There’s something about eating or drinking “al aire libre” (in the open air) that makes everything taste just a little bit better. Restaurant, café and bar goers in Buenos Aires have a special affinity for outdoor dining, whether high on a rooftop, secluded in a garden, relishing a flower-filled terrace, or people-watching on a tree-lined sidewalk. Make the most of the sweltering South American summer days by getting down and dirty with some outdoor dining in Buenos Aires.
Restaurateur, sommelier and consultant Aldo Graziani of Aldo’s Vinoteca fame talks to Andrew Catchpole about a life immersed in Argentinian wine. Q: What sparked your love of wine? Aldo: “In Argentina the wine culture is very old, you grow up with wine in your house every day…”
A traditional Argentine Sunday lunch is a two-course affair. The first course consists of white bread, sausages, chimichurri, black pudding, grilled cheese, chitterlings, sweetbreads, ribs, various steak cuts, potato salad and, if anyone has room for it, some dressed lettuce. The second course is fruit salad. Unless you’re a vegetarian or recovering from bariatric surgery, this is one of the world’s great meals.
“Help! I’m a vegetarian in Argentina and I may throw myself off La Boca’s Transbordador bridge if I have to eat another ensalada mixta.” If you’re a non-meateater in one of the most carnivorous countries in the world, you know what I am talking about. There are good days (falafel from Sarkis) and bad days (when you ravenously create make-shift chimichurri sandwiches from the parrilla bread basket).
Contrary to popular belief, Argentine food isn’t always about steaks, empanadas and pizzas – some diversity does exist. A huge number of different ethnicities are represented in Buenos Aires’ cultural make-up – and where there’s people, there’s food. A whistle-stop culinary world tour is possible without leaving the capital.
Buenos Aires is known as the city for epicureans – which is another way of saying it has posh nosh in spades (not actual spades, more like ramekins). With its sublime surroundings, wine lists suitable for aristocrats and plates so glam they have their own paparazzi, the capital’s top restaurants are the most cutting-edge in the southern hemisphere. From elegant hotel dining rooms to upmarket rooftop eateries with superb views, it’s got decadence down – especially in Palermo…
It’s easy to get carried away with the stereotypical image of Argentina as the land of red meat, but there is far more to Argentine cuisine than empanadas and steak. Which is obvious when you think of the ingredients that make up this country – Hispanic, pre-colonial and endless waves of immigrants, all mixed together in a rich stew. Scratch a little deeper and you will uncover all kinds of other influences. The country’s modern chefs have drawn on regional dishes beyond the Pampa and its famous grass-fed beef cattle…
It is well known that the riverside-dwelling people of Buenos Aires have a blind spot when it comes to fish. So, what is an omega-3-deficient fish-lover supposed to do in the city? Thankfully, It’s not all bad news. Fish is – excuse the pun – catching on. Or at least, it is in a handful of neighbourhoods frequented by foreigners and more adventurous locals. Read on to find out about the best places to get fresh fish and best pescatarian meals!
It is estimated that up to 25 million Argentines can trace their family roots back to Italy and so it is no surprise that, aside from the great asado, the country’s most popular cuisine takes its influence from this part of the world. One of the great things about Buenos Aires is the abundance of fresh pasta – in supermarkets, listed on the chalkboard at your local bodegón, or in your neighbourhood pasta store.
When porteños need to escape the city smog, they head to Cariló, Argentina’s ‘green sand dune’ (its meaning in the Mapuche language). Breezy and easy to get to, Cariló is a top Argentina travel destination and the country’s most exclusive summer resort, a green lung which is a small slice of paradise: a pine forest next to the beach.