It’s safe to say that Buenos Aires is very much my personal ‘happy place’ when it comes to most big cities in the world. The people, the atmosphere, the nightlife, the variety – it’s almost like visiting 5 different cities simultaneously. But for me, big old B.A really comes into it’s own in one particular area; its plethora of abhorrently good steakhouses.
In my two visits I’ve certainly given a sterling effort in trying to cover off as many of them as possible, but here are a few of my favourites for some bite-size (see what I did there?) reading.
Des Nivel, Defensa 855, San Telmo
Old faithful. Upon arriving in BA during my first trip in 2014 we were recommended the ever ready Des Nivel for our first local steak eating experience and boy was it a good start. As you enter, there is a huge open grill on your left hand side with a mind boggling variety of cuts of beef. The décor is minimal with an almost Italian café vibe, and heavily leans towards famous Argentine footballers – with collections of framed pictures and photos scattered along the walls. The staff are super friendly and cannot do enough to help, and on both occasions ive eaten here we’ve been welcomed in as if we were part of the family. Their Bife de Chorizo is not to be messed with, standing at around 3-4 inches tall and the length of a dinner plate. The menu is seemingly endless – for both food and wine – and a small selection of sides normally is sufficient. We opted for creamed spinach, fries, and pumpkin mash, although we probably could have done without the additional carbs from the chips. An absolute must see whilst in BA, a local institution.
Las Cabras, Fitz Roy 1795, Palermo
More like a social club for the young, trendy, and hungry locals than a Parrilla, La Cabras is a big open restaurant with seating both inside and outside set in the heart of hip Palermo district of the city. The table settings maintain a traditional feel yet the whole place is run with a very modern drive. An open plan layout makes it perfect for groups of friends to come here almost any night of the week, although be prepared to wait a little while, due to the seemingly constant hoards of people waiting to be seated whilst they enjoy a drink or two outside. The food itself isn’t quite to the same level as some of it’s esteemed counterparts in the city, but the portions are more than hearty. I opted for a Bife de Lomo platter, which came with a generous selection of sides including sweet potato, roasted onions, fries and a variety of vegetables. Get here early if you’re in a rush or heading for a night out afterwards, or alternatively be prepared to eat like a true ‘Porteno’ anywhere between the 11pm or 1am mark.
La Cabrera, Jose Antonio Cabrera 5099, Palermo
I’m not just choosing restaurants because they sound a bit similar, I promise, but if you’re still reading I’m glad you’ve got this far because La Cabrera is well worth the wait. Situated on a street of a similar name and within a stones throw of it’s 2 x sister restaurants, the black façade outside could mean you easily miss this little gem. Decked out with a very modern feel inside, and with waiters ready and poised to tend to your every need, you feel like the bar has been raised fairly quickly once you head to your table. Worth noting early on too, they have a ‘Happy Hour’ all week running between 7pm-8pm – where diners are entitled to 40% off heir entire bill. I’ll just repeat that, 40% off all food and wine. This naturally brings more of a backpacker crowd during those hours, but also a healthy mix of locals too. Be warned though, arrive early to ensure you don’t miss out on a table as queues can form quickly. The prices outside of those hours are top end, which certainly match the top end food on offer, so those on a budget be aware. The wine list is nothing short of sensational, with an array of Malbecs and Cabernet Savinguons from all over Argentina and beyond, plus plenty more. The menu for steak is simple and extensive. When the meat arrives it is cooked to absolute perfection, my Bife de Chorizo was crispy and full of flavour on the outside, and juicy and medium rare on the inside. One of the more unusual sides we were given was a cheesy creamed sweetcorn, which was also fantastic. A table full of very happy backpackers, and a restaurant I will not be forgetting in a hurry.