La Flor de Barracas
Back in the day, rail workers used to head here to settle their differences in knife fights. It was known as La Puñalada, or “The Stabbing,” and it went on to become a neighborhood restaurant for the proletariat, which it remains today. Swing by for some great coffee and a medialuna, a sweet crescent roll.
BTW: If you overslept, don’t worry: The restaurant is also great for lunch and dinner — when you might be surprised by a tango show.
La Flor de Barracas, Suárez 2095. Buenos Aires, Argentina
Start your day in a relaxed atmosphere with cool music and decorations, excellent service and plenty of food options. Order the No. 4 and enjoy scrambled eggs with bacon, homemade bread, granola, yogurt, orange juice and coffee or tea. And the best part? You can enjoy your meal on the patio.
BTW: This spot is only a couple of blocks from the busy Cabildo Avenue. Walk off your meal by exploring.
Sántal Cafe, Virrey del Pino 2235, Belgrano, Buenos Aires, Argentina
In the backyard of Puerto Madero, this joint stands out among several barbecue options in the area. It offers the best in Argentine meat, served with traditional sauces like chimichurri and salsa criolla.
BTW: Ask Henry or Seba to make you a choripán, an incredible grilled chorizo sausage sandwich. Trust me.
Parrilla El Chiribín, Av. Int. Hernan M. Giralt 80, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Just-made empanadas are served up alongside northern regional plates like tamales and locro (stew) in this friendly, not-too-pricey restaurant located in the affluent Recoleta neighborhood. Eating here, according to a phrase written on the tablecloths, is a “cultural act.”
BTW: Make sure to order the torta rogel, a dessert made of crispy, thin pastry layers served with dulce de leche and topped with meringue.
El Sanjuanino, Posadas 1515. Buenos Aires, Argentina
With so many dining options in San Telmo, this corner cafe isn’t really on the radar. With a literary theme — hence the name, “the poetry” — the decor honors “the good old days.” There’s an antique collection of bottles and cans, a portrait gallery of distinguished Argentine writers and an amazing wooden bar top. Oh, and the food is incredible.
BTW: Dig into la picada — finger food that includes different types of bread, cheeses and cold cuts like salami, mortadella, ham, pork sausage and more. Pair it all with a fine local Malbec. What a combination.
La Poesía, Chile 502. Buenos Aires, Argentina
(Abel Escudero Zadrayec)
This former buffet for rail workers has been transformed into the ultimate Argentine parrilla (grill or steakhouse). A significantly sized portion of asado, meat roasted on a wood fire for hours, will be more than enough to make your day. Come with an empty stomach and order the provoleta (grilled provolone cheese) and chorizo.
BTW: Avoid weekends, as the restaurant is always completely full and doesn’t take reservations. Showing up before 8 p.m. or after 10:30 p.m. would be wise as well.
El Ferroviario, Reservistas Argentinos 219. Bueno Aires, Argentina
“We all have two faces. Celebrate the worker and the bourgeois in you” is the motto of this outstanding bar in San Telmo, with dedicated personnel and an impressive and long cocktail menu. It’s closed Monday and Sunday, but features a late-night happy hour 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.
BTW: The Old-Fashioned deserves a standing ovation. Complement it with salmon bruschetta (gravlax-style).
Av. Juan de Garay 500 esq. Bolivar, San Telmo, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Lo de Charly
Craving some meat at 4 in the morning? No problem. There’s a never-ending fire in this 24-hour charcoal parrilla in the Villa Urquiza neighborhood. It opened nearly 30 years ago to serve cabdrivers late at night and in the early morning, but today it features fast service and abundant, low-cost meals.
BTW: Ask the waiter for a recommendation.
Lo de Charly, Av. Álvarez Thomas 2101. Buenos Aires, Argentina