Popular Palermo Restaurants, Buenos Aires

Popular Palermo Restaurants, Buenos Aires

Although many visitors tend to think that Argentina is a meat and potatoes country, the rich cultural heritage from Italy, Spain, Portugal, and other European countries provide a veritable smorgasboard of dining options. Palermo is the barrio in Buenos Aires often referred to as 'The Restaurant Capital of Buenos Aires' because it seems as though there is a restaurant on every street corner. The variety is extensive from International menus to local Argentine parillas (BBQs) and every cultural choice in between.

Local residents travel from all over the city to dine in Palermo and many tourists have discovered this gourmet culinary neighborhood.The parilla is a great favorite with choices of beef, pork, chicken, chorizos (sausages), and sometimes kidneys often served on a hot tray with potatoes and salad for two or more persons. But Italian pastas, and pizzas, or Spanish casseroles, and even American Diner hamburgers are readily available. Empanandas (small pies with a variety of fillings), baked provolones, and other local dishes are found in almost every restaurant. Of course, the locals also love their sweet postres (desserts) and lemon pie or an egg custard flan are favorites. Add to that the world famous Argentine helado (ice cream) and the meal is complete.

Almost every venue offers a wide range of samplings from Argentina's vineyards especially the renowned Mendoza Malbec vintages. Explore Palermo and you are sure to find your own favorite places to satisfy any appetites but this guide includes some places where you will find local Buenos Aires residents enjoying the fare. It is strongly recommended that you phone to verify opening times which tend to vary from season to season and at the whim of the owners. Also, if you are planning to pay with a credit card it should be noted that staff gratuities must be left in cash and many places are strictly cash only.
(To visit the venues mentioned in this article, check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Buenos Aires)
Image Courtesy of: Dirklaudio

1. Don Julio

Don Julio
If you are planning to start with a traditional Argentine parrilla experience, then Don Julio is the perfect place. The brown leather-topped wooden tables, antique tiled floors, high brick ceilings, exposed brick walls, a balcony overlooking the main floor, and friendly service are the home to excellent meats at a reasonable price. The cuadril (rump steak) is a particular specialty and is big enough to share. A house delicasy is the chorizo sausage appetizers.

Pablo Rivero and his parents built Don Julio into a Buenos Aires favorite restaurant by offering top-quality plates of traditional parrilla steak-house fare at affordable prices. Rows and rows of empty wine bottles cover every available surface inside and the list of 150 Argentine wines runs from $10 classics to $200 splurges. Owner Pablo will be happy to help make wine suggestions and they will probably ask you to sign the empty bottle at the end of the meal to add to their decoration collection. The place is often packed with guests dining on the fantastic ojo de bife (rib eye) and bife de lomo (filet steak), plus great chorizo sausages, and almost anything else you might want off a grill. The dulce de leche pancakes are a must for dessert. Rumor has it that Don Julio was named after a hard-drinking family friend and this feels like a family owned restaurant where they care about your dining enjoyment as if you were an old friend. It is popular with locals as well as tourists and reservations are recommended.
Where to find it:
Guatemala 4691, Buenos Aires

Phone: 48319564

Working Hours:
Mon-Sun: 12:00pm-01:00am

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2. El Preferido

El Preferido
If you're looking for a restaurant with some soul and history, then El Preferido bodegon is definitely worthy of a visit. In this historic corner building---which was once the home of renowned Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges---the restaurant evolved from the original corner store. It is divided into two parts with one side being a deli cafe and the other a dinner time restaurant. Through the corner doors is the cafe and store entrance, filled with huge bottles and cans on shelves. There are a dozen or so high tables with stools to sit and enjoy cold snacks or some hot dishes such as schnitzel and Spanish omelet.

