11) 4807-0606, fax (54-11) 4807-3566, is probably the most highly regarded. There is paella and suckling pig here, of course, but fish and crustaceans dominate the menu, in a charming, informal setting that looks out onto a garden. Meal for two with wine is $100. Closed Sunday.

Puerto Madero District

More than half of Argentina's population is of Italian descent, so it's no surprise that the capital abounds not just in humble pizzerias and family-run trattorias, such as Il Matterello at Calle Martín Rodríguez 517 in La Boca, (54-11) 4307-0529 (closed Sunday night and Monday; meal for two, $70), but also in upscale restaurants with gourmet aspirations. One currently fashionable dining place in that category is Bella Italia, Calle República Árabe Siria 3285 in Palermo, (54-11) 4802-3253, closed for lunch on Saturday and all day Sunday. Besides the usual pasta, there are dishes such as flounder on a bed of tomato and spinach, a more subtle variation on traditional Florentine recipes. Meal for two with wine: $85.

For a really cheap meal, do what porteños do: try a tenedor libre (free fork), one of the many no-frills, all-you-can-eat restaurants that offer lunch or dinner, including parrilla, for as little as $10 a person. A bottle of beer or glass of wine typically cost $2.50 extra. Many feature Chinese or vegetarian dishes that are difficult to find elsewhere. One centrally located tenedor libre, just off Avenida Córdoba near major downtown hotels, is La Gran Victoria, at Suipacha 783; (54-11) 4328-0271.

Tourism in Buenos Aires

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Buenos Aires Tours

Tours in Buenos Aires

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