Best steak restaurants in Buenos Aires, Argentina (2024)

This article was produced by National Geographic Traveller (UK).

Vast, flat pampas fan out to the north, west and south of Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires. These are the pastures on which world-class Hereford, Brangus and Aberdeen Angus cattle have long been raised. Argentina is one of the world’s steak hotspots, with grass-fed beef and all its trimmings taking centre stage at dining tables and backyard barbecues around the country; indeed, each Argentine devoured an average of 116.6lbs of meat in 2023.

Buenos Aires (the province as well as the city) is the epicentre of this carnivorous culture. A love for open-fire cooking and a tradition of outdoor dining means preparing an asado (barbecue) at home is a perennially popular weekend pursuit, while there are hundreds of parrillas (steak houses) to work your way through. These range from humble, family-run joints to five-star hotel restaurants grilling up the full Monty of choripán sausage sandwiches, sweetbreads, short ribs, entraña (skirt steak), ribeye and flank. Just remember to order a juicy bottle of Argentinian Malbec to pair with your bovine banquet.

1.La Carnicería

For new-school innovation

When chef Pedro Peña and his business partner Germán Sitz conceived La Carnicería, the central idea was to open an unapologetically meat-driven parrilla. Not surprising, seeing that Sitz — who comes from a family of Jewish immigrant cattle farmers — was born and raised in La Pampa province (fondly known as La Carni) and sources grass-raised beef exclusively from his family estate Los Abuelos. Step into the establishment, located in the vibrant Palermo Soho neighbourhood, and you’re met with live fire cooking fuelled by red quebracho logs, and a rather graphic blown-up photo of beef caracasses hanging up in an abattoir. It’s a tight squeeze in this hugely popular spot; the best place to sit is at the buzzing kitchen counter to soak up the ambience by getting close to the fiery action and see the steak first grilled then sliced up right in front of you.

One of Colombian chef Peña’s signature dishes is a massive smoked and grilled portion of bife de chorizo. This Argentinian steak cut is similar to a New York strip and is served on the bone alongside wooden platters with creamy pumpkin puree and seasonal greens. Many star ingredients are prepared in-house, such as the chorizo — served as part of a delightful brunch dish that includes peas, a fried egg and new potatoes (a preferred hangover meal) — and a morcilla that stands a good chance of converting anyone with an aversion to offal, thanks to the addition of apple, white beans and huacatay (Peruvian black mint), which give the humble blood sausage a new lease of life. Besides steak, the menu usually includes a number of pork, lamb and boar dishes, depending on the season.

La Carnicería opened in 2015 and gets a mention in Michelin’s guide for Argentina, which debuted in 2023. In March, the duo behind the restaurant opened a second parrilla, José El Carnicero (their eighth restaurant), “to give La Carni a little competition”, says Sitz.

2.Parrilla Don Julio

For an award-winning experience

Best steak restaurants in Buenos Aires, Argentina (2)

Pablo Rivero was just 20 when he threw what little savings he had, along with some financial backing from his grandmother and father, into a steakhouse. Parrilla Don Julio opened in Palermo, then a down-at-heel Buenos Aires neighbourhood, shortly before Argentina was plunged into economic turmoil in 2001. It’s a testament to the clarity of his vision and the unerring quality of the food that, today, the steakhouse regularly features on best-of lists. Indeed, it was crowned Best Restaurant in Latin America in 2020’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants listing. Palermo, meanwhile, has become one of the trendiest barrios to dine in.

The mission has always been to celebrate Argentine traditions and culture. Rivero says: “My grandfather was a butcher and livestock producer, my father followed in his footsteps and I was the son who needed to forge a future. We joined forces, bringing our ambitions and experiences to the table, to ensure that I could have a parrilla using the beef we raised.” His mother, Graciela, managed the till for many years, dad Enrique still sources products from around Argentina and his eldest son, Facundo, works as a waiter during university breaks.

Besides serving fantastic, grass-fed skirt steak and bife de chorizo, executive chef Guido Tassi and his team create seasonal menus; in summer, expect a rainbow array of heirloom tomatoes, while asparagus makes an appearance in spring. Sommelier Rivero, meanwhile, presides over some of Argentina’s most legendary and oldest wine cellars.