Next door is the restaurant, open only in the evenings, with paneled walls and a cozy home style atmosphere. Both offer distinctly different menu choices with Spanish typical dishes like fried calamari, or tripe, a classic Asturian bean stew with sausage, bacon, and ham. Another classic is peceto Milanese a highlight for Argentine diners. It was in 1951 that Arturo Fernández, the current owner, arrived in Argentina with his family from Asturias, Spain. In 1952 his father started working at the El Preferido Almacen, a popular general store, selling groceries in Palermo. With the arrival of large supermarkets in Buenos Aires, the local almacens soon began to disappear. Instead of shutting up shop, Arturo and his family transformed the store into a deli style bistro still operating today. Enjoy the history and Spanish delicacies.
Where to find it:
Guatemala 4801, Buenos Aires

Phone: 47746585

Working Hours:
Mon-Sat: 12:00pm-12:00am
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3. A Nos Amours

A Nos Amours
Here you can find a little bit of France in the heart of Buenos Aires. This Parisian bistro---with its full length windows, high ceilings, black-and-white photographs, vases filled with fresh flowers, and French poetry books resting on each of the eight or so tables---is a perfect place for a romantic candlelit dinner. It is located just to the east of the main tourist area of Palermo on a quiet side street. The overall décor and atmosphere is simple and tidy like a real French bistro with the aroma of fresh baked bread in the air and soft music in the background.

A large chalkboard displays the unique daily seasonal menu, including about eight choices of starters and main courses with favorites such as beetroot risotto or fish of the day. The extensive wine list has been hand-picked by the knowledgeable French owner. Mouth watering desserts like home-made lemon pie and crème brûlée make it near-obligatory to end the meal on a sweet note. The service provided by the friendly French owner in all white and his small staff is always perfect to European standards. Sit at a table by the window or on the outdoor patio and understand why Buenos Aires is known as the Paris of South America.
Where to find it:
Gorriti 4488, Buenos Aires

Phone: 48972072

Working Hours:
Mon-Sat: 09:00pm-12:00am
Sun: 12:30pm-04:30 pm
Offline reading and travel directions:
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4. Guidos Bar

Guidos Bar
The original Guido's Bar is one of Buenos Aires best kept secrets. This authentic Italian restaurant is well-known to local residents, but is off the beaten track for tourists. With a kitsch atmosphere they offer an array of home-cooked Italian specialties served by efficient smiling waiters. The walls are covered with movie posters and pictures featuring old school Italian actors for a fun edge and a real---if not slightly over the top---Italian feel. It is a small cosy place with a few tables outdoors for patio dining. Reservations are a must if you don't want to be disappointed.

Although there is a small menu available, most guests opt for the chef's set meals which differ daily. Dinner is a five course affair, including wines and soft drinks for around US$50 plus gratuity. To start there is an array of hot and cold antipasto---including a cherry tomato and bocconcini salad---with new and old Italian favorites to choose from. This is followed by two different pasta dishes with fresh home-made pasta combined with local ingredients. Then comes the carni---meat dish---like veal tenderloin in a light, creamy tarragon sauce accompanied by french fries. If that is not enough for most appetites, then the dessert tray will top off the meal. A selection of home made treats include a Tiramisu, chocolate gelato, a pineapple cake, and a chocolate surprise. Throughout the meal there are bottomless bottles of excellent red and white wine offered, plus soft drinks and bottled water.
Where to find it:
República de la India 2843, Buenos Aires

Phone: 48022391

Working Hours:
Mon-Sat: 11:00am–04:00pm; 08:00pm – Closing

5. Meridiano 58

Meridiano 58
In the heart of Palermo Soho Meridiano 58---named for the global location of Buenos Aires----is a Latin dining and moody experience. During the day the natural light from the skylights allows guests to see the Argentine touches, such as Indian designs from Salta, leather covered lounge sofas, and dark leather place mats. At night, when the staircase is lit with candles and the water fountain is operating, you're in a new quixotic world. The building has three levels, a VIP lounge plus a torch-lit terrace, all overseen by waiters in spiffy outfits with Nehru collars. In spite of these Asian touches, Chef Gustavo Soria prepares largely Argentine and contemporary Latin food. The desserts are worthy of note---try the chocolate mousse with passion fruit or the orange flan with ginger and coconut. Fresh from the oven, the home baked breads and pastries are an afternoon delight. The outdoor street-level patio provides and opportunity to dine and watch the excitement of bustling Palermo.
Where to find it:
Jorge Luis Borges 1689, Buenos Aires

