Humboldt 1542, Palermo
LAB is about as hipster as they come in Buenos Aires, a hyper-contemporary space aptly named given they treat the roasting and brewing process much like a precise science. A café for the true coffee connoisseur, every accouterment is available here from Chemex and V60, to an Aeropress for the perfect custom brew. Décor-wise, the space is a mix of white walls and blonde wood with low-hanging modern lamps and plenty of natural light. Aside from the incredible coffee, we recommend the grilled cheese or a sweet-savory slice of banana bread if you're feeling peckish.
José Antonio Cabrera 5099, Palermo
Steak and all its many accompaniments are what this Buenos Aires institution is best known for. While we do recommend booking ahead, the inconvenience of standing in line outside is definitely tempered by the flutes of sparkling wine the waiters often disperse to the waiting crowd. The steak options are endless, with every possible cut finished with various sauces and butters. La Cabrera has a comforting, dimly lit, slightly kooky interior that encourages you to settle in for the evening—the walls are covered in plates and clocks while the tables are of the white-tablecloth variety.
Lafinur 3368, Palermo
Translating from Yiddish as ‘crazy or eccentric’, Mishiguene serves up what they self-describe as ‘immigrant cuisine’—essentially dishes sprung from the food memories of immigrant Jews around the world. Friday is the night to try and snag a booking, especially as on the Sabbath, the meal is accompanied by live Klezmer music. Argentinian chef Tomás Kalika honed his culinary craft in Jerusalem, helped along by his grandmother’s recipes. Kalika’s menu takes the diner on a journey through Ashkenazi, Sephardic, Israeli, and Middle Eastern food traditions. The space itself is cozy and convivial, filled with tables of varying sizes, walls lined with photographs and, more often than not, a super fun crowd. Order whole roasted cauliflower dressed up with labneh, matbucha, and silky tahini to enjoy alongside the sensational homemade breads (sesame bagels, Israeli pitta, raisin challah). The pastrami comes in salty slabs, the latkes are crispy, and the tangy hummus should be drizzled liberally on every plate.
Victoria Brown Coffee & Bar
Costa Rica 4827, Palermo
A speakeasy, designed to resemble a Victorian-era factory (hence the name), the ambiance is dark and cozy with circular leather booths, low lighting, and truly excellent cocktails. Settle in for a few aperitifs and small plates to tide you over until dinner, which given Buenos Aires’s dining schedule typically gets going around 10 p.m.
Uriarte 1664, Palermo
Conveniently next door to BA hot spot Casa Cruz, Isabel is equally as glamorous as her neighbor. An upscale bar, the decor has that seductive, seventies vibe going on—gilded doors, a roaring fireplace, plush velvet booths, and mood-setting dim lighting. If you can get past the tight door, the martinis are the thing to order.
Sunae Asian Cantina
Humboldt 1626, Palermo
Argentinian food—though flavor-packed—lacks spice, and chef Christina Sunae’s Southeast Asian Cantina is a breath of culinary fresh air. The food aside, the space is refreshingly vibrant with banana-leaf wallpaper, splashes of color, and plenty of plants. The menu has mined the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia for inspiration—try the fresh yum talay salad (seafood, mint, cilantro, and a spicy, citrus-y dressing), the empanada-style wontons or the roasted eggplant puree (with coconut milk, sweet potatoes, and crisp banana chips). For diners craving something more familiar go for reliable standby’s like Pad Thai or a nourishing bowl of pho. Post-dinner sweet treats have been re-interpreted to reflect the aforementioned regions—we loved the key lime pie with it’s ginger-infused dough, pandan meringue, and green tea ice cream.
Soler 5862, Palermo
Located in the boutique Fierro Hotel, Uco is a wine-centric restaurant (named for Mendoza’s Uco region) with over 300 labels available and helmed by Irish chef Ed Holloway. The interior is rustic, and almost Scandinavian-looking with textural walls of contrasting planks of wood and big windows looking out onto the greenery outside. Chef Holloway presents a true farm-to-fork menu with everything down to the charcuterie prepped in-house daily. Open for all three meals, Uco is probably one of the only restaurants in South America to offer a full Irish breakfast alongside the typically sweeter Argentinian options. If you need a break from all the steak, try one of their vegetarian or fish paellas, while the eighteen-hour shoulder of Patagonian lamb is utterly unforgettable. Early bird eaters should try lunch over dinner as ideally, dinner should be eaten at around 9pm to make the most of the convivial atmosphere that's as paramount to the restaurant’s atmosphere as the food.
Bar du Marché
Nicaragua 6002, Palermo
Open all day, this restaurant resembles a classic French brasserie with its simple wooden tables and throwback checkerboard floors. Interestingly, the menu is more Paris-meets-Tokyo with both charcuterie and sashimi on offer, alongside some of the best sushi in the city. With over fifty wines available by-the-glass, Bar Du Marché is a solid spot to start your evening with a few small plates and a glass of wine before moving on to a larger steakhouse dinner. The breakfast is also worth noting: stop by for egg and toast dishes, creamy hot chocolate, and a sampling of their deliciously flaky pastries—many of which are filled with Argentina’s favorite sweet condiment, dulce de leche.
Cavia 2985, Palermo
Casa Cavia—this restaurant-slash-retail concept in a stunningly renovated Belle Époque mansion is home to La Cocina, the toughest reservation to snag in the city. In keeping with the house's creative vibe (it’s also home to a publisher and bookstore), the menu is incredibly inventive and unusual (roasted bone marrow with cassava, rice with stewed flowers, or for desert, a marshmallow, barley, and peanut fudge), and is accompanied by an equally impressive cocktail menu (try the Fitzgerald which marries juniper essence with Patagonian pear cider). Food aside, the interior is reason alone to make a reservation—inspired by the cafés of the 1920s, the space is all marble, brass, chevron floors, and antique mirrors—it feels airy and fresh, yet incredibly refined. If you can’t commit to dinner, stop by for a sweet Argentinian breakfast of dulce de leche stuffed baked goods and coffee to soak up all the design details in the daylight hours.
Casa Cruz (Closed)
Uriarte 1658, Palermo
A local dining concept from Argentinian restaurateur Juan Santa Cruz, Casa Cruz, as with the London location, is not short on sex-appeal and glamour. A riff on the brasserie, the menu is international with heavy Argentine influences like plenty of meat-centric dishes alongside more Italian-style plates like eggplant parmigiana and pasta. Round the meal off with the dulce de leche flan (nowhere else in the world can you rationally eat this glorious, caramel-y condiment at all three meals, so take full advantage). Casa Cruz is decidedly upscale, definitely not the restaurant for a casual steak dinner; reservations are essential.
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