3.Los Talas del Entrerriano

For a meal with no frills

Few things stir Argentinean emotions quite as much as meat being cooked over a fire-pit. Sprawling Los Talas del Entrerriano, located in the unassuming town of José León Suárez, is a low-key and authentic campo (countryside) establishment predicated on this concept. A 30-minute drive from the capital, this cavernous restaurant is beloved by locals and regularly gathers 450 diners under its roof at any one time.

Los Talas is the epitome of no-frills dining. You have to arrive early to bag a wooden table — just after midday is ideal. You should also go hungry, and be sure to order the vacío (flank steak) and the lechón (roast pork) with chips. The enormous size of the iron grills, the dozens of cross spits (one of Argentina’s oldest and most traditional cooking methods) slowly roasting racks of ribs and whole pork, and the towering wall of logs hint at what’s to come. Be prepared to bib up before picking up the huge on-the-bone cuts from the metal platter and devouring. While chunky deep-fried beef empanadas and a token lettuce-and-tomato salad are available as well, this is also one of the best places to be schooled in achuras (offal).

4. El Pobre Luis

For tradition — with a twist

Porteños (residents of Buenos Aires) usually head to the buzzing Chinatown sub-district to shop for otherwise hard-to-find Asian fruits and vegetables and dine at one of the many Japanese and Chinese restaurants. One of the unexpected gems in this corner of Belgrano is the El Pobre Luis steakhouse. Back in 1986, Uruguay-born cook Luis Acuña and his wife María Battista opened a rotisserie selling spit-roasted chickens and suckling pigs to serve as the centrepieces of wedding banquets; six years later, they opened their first restaurant.

Despite Acuña applying his know-how mainly to beef, the star dish quickly became the classic Uruguayan pamplona, a mouth-watering and hearty concoction of either chicken breast, pork or fillet steak stuffed with mozzarella, bacon and peppers then wrapped a la tela (covered in a layer of caul fat). This singular dish is what makes El Pobre Luis stand out from traditional Argentine grills; other favourites include delicately grilled liver and kidney, also a la tela, Uruguayan specialities not frequently seen on Buenos Aires menus. And, while many porteño parrillas use charcoal to create the heat, only native quebracho and espinillo woods are used here.

When Acuña passed away in 2013, his son Liber, along with his siblings, took over the reins. They continue to pay tribute to their father’s cooking as well as his love for sports — Uruguayan football memorabilia, from jerseys to signed photos deck the walls and ceiling. The pace is fast and friendly and it’s a great spot for meals with the whole family, especially football-mad kids. Today, Argentine grill master Pedro Alcides Sosa leads the kitchen, searing steaks to perfection.

Best steak restaurants in Buenos Aires, Argentina (3)

5.Nuestro Secreto

For a sophisticated setting

Award-winning architecture and a secret garden make for a distinctive dining experience in the up-market Recoleta neighbourhood. Diners sit inside a glass atrium at this restaurant within the Four Seasons Hotel Buenos Aires, which is home to fire pits for spit-roasting whole sides of meat, a clay oven for baking empanadas and open-flame grills.

Patricia Ramos, one of the few women chefs heading up a parrilla in a male-dominated industry and the only woman to run a five-star restaurant in Buenos Aires, is deeply passionate about the work that goes into authentic Argentine barbecue. “I love to prepare asado, preparing the entire rack of ribs in brine before hanging it on the cross spit and cooking over a slow quebracho-log-burning fire for four or five hours,” she says. “It’s a slow process but it’s always worth the effort because of the resulting tenderness and smoky aromas.”

Lunch or dinner here is a feast of sensory pleasures — not least carving through buttery ribeye with an enormous, specially designed steak knife as smoke billows around the elegant glass pavilion, whose roof and walls unfold to create a captivating outdoor dining experience. Sunday lunchtime is one of the best times to go, when the city’s well-heeled denizens enjoy asado with all the trimmings. Don’t forget to slather on Ramos’s chimichurri sauce, served with every steak.

Published in the Latin America Collection 2024, distributed with the May 2024 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK).

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Best steak restaurants in Buenos Aires, Argentina (2024)


Best steak restaurants in Buenos Aires, Argentina? ›

Don Julio - a cathedral for carnivores in fantastic Buenos Aires. After ranking Parrilla Don Julio 2nd for the past 2 years, we are proud to present Don Julio as the 2023 winner of the World's 101 Best Steak Restaurants.