Phone: 48333443

Working Hours:
Mon–Sun: 09:00am-02:00am

6. Lele de Troya

Lele de Troya
Uniquely named with an atmosphere to match at Lele de Troya, meaning Helen of Troy, dine in style. Undoubtedly this is the most spectacularly unusual themed restaurant in the city. Each room of this converted old manor is adorned in a different color—from the walls to the tables and chairs to the plates—and the food is just as bold. Choose from cheery lemon yellow to sultry red and soothing sea blue, lending each dining area a distinct ambiance. On the canary-yellow indoor courtyard, you can see the kitchen where loaves of the restaurant's homemade bread disperse their aroma as each one is drawn from the clay oven.

Select dishes like salmon ravioli or mollejas in cognac, or the Cordero de Troya (Patagonia lamb stuffed with pistachios and almonds plus roasted baby potatoes and mint coulis) and follow with one of Lelé's many desserts. Flawless renditions of classic Argentine-Italian fare like spinach and ricotta ravioli and risotto frutas de mar (seafood) mingle with Middle Eastern and Mediterranean gems to form a comprehensive and eclectic menu. Every dish goes better with a Mendoza wine, and you can trust the waiters here to expertly pair international flavors with the national vintages. Enjoy the vine covered outdoor patio, or one of the different sized cozy rooms which are perfect if you're in a group, since there is bound to be space, and it's also just right to find a cozy nook to go by yourself or as a couple.
Where to find it:
Costa Rica 4901, Buenos Aires

Phone: 48322726

Working Hours:
Mon: Closed
Tue-Thu: 12:00pm-01:00am
Fri-Sat: 12:00pm-02:00am
Sun: 12:30pm-01:00am

7. Los Octubres

Los Octubres
Fans of Evita will delight in this restaurant which celebrates both Eva and Juan Peron whilst serving up traditional Argentine fare at reasonable prices. Juan Domingo Peron was born on October 8 and is renowned as the greatest statesman of Argentina, a figure who changed the history of his country. October is a month of rebellion, revolutions, memories, and commemorations around Latin America and hence the name Los Octubres. This three level venue is a gastronomic and cultural experience. The main dining area is located on the third floor, with large windows which overlook the street. The outdoor terrace is protected by old banana trees and a second floor balcony is complete with antique microphone that can emulate the popular imagery of Evita's speeches towards Plaza de Mayo.

Have your photo taken waving from the famous balcony replica---a perfect keepsake of your visit to Buenos Aires. The menu is a combination of the best of Latin American specialties with a classic Buenos Aires grill. Select from grilled meats, pasta, catch of the day, plus signature Argentine dishes. The second floor retail store offers a selection of designer products with the Peronist imprint including clothing, pottery, handbags, contemporary jewelry, plus wine and brewed beer. The main floor bar and café is a popular local hang out and soccer seems to be playing constantly on the television. Enjoy the experience and then take home a memorable jewelry replica as worn by Evita.
Where to find it:
Thames 1788, Buenos Aires

Phone: 48332715

Working Hours:
Mon-Sat: 11:00am-11:00pm

8. Trattoria Il Ballo del Mattone

Trattoria Il Ballo del Mattone
Il Ballo del Mattone is as peculiar as its Italian name---The Dance of the Brick. The interior is a jumble of tables and eclectic artwork, while out on the pavement or in the rear gardens you can sit around an old tree, decorated with trinkets. The freshness of the homemade pasta and the tiramisú coupled with friendly service has resulted in the popularity of this genuine Italian experience. They serve up pasta and other Italian dishes as if they were straight out of a Sicilian grandmother's kitchen.

