Whether you’re a business luncher, a lady who lunches, a lucky lad of leisure or a late riser who needs to eat your hangover away, whatever your midday circumstance may be, Buenos Aires is heaving with lunch promo specials. Known locally as the menú del día (daily menu) or menus ejecutivos (executive menus), during weekdays restaurants are offering daily set menus, usually including a variation of a starter, main course, dessert and a drink. While many of these restaurants cost a hefty dinner price, lunchtime specials make for the ideal opportunity to visit new, tasty hot spots and eat like a king for a fraction of the price. Skip your noon empanada, soggy ham and cheese miga sandwich or milanesa napolitana routine and come hunger time, get your lunch on – executive style.
Award winning Italian-born chef Leonardo Fumarola whips up authentic yet creative wonders at this Palermo Viejo homey spot. A top Italian restaurant in the city, L’adesso’s lunch specials are truly a midday force to be reckoned with, serving dishes like eggplant Parmesan, butternut squash ravioli with butter and sage or fettuccine al pomodoro. The menu includes dessert and water. $$
A poster on the wall at L’adesso; photo by Allie Lazar.
A Southeast Asian restaurant with a whole lot of spice, Sudestada has continued to offer a solid lunch special for years, despite soaring inflation. With an interactive hole-punching menu, choose from a pair of appetizers (usually soup, salad or dumplings), five different main courses and a drink (wine included!), or pay a few pesos more to add on coffee and dessert. The Bo Xao beef with vegetables and crunchy fried onion never disappoints, while the Thai noodles are a vegetarian’s lunchtime dream. Spicy food fanatics: don’t forget to punch the picante hole. $$
Punching a hole in the lunch menu at Sudestada; photo by Allie Lazar.
The newest Peruvian-Japanese fusion hot spot joins BA’s top dining club, Mullu’s excellent lunch special includes a starter, main dish, dessert and glass of wine, and costs less than half the price of their regular menu. Creative and well-presented dishes abound the menu, which changes each week, including house favorites: Tiradito KON Passion starter, a salmon sashimi drenched in a sweet and sour passion fruit sauce and served with plump sautéed prawns or the Papillote de lenguado, filets of flounder marinated in a ginger-garlic butter and served with Peruvian mashed potatoes. $$$
The interior at Mullu; photo by Allie Lazar.
El Colmado’s chef shows off his Michelin star restaurant experience skills in this small corner spot behind the US Embassy. There are a handful of lunch specials featured daily, which include a drink and dessert or coffee. The eclectic menu always has a sandwich of the day, plus an array of dishes from a gourmet hamburger to caramelized butternut squash and cheese quesadillas to a prawn risotto with herbs. $$
The menu at El Colmado; photo courtesy of El Colmado.
Here’s a San Telmo two for one: owned by Argentina’s Japanese association, both Comedor Nikkai and Shokudo are frequented by Japanese food aficionados and members of the Japanese community. Choose between a sushi lunch special, or opt for an authentic hot meal that changes regularly, like tempura udon noodle soup, tonkatsu, yakisoba or yakitori. Since both restaurants are located inside buildings and not visible from the street, make sure to remember the address. $$
The trendy PoHo parrilla offers a killer food fest with a selection of over 100 different lunch menu combinations: how about starting with Miranda‘s perfectly fried beef empanada or a plate of polenta cake with grilled vegetables before moving on to some meat off the grill (with a side), pasta or a hearty regional dish? $$
Fried empanada starter at Miranda; photo by Allie Lazar.
There aren’t many Buenos Aires restaurants with a view, but perched on the twelfth floor of the Danish building overlooking the Rio de la Plata, the Danish Club has been a lunchtime classic for nearly two decades. They offer wonderful Nordic-influenced specials that include a main dish, drink and coffee, like ultra fresh fish dishes or pork meatballs with creamy mashed potatoes. $$
Famed Argentine chef Hernán Gipponi opens up his restaurant in the Fierro Hotel midday for a three-course tasting menu that changes seasonally. Since the menu includes dishes available on the elaborate dinner menu, this is the perfect chance for the less hungry to try a cliff note version. Order standout dishes like an egg cooked at 63 degrees and baked with Turkish lentils as a starter, lamb ravioli as a main and the one-of-a-kind passion fruit granita with a yogurt foam, lychee and candied pumpkin seeds. $$$
Hernan Gipponi’s yogurt mousse dessert; photo by Allie Lazar.
Just because you are on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t afford some good, homestyle Peruvian food. A no frills neighborhood spot, La Rica Vicky‘s menú del día that includes chicken soup, a main dish and glass of the sweet Peruvian purple drink chicha morada will barely put a dent in your wallet with insanely cheap prices. Since this menu special is somewhat kept on the down low, make sure to speak up and order wisely. $
A restaurant treasure steps away from Parque Lezama in San Telmo, Caseros serves Argentine bodegón classics with a chic modern twist. Upon entering the naturally lit minimally décor-ed restaurant it’s apparent that the main focus is on the food. Each table centerpieces vibrant-colored ingredients, while an upstairs loft spotlights crates full of fresh produce. The daily lunch specials typically include a starter and a main course, featuring homemade pastas, fish and meat dishes. The second best thing beyond the ambiance and food: the scrumptious freshly baked breadbasket with whole wheat, focaccia or crusty country bread. $$
Caseros bread basket; photo by Allie Lazar.
A pioneer in the Buenos Aires brunch world, this stylish French spot on tree-lined Nicaragua street offers a daily special that includes soup, a main course, dessert and lemonade or wine. If a brunch-like lunch is more your style, Oui Oui offers their breakfast menu all day long, you can never go wrong ordering the Tony: eggs Benedict, toast, roasted potatoes, mixed greens and tea or coffee. $
Oui Oui Tony special; photo by Allie Lazar.
Let’s take it back to the basics with one of BA’s greatest, most underrated, neighborhood steakhouses. Lo de Paka has been around for a while, serving standard parrilla items, in an exceptional way. The bife de lomo (tenderloin steak) can do you no wrong, especially when it’s served with a side of mashed potatoes, butternut squash or salad, and your choice of drink. Add only a few extra pesos onto the bill and you got yourself some dessert or a coffee. $$
$ = 45 pesos and under
$$ = 50 – 90 pesos
$$$ = 90 -150 pesos
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