Above: Dining room, El Preferido, Buenos Aires - ANDREW HARPER EDITOR

Dining Discoveries in Buenos Aires

Dining room, El Preferido - Andrew Harper editor

The first time I visited Buenos Aires decades ago, I came with vegan friends! As much as the waiters were flummoxed by requests of “no queso, no leche and no carne,” the chefs accepted the challenge and cooked them wonderful meals. We developed a taste for Fernet-Branca, tried mate for the first time and brought home a jarra de pingüino, the classic Argentine wine decanter. We fell in love with the city, even if we hadn’t experienced the famous Argentine parrilla, with its copious asado (barbecue).

Beef is of course a main attraction here, but the Italian influence in restaurants is everywhere. More than 60% of the population has Italian roots, and menus reflect that, with milanesas, fritto mistos, pizzas and pastas on offer. Porteños have a deep love for food, which is another reason we love this place so much, because so do we. Here are three restaurants we enjoyed on this visit (without our vegan friends in tow).

El Burladero

Potatoes, aioli and hot paprika, El Burladero

We were lucky to stumble upon El Burladero, a popular Spanish restaurant in Recoleta, and luckier still to get one of the few tables left during the weekday lunch rush. Amid whitewashed brick walls emblazoned with flags and memorabilia from Spain, formally attired waiters delivered three types of smoky-sweet pimentón to our table. Hefty portions of Iberian favorites in various forms followed: cod croquetas, tortillas, omelets and seafood starters featuring squid, shrimp and octopus. Among the standouts were the open-faced montaditos topped with smoked butter, anchovies and roasted peppers and a memorable prawn salad with minced onions and peppers, trout roe and quail eggs. Various paellas and fideuàs come portioned for two or four people. El Burladero is a local favorite where waiters don’t speak much English — an authentic touch of Spain in the heart of Buenos Aires.

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Above: Dining room, El Preferido, Buenos Aires - ANDREW HARPER EDITOR

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