Popular Palermo Restaurants

Argentina, Buenos Aires Guide (D): Popular Palermo Restaurants

Palermo is the barrio in Buenos Aires often referred to as 'The Restaurant Capital of Buenos Aires' because of the sheer volume of popular restaurants located here. 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.
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Guide Name: Popular Palermo Restaurants
Guide Location: Argentina » Buenos Aires
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (D))
# of Destinations: 15
Sight(s) featured in this guide: Don Julio   El Preferido   A Nos Amours   Almacen Secreto---Secret Store   Artemisia   Olsen   Guidos Bar   Meridiano 58   Lele de Troya   Los Octubres   Trixie American Diner   Trattoria Il Ballo del Mattone   Cabernet Restaurant   Unik   Social La Lechuza  
Author: Roy Heale
Author Bio: I was born, raised and educated in London, England but spent the next forty years living in Canada. Five years ago I decided to relocate to Buenos Aires, Argentina for my semi-retirement days. My work experience has been in all levels of advertising, marketing, public relations, and publishing. I am now based in Buenos Aires and occupy myself as a freelance travel journalist for global magazines and websites.
Author Website: http://www.royheale.blogspot.com
1
Don Julio

1) 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.
2
El Preferido

2) 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.
3
A Nos Amours

3) 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.
4
Almacen Secreto---Secret Store

4) Almacen Secreto---Secret Store

Part of the puerta cerrada (closed door) dining scene, at Almacén Secreto, guests order from a short menu of genuine Argentine specialties with several choices including a vegetarian option and one set price. There is also a children's menu. The friendly, personalized service, quiet courtyard and hidden location on a calm side street makes you feel like you’re having dinner at a friend’s house.

Contrary to the name, this 'secret store' was never actually a store---and the word has spread ending the secret following its move to more spacious premises and expanded seating capacity. With the enlarged new menu, owner María Morales Miy's fans don't care about the changes. Beautifully rendered northern Argentinian dishes such as empanadas tucumanas, tamales, and locro now form part of the 'El norte' portion of the menu. Also, with 'El centro' and 'El sur' broadening the range of regional specialties on offer to include carne al horno de barro (meat slow-cooked in an adobe oven) and cordero patagónico (Patagonian lamb).

The new locale is airy, spacious, and perfect for a summer's dinner (just be sure to make reservations ahead of time, and bring cash). The garden offers al fresco dining. Separate tables spread out over a few rooms creating an intimate experience, no spill-over noise from fellow diners.

The wine list features independent labels from around the country including many favorites from Mendoza. Live music nights and art workshops are two further innovations.
Image by Almacen Secreto under Creative Commons License.
5
Artemisia

5) Artemisia

When you are in need of a break from meat at the renowned parillas, then Artemisia is a veggie lovers delight. They only have a few dishes on the menu and daily specials, but most of the offerings are inventive and seasonal vegetarian meals. The home-made bread and garlicky hummus---served free before your meal---are sublime, and along with the gingery lemonade it’s seriously worth a visit just for the bread and juice. The pear, goats cheese and rocket bruschetta or the huge tapa selection, featuring fresh and tasty vegetables, cheeses and dips, provide a great variety of taste sensations. It’s a lovely bright space with huge windows, wooden tables and a small courtyard. The menu selections are constantly changing so they are handwritten on brown paper bags. With decor that includes deliberately mismatched crockery and a pantry-style counter laden with tempting home-made breads and muffins, the eaterie has become an instant hit with Palermo's brunch set. Try starting your meal with an atypical picada which includes bruschetta with dips, and the delicious and original beetroot marinated in ginger, honey and thyme. Main courses include polenta lasagne and Thai-style haddock in a marinade of lemongrass and coconut milk.

