Rocha 801, La Boca
A reservation is essential for what always turns out to be a truly special evening. This is Francis Mallman’s restaurant in the heart of one of Buenos Aires’ oldest (and on occasion dicey) neighborhoods, La Boca. Press the buzzer and be welcomed into what feels like dining at the chef’s home. The dinnerware is a little mismatched, the walls are covered in assorted paintings and prints, plush red velvet drapes dress each window, and low hanging lamps create that ambient moody light that makes you want to linger for an extra glass of wine. Steaks are the order of the day here (be sure to specify that rare means rare, as oftentimes Argentinians err on the side of well-done). Yes, it's an extravagance, but the atmospheric intimacy of the surroundings, and of course, the food itself, more than justify a trip to La Boca. Image courtesy of @annstreetstudio
Brandsen 699, La Boca
Across the street from the Buenos Aires sports temple that is Boca stadium, Don Carlos is a classic mom-and-pop operation, helmed by Don Carlos himself. With no real menu available, prepare to be served whatever Carlos feels like sending out—if you like the look of something another diner is eating, ask for it—you’ll notice plenty of rustically prepared, traditional meat and pasta dishes coming out of the small kitchen in rapid succession. This space is no-frills, yet oozes charm—simple dishes, done well. While the area can be a little dicey at night, the homey space, flavorful comfort food, and superb people watching make this place well worth the trip. Cash only.
Magallanes 802, La Boca
The La Boca neighborhood of Buenos Aires has a reputation for being a little sketchy, however considering it's home to the Boca Juniors stadium, and many of the city’s best restaurants (Don Carlos, Patagonia Sur), the charming street is well worth the trip (and is walkable from quaint San Telmo). The caminito is just as described, a little walk through what was once an immigrant Italian neighborhood still called La Boca (or the mouth) thanks to it’s harborside location. The area’s charm lies in the mish-mash of brightly painted houses situated along the cobbled streets that are lined with artists and craftspeople. Many of the walls are covered in murals that delve into the social and political themes present in Porteño life. Go for a wander, take in the sights and—if you’re organized enough—book at table at one of La Boca’s restaurants for dinner.