Getting breakfast in Buenos Aires can be a strange experience for travelers new to the city. There is no omelettes, bacon, sausage, pancakes, in fact breakfast as some of us know, it barely exists at all. In the United States, for example, it is taught that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and it is not uncommon for people to wake up early to prepare breakfast or spend long weekend mornings going out and enjoying a grand and massive brunch with friends and family.
In Buenos Aires it is quite the opposite. A traditional breakfast in Argentine homes is very light and usually consists of instant coffee or yerba mate accompanied with small toasts or cookies. Breakfast is far from the sacred tradition it is in other countries, however they do have their typical breakfast food and trends.
Here are the porteño breakfast items that you’ll most likely encounter when having breakfast in a traditional restaurant/café. There are the famous and delicious medialunas, which are similar to croissants and are the most common. They come in 2 types: dulce (sweet)/de manteca (butter) or salada (“salty”)/de grasa (of vegetable oil). Then, there are tostadas, which are toasts usually served with queso crema y mermelada (soft cream cheese and jam) or jamón y queso (ham and cheese). Finally, one wonderful part about breakfast in Buenos Aires is that it is totally acceptable to eat facturas (pastries) for breakfast. On every corner there are panaderías (bakeries) selling decadent facturas with jam filling, custard filling, chocolate, dulce de leche and as much sugar as you need to start your day off with a nice sugar rush.
As far as beverages, coffee, like most of the world, is a popular option. However, if you are dining for breakfast at a traditional Argentine café, expect espresso (not brewed coffee) or for something a little lighter order café con leche (espresso with steamed milk). Another treat that most Argentine cafés offer is fresh squeezed orange juice. Many of them offer breakfast promotions such as “dos medialunas, café y jugo de naranja”.
Finally, in the past couple of years during the marvelous food revolution that has been occurring in Buenos Aires, more culinary variety has been introduced to the previously redundant food scene. For those who still savor a full-on breakfast experience especially on the weekends, here are some good places to get your fix from the basic bacon and eggs and pancakes to fancier ones like breakfast burrito and croque monsieur:
Oui Oui – Nicaragua 6068, Palermo Hollywood (www.ouioui.com.ar)
Malvón – Serrano 789, Palermo Soho (www.malvonba.com.ar)
Cafe Crespin – Vera 699, Villa Crespo (www.cafecrespin.com.ar)
La Crespo – Thames 612, Palermo Soho (www.lacrespo.com) – they are more like a bakery/deli, no egg dishes but they have smoked salmon bagel with cream cheese and hot pastrami sandwich.
Magdalena’s Party – Thames 1795, Palermo Soho (www.magdalenasparty.com)
Pani – Nicaragua 6044, Palermo Hollywood (www.pani.com.ar)