Where is the best steak in Argentina? ›

Don Julio - a cathedral for carnivores in fantastic Buenos Aires. After ranking Parrilla Don Julio 2nd for the past 2 years, we are proud to present Don Julio as the 2023 winner of the World's 101 Best Steak Restaurants.

How much is a good steak dinner in Buenos Aires? ›

Even at the pre-eminent restaurants in Buenos Aires, a steak usually runs no more than $20 to $35, and a bottle of Malbec, usually under $25. In other words, you can eat and drink pretty darn well in the Argentine capital for less than you'd pay for a single New York Sirloin at Keen's Steakhouse.

How do you ask for steak in Argentina? ›

Luckily there are predominantly only three cooking temperatures: Jugoso (medium rare), al punto (medium well), and bien cocido (well done). If you want to order a very rare steak, you're going to have to make a strong effort to emphasize “jugoso” by saying “bien bien jugoso”.

What is the most popular cut of steak in Argentina? ›

Bife de chorizo (sirloin steak/strip steak): This muscle does little to no work, so it is really tender, which makes it one of the most praised local cuts.

What is filet mignon called in Argentina? ›

Argentina is known for steak. People from around the world come to Argentina to enjoy delicious steak grilled on a Parilla, which is the name given to an Argentinian open-fire grill. One of the most sought-after cuts of beef is bife de lomo.

Do restaurants in Buenos Aires accept US dollars? ›

Exchanging money in Argentina

While some restaurants and shops do accept dollars and Euros (there'll usually be a sign with their rate, usually at the counter), they're the exception rather than the rule. Cash is king, so you will need to exchange that foreign currency for pesos.

What kind of steak is Argentina known for? ›

Entraña (Skirt Steak)

The Entraña cut is one of the most popular among locals. It's cut very thinly, and while not as tender as the other cuts it's packed with flavour. It's also one of the least expensive cuts, so a good choice for those who plan to eat Argentinian steak every day on their trip.

Do Argentinians eat a lot of steak? ›

Argentina is known for its love of steak, and for good reason. Not only is it delicious, but it also has a range of nutritional benefits that make it an important part of the local diet.

What is the most famous meat in Argentina? ›

Bife de Chorizo, a thick and juicy sirloin steak, is one of Argentina's most beloved dishes. Contrary to what its name might suggest, this dish does not contain any chorizo sausage. Instead, "chorizo" refers to the cut of the beef, known elsewhere as a strip steak.

What are steakhouses called in Argentina? ›

The steakhouse or parrilla grill in Buenos Aires

Parrilla is the metal grill where the meat is slowly cooked on carbon. Also, parrilla is the name for restaurants that cook meat on the grill. Argentines take their time when it comes to cooking the meat.

How do you say steakhouse in Argentina? ›

Parrilla” means grill, and refers to the actual open-fire hearth and grates where meat is cooked. It also translates to “steakhouse,” or more fittingly, any establishment — from fine dining to street cart — that specializes in grilled meats.

What is a typical breakfast in Argentina? ›

A traditional Argentinian breakfast usually comprises facturas (pastries) or tostadas (toast), served with spreads such as jam and cream cheese. Although Argentina is not a coffee-producing country, coffee is a popular drink to start the day with, as is fresh orange juice.

What are the top 3 foods in Argentina? ›

What 5 Foods Is Argentina Best Known For?
  1. Asado. Certainly, if we're talking about Argentina's most famous food, we have to mention the “Asado”! ...
  2. Empanadas. ...
  3. Dulce de leche. ...
  4. Alfajores. ...
  5. Milanesa.
Mar 6, 2024

What time is dinner served in Argentina? ›

Dinner is actually the wrong term in Argentina. Since dinner is usually happening after 10 pm you should better call it a midnight meal. Enjoying the last meal of the day earlier is unthinkable for Argentines; on the weekends they eat even later.

Does Argentina have the best steak? ›

Argentina is a mecca for meat-lovers, with many claiming the country has the very best steak in the world. But what makes it so good? From the grass-fed Pampas cows to the unique beef cuts and special Asado cooking techniques, Argentinian steak is a work of art from start to finish.

What is the beef capital of Argentina? ›

How Buenos Aires – beef capital of the world – is having a vegetarian makeover. In Argentina, meat is much more than a foodstuff.

Is steak popular in Argentina? ›

Argentina is known for its love of steak, and for good reason. Not only is it delicious, but it also has a range of nutritional benefits that make it an important part of the local diet. One of the key benefits of steak is its high protein content.


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