How to eat well in Buenos Aires
Food is undoubtedly my favourite part about travelling. When you tell people you are going to Argentina one of the first things they will recommend is to try their meat. So with such high expectations, it is absolutely the worst when you are looking for a bite to eat only to find the place you chose is crap! In a huge city that is unfamiliar to most tourists this is all too common and a crisis that needs to be resolved.
How to plan your trip according to food:
If you´ve got a few weeks or months before your visit, and you have put away some cash to make sure you get the best food experience, Buenos Aires has a few good food tours. These food tours can range anywhere from the best parilla and pizzas, to the best fine dining and closed door restaurants in the city. There´s a good one in English that´s run by a local food reviewer from the United States called Pick up the Fork.
If you do not have enough money to hire a food guide and need to devise a list of places to check out, your best bet is researching the internet. Tripadvisor and yelp are ok guides but will most likely direct you to places loved by most tourist. Guía Oleo y Restarando are some websites that the locals use to rate websites and is a good way to find restaurants.
There is also the Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants which is a yearly list that features the best restaurants around the continent. The places on this list (while being a little pricey) will give you a distinct look at how some of the best chefs prepare local, seasonal ingredients in an interesting and creative way. Another good guide for food is on the website Eater which publishes restaurant guides every few months or so for Buenos Aires. There are a lot of ways to research these are a few I used to help me find that rico comida y buena onda restaurants.
How to find a good place when walking around hungry:
This is probably one of the hardest decisions for me in life. I am walking around hungry but do not want to waste my food on crap expensive meals, so how do I choose a place? In Buenos Aires this can be difficult because you are foreign and you have no idea what is good. One of the best ways to know if a place is good is if there is a lot of people eating or waiting to eat (obvious yes but probably the best way). But most places don´t open for dinner until 8, so where do you go for a feed before then? If you are looking for a good place for dinner before 8, the best thing to do is to find a bar having happy hour and wait until 8. But let us say you have a show or something later that evening and have to eat before. Pizza is pretty hard to mess up and is usually available in most areas and at most times, other options are medialunas or facturas from a panaderia (as well as empanadas), bars that do happy hour usually offer some type of food as well and most of the nicer bars have a pretty decent menu, and if all else fails to find something there is one thing that every Argentinian place does well and that´s ice cream! (it is not dinner but it is damn good!)
How to find the best food in the many ferias around BA?
There are a lot of ferias and markets around buenos aires a lot of these sell some pretty awesome food! A general rule of thumb for me is if they have a line to get food it must be good. But, I always look to see how many people are in the kitchen, because even though they might have a huge line it might be because they only have one guy preparing everything. Especially when it comes to parrillas it is best to look for places that have a few people working and a lot of meat over the charcoal. If they are selling empanadas and they are keeping them in a chilly bin or cooler to keep them hot, you are gambling, I prefer to buy the ones that I can see them being fried there at the stall. When it comes to tortas y boudins (cakes and puddings) it is best to see a wide variety available and a few abuelas having a good time in the stall. Fiambres and quesos is a bit difficult, usually, they offer you samples of what they are selling which is a great way to tell, if they do not and you still want to buy something, they usually sell combos which are sure to have something you will enjoy.
To put it briefly if there is a line, you will find something good! Argentinians love lining up, especially for good food.