This is the place to feast on home-made conchiglioni, or black triangular pasta stuffed with salmon. The speciality is fusilli scarparo---a deliciously simple parmesan, tomato, garlic and basil pasta. Expect chalkboard menus, kitsch art scattered about and cool, helpful staff. The laid-back, quirky and fiercely hardworking owners deserve the success they have garnered and they still find the time to teach Italian cooking and bread-making, and host art exhibitions and film screenings. For some pastas and jazz, swing and bossa nova music, this is Palermo Hollywood's favorite. Be sure to make reservations as the capacity is limited and the demand is great.
Where to find it:
Gorriti 5950, Buenos Aires

Phone: 47764247

Working Hours:
Mon-Sat: 12:00pm-04:00pm; 08:00pm-Closing


9. Cabernet Restaurant

Cabernet Restaurant
Palermo Soho is the center of the artistic vanguard of Buenos Aires with historic architecture refurbished in a modern style. Contrasting with the neo trend of the community, Cabernet Restaurant displays the historic spirit of the neighborhood, recycling a typical house of the early nineteenth century, where the aroma of the old jasmine trees wafts around the interior rooms and the outdoor patio. The open air garden and soft lighting entices dining al fresco. There are also a few tables on the street corner for those who enjoy people watching. Inside the large windows, high ceilings, oak floors, original stained glass and tiled floors create a homely atmosphere.

All these elements combine for customer relaxation and guests enjoy a unique experience dedicated to attention with refined flavors of gourmet cuisine. The staff sommelier helps make the right choices from the widest variety of national Argentine wines. The deep red colored interior is an intimate, tapestry-draped place to wine and dine amongst classic old style furnishings. Chefs Joaquín Alberdi and Luis Coluccio present a menu remindful of Tuscany combined with Argentine specialties. Enjoy a risotto with ossobuco, beef tenderloin in a cabernet dressing served with fresh potatoes, Tuscan prawns, and house-made spinach cannelloni or parilla favorites. Deserts include warm apple crisp and fresh crème brulee among other options. This gem is bound to please for a casual rest stop, lunch or dinner.
Where to find it:
Jorge Luis Borges 1757, Buenos Aires

Phone: 48313071

Working Hours:
Mon-Fri: 12:00pm-01:00am
Sat: 12:00pm-02:00am
Sun: 12:00pm-01:00am


10. Social La Lechuza

Social La Lechuza
Without a doubt this is a true Argentine experience in the heart of Palermo Soho. Through a wrought iron entrance gate and a small foyer decorated with antiques, one enters the cluttered, cozy, family run, classic restaurant. Because of that it´s open erratically and usually starts with dinner at about 8:00PM and runs until they decide to close for the night. Here you will find generous portions from the grill or homemade pastas created in the kitchen. Plus Milanesa a la Napolitana, exceptional bife de chorizo, and heavy red pasta sauces are staples. Adventurous diners recommend the pickled cow’s tongue (lengua) or lamb hock (patitas) appetizers.

The joyful patriarchal propietor and his lovely wife, plus their daughter wait on the tables with a smile if you´re lucky. The doors opened in 2001, but Social La Lechuza exudes the atmosphere of the best old-school parrillas which have been around far longer. Opened by Pedro Marafuschi in the covered courtyard of a house that’s been in his family for 100 years (his 92-year-old mother can often be found assisting), the place has an improvised, homeyness. The varied patrons include groups of men discussing fútbol and politics, youngsters on a budget, and the occasional expat or tourist. The shelves are adorned with hundreds of figurines of owls (or lechuzas, which give the Social its name) and the walls are covered by photos of local rock stars and celebrities who’ve dined there.
Where to find it:
Uriarte 1980, Buenos Aires

Phone: 47739999

Working Hours: Varied
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