This bistro guarantees any vegan will find something unique and satisfying as an option from the usual fare being offered in other vegetarian restaurants.
6
Olsen

6) Olsen

Hidden behind an 8-ft high wooden fence on a quiet Palermo Hollywood street, sits Olsen, a wonderful restaurant serving Scandinavian cuisine in a tranquil environment. Built into what was once a warehouse, this restaurant soars to a great height and has a mezzanine overlooking the main dining area. The 1960s interior, is complete with a central round metal fireplace. Whether you are seated at one of the reclining chairs in Olsen’s front garden surrounded by Naum Knop sculptures and ivy growing down the walls, or at a round table in the open-air dining room, your experience will no doubt be relaxing and enjoyable. Olsen transports diners from Argentina to Scandinavia with its seafood-heavy menu and impressive selection of more than sixty vodkas. Starters are fun and meant to be shared, such as bagels, tiny pancakes, smoked salmon, smoked herring, caviar, plus flavored cheeses and butters. Dishes like blini, smoked herring, and red tuna are a large part of the restaurant’s allure. Vodka is the focus at the bar----James Bond would have loved it---but innovative cocktails like dill martinis are also available. The Sunday champagne brunch attracts both expats and the Argentine elite for the popular smørrebrød (comprising smoked salmon, pastrami, smoked cheese, langoustine and more), to delicious mains such as white salmon, served with barbecue lentils and an apple salad.

The restaurant is overseen by successful Buenos Aires restauranteur Germán Martitegui.
7
Guidos Bar

7) 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.
8
Meridiano 58

8) 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.
9
Lele de Troya

9) 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.
10
Los Octubres

10) 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.
11
Trixie American Diner

11) Trixie American Diner

Amidst all of the wonderful local delicacies and gourmet dining there is bound to be a time when a BigMac craving comes along for many visitors to Buenos Aires. Instead of heading for a traditional fast food franchise---and there are plenty of them to choose from---take the time to enjoy an American diner experience at Trixies in Palermo Hollywood.

The ambiance is your classic fake diner look with booths, chrome, mirrors, bright red upholstery, neon lights, a buffet counter with stools, and Elvis playing on the stereo. The menu is exactly what you want in a diner experience: milk shakes, smoothies, waffles and pancakes, ice cream sundaes, sandwiches, salads, eggs and omelets, snacks, burgers, chicken nuggets, onion rings, french fries, and more. Enough choices to make the ultimate decision difficult. Plus you can enjoy the “American coffee” with refills to complete the experience.

There is a small outdoor patio at the diner entrance plus a larger courtyard at the rear for dining al fresco.

So don't be ashamed when you have a burger craving just make sure it is an Argentine interpretation of the American diner classic which satisfies your needs.
12
Trattoria Il Ballo del Mattone

12) 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.
13
Cabernet Restaurant

13) 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.
14
Unik

14) Unik

The upscale Unik is one of Buenos Aires' newest design destinations, restaurant and bar, all in one.

Confronted with a collection of '60s and '70s furniture that he'd amassed over three decades, Marcelo Joulia decided to open a restaurant. The French-Argentinean architect set up shop in the first floor of the building that houses the Buenos Aires arm of his international agency Naço Arquitectures in the fashionable Palermo district, turning the space into equal parts gallery and living space naming it Unik. More than thirty-five designers (mostly European) are represented among the seating, furniture, lamps, and decorative pieces.

Unik's gastronomical offerings follow Joulia's Parisian restaurant Unico and store El Gapón with its focus on Argentinean food and wine. Its kitchen, headed by Mauro Colagreco serves up hearty dishes like rib-eye steak with spinach and leg of lamb with quinoa. Sommelier Rodrigo Calderon and bartender Federico Cuco round out the menu with their expertly-mixed libations and companion wines.

Besides banquettes, diners can choose to sit at an 18-meter-long bar that divides the open kitchen from the eating area and watch as the food is being made. A garden at one end has 50-year-old palm trees, adding a touch of nature to the surroundings.
15
Social La Lechuza

15) 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.

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