Argentinean breakfast: tostadas and medialunas

‘Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.’ So they say. Although here’s betting that ‘they’ aren’t Argentinian.

In Argentina, breakfast is a thoroughly simple affair. The options rarely, if ever, move beyond the two key staples: tostadas (toast) or medialunas. They’ll be served with coffee and orange juice. Anywhere serving anything extravagant – including yogurt or fruit – or any form of cooked eggs is catering to tourists.

Argentina Food: Churros & Media Lunas
Churros (left) and medialunas (right) – Photograph by Gorski

If you’re a newcomer to the country and speak limited Spanish, an Argentinian breakfast can be the most satisfying meal of the day. There will be no complicated menus to decipher and no taxing questions. Your waiter will probably only ask one thing and to this the answer will be either ‘manteca’ (butter) or ‘grasa’ (vegetable fat), in reference to the two styles of media lunas on offer. Preempting the question is a shortcut to feeling that you’re down with the local way of life. Other than that you need only know that manteca versions are sweeter and fatter, and manteca does not mean lard here as it does in other Spanish-speaking countries.

The best places to enjoy a true Argentinian breakfast are Buenos Aires’s most traditional cafes. Classic spots include La Biela in Recoleta, a former hangout of writer Jorge Luis Borges, or El Federal in San Telmo, which dates back to 1864. You could also sip your morning coffee on the stage of a converted theatre at the Ateneo Grand Splendid, which has been given an even more splendid second life as a bookshop.

Librerias de Buenos Aires
Librerias de Buenos Aires – Photograph by Guillermo Tomoyose

At the weekends, breakfast in Argentina is just as quick and simple, presumably so as not to take up valuable asado space. If you crave a more substantial Sunday brunch, try Oui Oui, an exceedingly popular French café, or Olsen, where the menu takes Scandinavian twist and includes homemade bagels and a glass of champagne. Olsen takes reservations; Oui Oui doesn’t, so put your name on the list and kill the time with a stroll around the residential streets of Palermo Hollywood. In Palermo Soho, you’ll also find some more American-style cafes, such as Mark’s Deli and Baraká, which do a fine line in smoothies and muffins.

Argentina Food: Facturas
A selection of facturas – Photograph by Koluso

If you prefer to go DIY, you can stock up on media lunas and various other pastries at any bakery. Often filled with dulce de leche or drizzled with chocolate, they are known collectively as ‘facturas’ and they cost around a peso each. At home you can also go truly Argentinian and swap the coffee for yerba mate.

If you miss breakfast because you’ve been taking too much advantage of the nightlife, fear not. Merienda (afternoon tea) is basically a repeat run.

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Vicky Baker
For five years, journalist Vicky Baker was Buenos Aires's stalker. She randomly turned up on its doorstep whenever she could, kept track of all its movements and felt seethingly jealous if anyone else made a move. Finally in 2008, she took the plunge and made the city her base. From here, she writes for the Guardian, Time Out, Reuters, Sunday Times Travel Magazine and others. In here spare time she also writes a travel blog – – and gets over her inadequacies as a non-steak-eating, non tango-dancing wannabe porteña by drinking lots of Malbec.

9 responses to “Argentinean breakfast: tostadas and medialunas

  1. i want to taste one of the delicious meals cause i haven't tried it and they seem yummy yummy

  2. i want to taste one of the delicious meals cause i haven't tried it and they seem yummy yummy

  3. Evaluna56 says:

    quiero amigos rosarinos escribir a maria rosa tengo 56 anos vivo en usa y soy soltera
    [email protected]

  4. […] breakfast” , which features eggs, steak and “Argentinian-style sausages”. Argentinians – as I’ve noted before – simply don’t do breakfast. When I cook a cheese-and-onion omelette for brunch in Buenos […]

  5. […] Breakfast for Argentinians is a simple affair, compared to the American breakfast.  Breakfast for Argentinians typically consists of toast (tostadas) or their version of croissant (medialunas) served with coffee and orange juice. (Source) […]

  6. byron says:

    nasty food

  7. byron says:

    uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh this

  8. Andy says:

    Uggggg I need MORE!!!! Spanish class requires SO MANY DISHES TO WRITE DOWN

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