Although you’ll be able to find fast-food franchises throughout Argentina, the menu here is not what you can expect from other cities in the United States nor in other English-speaking countries. We’ve gathered our know-how so you can know what to order (and how to do it).
McDonald’s, Burger King or Wendy’s? No matter: international franchises have adapted their menus to their local culinary scenes and taste. It’s a relief, for sure, to find familiar food in an unfamiliar place, and that’s what franchises give us. Everyone knows fast-food is cheap, reliable and, most of all, predictable.
A McDonald’s menu can feature sushi in Japan, pasticcieria (pastries) in Italy and Angus beef in the US. But in Argentina, where red meat is king, meat you shall get. Ice cream, meat and more ice cream topped with local ingredients are the norm.
Keep in mind that with the economic recession fast-food menus in Argentina have shrunk and kept to the bare minimum. So don’t expect a wide array of options. However, you’ll still be able to enjoy most–if not all–of the fast-food franchises’ classics.
You can find one of these franchises anywhere, of course. But you should definitely take advantage of those fast-food spots which are located inside or outside old buildings with a Parisian flare (check out our banner photo!) It’s one of the characteristics of Argentine architecture that’s not to be missed. Any shopping mall’s food court will also have any of these fast-food venues for you to enjoy.
General Tips to Avoid Disappointments When Ordering
- Always ask for ice with your drinks beforehand;
- No one at the counter will ask you to “supersize”, so ask for the size you want directly;
- Food portions are smaller than in the US;
- You can pay in cash, but only at the counter. Remember that paying for food in cash is customary in Argentina;
- Don’t worry: an electronic self-order service is available currently at most restaurants;
- The most important factor: soft drinks are not self-serve. There are no machines for Coke and other drinks, and no refills (no sneaking around for refilling, either, sorry to say.)
Fast-Food Classics in Argentina: Home is Where the Meat Is
- The classic “Hamburguesa” (hamburger): same old, same old. Bread, meat, cheese, ketchup and onions.
- Quarter pounder with cheese / double quarter pounder.
- Stacked options: Stacked burgers are all the rage in Argentina. You name the burger type, they have it. The Grand Tasty Doble and Triple are a staple; same with the McBacon.
- The chicken-based menu: The fast-food superstar, right next to red meat. Don’t expect fancy sandwiches other than the classic McChicken.
- Fries and other sides: Here you have the truly local option, which is the cheddar cheese and bacon fries, with skin.
- Desserts: Here the dulce de leche Cone and the dulce de leche Sundae are as Argentine as you can get. Setting a difference in the typical franchise menu, this dessert stands out against the Oreo/M&M McFlurry (which you can also order.) If I were you, I’d really take advantage of the opportunity and order some dulce de leche ice cream.
Also read: A Guide to Ice Cream in Buenos Aires
The Kosher McDonald’s, located in the Abasto Neighborhood inside the Abasto Shopping Mall, is the only kosher restaurant in Latin America open to the practising Jewish community.
Burger King: Fast-Food = Piles of Meat
- The Stacker: There is really no limit to making piles and piles of meat. The Stacker is a winner, a see-if-you-can-eat-me type of deal. You can order a burger with up to five patties stacked on top of one another.
- The chicken: You can order this local food option, which is the French Chicken King (King de pollo francés), made up of ham, mayonnaise and cheddar cheese (and chicken, of course.)
- The sides: Just like at McDonald’s, you’ll be able to find an Argentine variety of the fast-food sides: the cheddar-bacon fries, popular at artisanal beer joints. One thing that’s different, though, is the onion rings, which are more American than anything else. A source of comfort, so to speak.
- New Argentine options: Churros, Irresistible King with potato bread and, last but not least, a 100% vegetable burger option. Churros are a staple in the Río de la Plata; not exactly fast-food, but pretty much ideal for eating on the go. The Irresistible King is made with sweet mustard, crispy onion, a red meat patty, bacon and cheese. The 100% vegetable burger is part of an ongoing trend in Argentina that is taking place on a larger scale: vegan food options for all.
Also read: Best Vegan Restaurants in Buenos Aires
Wendy’s: Fast-Food’s Little Sister
Wendy’s has the least customers in Argentina as a fast-food franchise. However, it’s the perfect option if you want US-like fast-food. Known for it’s square hamburgers, that’s no different in Argentina. If you’re traveling with your family or in a group, Wendy’s has pretty good deals for burger combos: you can get around four combos for only a couple dollars! So, instead of listing typical Argentine fast-food staples, we’ll give you a list of US-based food for you to enjoy if you like:
- American sides: Onion Rings, chili, baked potatoes and chili-cheese fries are all great familiar options for sides. The typical Argentine restaurant side, the fried mozzarella sticks, are also available if you want something more local.
- Chicken wings: Finally, something we can work with! You might have noticed that Burger King and McDonald’s have no wings, that is, with chicken on the bone.
- The Cheddar Melt/Portobello Melt, and the Dave’s: Classic options. The Dave’s is made with the typical cheddar, red meat, tomato-lettuce. The “Melt” and its varieties have caramelized onions and melted cheddar (which is not that surprising.)
Getting Discounts and Coupons for Fast-Food Franchises in Argentina
There are some other tricks up our digital sleeves. Most of the time, you won’t be able to get much more than a two-for-one, but isn’t that good anyway? You can get discounts by downloading the McDonald’s/Burger King apps and then ordering via these apps. Some discounts are handed at the counter with a scannable code printed on.
Lastly, here’s some specific restaurant vocabulary you might want to use when ordering:
- Con hielo, por favor = Ice, please
- Sin hielo, por favor = No ice, please
- Quiero agrandar mi combo = I want to get a bigger combo
- Pago en efectivo = I’ll pay in cash
Next time you plan on visiting a no-hassle Argentine food franchise, it’ll truly be no-hassle.