Gourmet lunch options to go: Buenos Aires’ burgeoning trend

Buenos Aires’ food scene has been evolving at an unprecedented rate over the last couple of years, visible not only in the increasing breadth of dining options available, with new culinary outfits inaugurating on a weekly basis, but also with ever more sophisticated and experimental dishes and bold ingredients and culinary influences on offer.

This growing trend has extended to lunchtime options too. For years food on the hoof in Buenos AIres meant a frustratingly limited choice between bland refrigerated sandwiches de miga and empanadas or resorting to a heady cholesterol hit of minutas or slice of pizza.

Luckily, more and more options are popping up offering nutritious food to go, from healthy salads and sandwiches and soups with real depth of flavour, finally relegating those underwhelming ham and cheese pebetes to the bottom of the pile.

Here are the highlights of some of these innovative eateries in the central neighborhoods of the city, catering for the business crowd but also offering exciting take away options to satiate hunger for those out and about or sightseeing, to be enjoyed al fresco at one of the city’s picturesque parks.

TOSTADO CAFE CLUB– Av. Córdoba 1501 / 0800 555 2233

This strategically located cafe gives a new spin on the tostado, offering an upscale version with mozzarella, gruyere and parmesan. The tempting sandwich options are constantly replenished and displayed behind a glass counter. Salad options range from chicken with cashew nuts and crispy bacon, Smoked salmon with capers and a vegetarian option which doesn’t scrimp on ingredients, marrying bulgur wheat with rocket, fontina cheese, pumpkin seeds and a homemade chutney. Their great coffee can also be bought freshly ground to make at home. Each customer is given a beeper which buzzes to conveniently alert when the order is ready for collection. website

Ph: Tostado

PINK TOMATO– Reconquista 872 / 0800 555 7465

Open little less than a month, this cute new establishment offers a daily menu of hot dishes which is updated weekly, running the gamut of world cuisine from goulash and spaetzle to hot pastrami with pickles. The imaginative take-away choices available also cater for vegetarians, with the chickpea burger in a vegan seeded bun with carrot mayonnaise a triumph. Don’t pass up their portable desserts, the decadent cheesecake and chocotorta both memorable options. With an emphasis on freshness yet a solid social conscience, all food not sold by the end of the day is donated to a local NGO which distributes it to the homeless. website

pink tomato4
Ph: Pink Tomato

LA FOCACCERIA – Roque Sáenz Peña 1140 / 4382 9060

This minimally decorated chic cafe lets its food do the talking, with its specialty given away in its name. Imaginative fillings include pistachio encrusted mortadella with pesto and roasted vegetables with olive tapenade. Fresh baked ‘tartines’ such as butternut squash and seeds with a curry infused pastry cater to vegetarians, and their homemade pastry selection includes moist chocolate and carrot cake. website

Ph: La Focacceria

GREEN EAT – various locations around the city

One of the pioneers in providing healthy and flavor some take away lunch options, this enterprise has blossomed, with more and more branches opening around the city. Their salads each come with a unique dressing, and range from meat loving to vegan options. With an emphasis on organic and locally sourced seasonal ingredients, they also sell a range of high end goods such as homemade jams, granola, dried pasta, honey, premium dulce de leche and multiseed cereal bars. Their flavoured waters are sugar free and made in house, a refreshing alternative to soda. Other menu options include sushi trays, boxed stir-frys and warm savoury tarts, as well as daily soups. website

Ph: Green Eat

LOLEA – Corrientes 320 / 4393 2779

Lolea, located in the heart of the downtown district has forged a loyal following since its launch. The artisanal flagstone tiled floor and stylish displays, industrial brushed aluminium decor and slick black and white packaging has you sold before you’ve even sampled the food. Raised wooden benches and bar stool seating offer an ideal vantage point for watching the relentless activity of Corrientes Avenue outside. Breakfast options break with convention, offering inflation combos of mini bruschettas and coffee, from mashed avocado on multigrain toast with sunflower seeds, smoked salmon or jamón crudo. Homemade lemonades are sweetened just right to offset the sharpness, and lunch options range from hearty pasta and Yamani rice salads to gourmet burgers, and hot pots such as marinated mustard salmon with sweet potato mash, all purposely packaged to go. website

Ph: Lolea
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Vanessa Bell
Vanessa Bell is an Anglo-Argentine freelance lifestyle writer and trend hunter, and founder of Creme de la Creme, a personalized and bespoke shopping service showcasing the hidden gems of Buenos Aires, from emerging fashion, vintage, design and food.

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