Buenos Aires Parrillas: The Ultimate Guide

Gringo in Buenos AiresFood, Restaurants20 Comments

steakBA

Well, here ya go. A giant list of the best parrillas in Buenos Aires. The goal of this guide is to provide you with a list that is quick and easy to view all in one convenient place. You will see some familiar names on this list and others you will never of heard of. The Parrillas here provide many options depending on in what price range you are looking to spend and what atmosphere you would like to dine in.

The Price ranges are listed as $$$$$$ being the most expensive and $ being the least expensive.

Editor’s Note: Updated April 29th, 2014

Cabaña las Lilas (Alicia Moreau de Justo 516, Puerto Madero, $$$$$$). This is the best of numerous parrillas that line the waterfront of Puerto Madero. It seats around 400 guests and is frequently chock full, so they must be doing something right. Expect the highest grade cuts of ojo de bife, bife de lomo and bife de chorizo, sourced from the restaurants own herd.  There’s more waiters per table than you dare attempt to count plus a ridiculously long wine list. It might hurt your wallet but it’ll satisfy your palate.

El Bonpland (Bonpland 2113, Palermo Hollywood, $$$$). El Bonpland has done a great job in maintaining the appeal of a traditional steak house with the trendiness of Palermo Hollywood. Don’t come looking for silver service but find a seat and enjoy juicy cuts of meat accompanied by a lively, local atmosphere.

El Mirasol de Boedo (Boedo 136, Boedo, $$$$$). This is the original of what is now a chain of parrillas, which opened in 1967. From the staff to the clientele, the whole place has a family vibe to it. The parrilla barely has an inch of space as it grills all number of beef cuts, including a 1kg baby beef. El Mirasol is big on offal too so prepare to be offered morcilla, chinchulin and mollejas. The homemade chimichurri provides the perfect accompaniment.

Parrilla La Celeste (Bonpland 1944, Palermo Hollywood, $$$). El Bonpland gets some competition from nearby Parrilla La Celeste, founded by group of Argentine and Uruguayan friends. Set in an antique house, the décor pays homage to Uruguay – look for maps, murals of candombe drummers and photos of iconic Uruguayan destinations. The menu is also a showcase of the Uruguayan parrilla. Be sure to try the range of chivitos, a hefty steak or chicken sandwich which Anthony Bourdain christened the world’s greatest sandwich (albeit when he was in Uruguay).

Gran Parrilla del Plata (Chile 594, San Telmo, $$$$). The rustic furnishing and charming corner location of this parrilla will have you swooning before even viewing the menu. Elegant but reasonably priced, it has become a San Telmo barrio classic. Waiters are happy to recommend the best of the day’s cuts, which usually include the memorable ojo de bife.

Las Nazarenas (Reconquista 1132, Retiro, $$$$). Meat from the grill or the open fire; that’s the biggest dilemma you’ll have here. Rumored to have served ex-presidents and foreign ministers, this is a straight up Argentine grill house without any fancy international fusion. The waiters appreciate meat-eating so will allow you plenty of time to decide and devour your choice. Dare to walk past the front window and not be tempted by the lamb brazing over the wood fire.

La Chacra (Cordoba 941, Microcentro, $$$$$). Touristy it may be but La Chacra is also as typical an Argentine restaurant as you’ll find. Bife de lomo, bife de chorizo and entrañas (entrails or offal) fight for space on the grill while lambs and pigs slowly cook on the open fire. Impeccably-dressed waiters, rustic décor and an extensive wine list help to create a nonchalant ambience. Don’t miss other Argentine classics such as milanesas, pastas and extremely sweet desserts.

La Dorita de Enfrente (Humboldt 1905, Palermo Hollywood, $$$). This laidback parrilla is a back-to-basics restaurant loved by families, groups of friends and those that like to eat meat while watching soccer matches. It’s a cozy spot with tightly-grouped tables so expect animated conversations and plenty of noise. On the menu you’ll find all the classic cuts of meat plus offal, provoletas (grilled cheeses) and wine served in penguin-shaped jugs. If it’s busy then walk one block to their sister restaurant.

Miranda (Costa Rica 5602, Palermo Hollywood). Stylish Miranda is the BA parrilla of choice for those looking for a combination of big portions and a chic setting. Inside, the high-ceilings, wooden furniture and well-groomed waiters are almost as appealing as the steaks. On a warm evening, chowing down on a steak and sipping on Malbec while sat on the street tables is about as good as it gets.

Manolo (Bolivar 1299, San Telmo, $$$). A few blocks from Parque Lezama is a simple, local steakhouse decked out in tango and soccer memorabilia. Portions are huge and suitable for sharing, especially La Gran Manolo, a milanesa smothered in cheese, ham and tomato.

El Desnivel (Defensa 855, San Telmo, $$$). More often than not a backpackers first experience of an Argentine parrilla. EL Desnivel started life as a hole-in-the-wall joint loved by locals in the know, taxi drivers and fortunate tourists. It’s famous for big, cheap steaks, for accommodating huge groups of tourists and the house wine served in penguin jugs. However, since its inclusion in a certain travel guide (not this one), prices have steadily risen and quality dropped. Still worth checking out though.

El Obrero (Agustín R Caffarena 64, La Boca, $$$$). Venture to La Boca for a genuine Buenos Aires institution. Cast aside any prejudice for cracked plates, shabby paintwork, mismatched cutlery and wobbly chairs because this place has been pulling in Hollywood stars, footballers and musicians for years. It’s all about the uncomplicated menu of delicious steaks with simple sides of salads and fries. It’s a little tricky to find so advisable to get a taxi if coming after dark.

La Cabrera (Cabrera 5099, Palermo Hollywood, $$$$$). This is another tourist hangout and there are two locations within a short walk of each other. Think of it as a parrilla with flair – steaks arrive with an array of tasty side dishes such as roasted garlic, pickled onions and various varieties of mash. The chorizos are the size of a baby’s leg and the 600g ojo de bife is not for the faint-hearted. It’s an all-round enjoyable experience and definitely worth at least one visit while in the city.

Don Julio (Guatemala 4699, Palermo Hollywood, $$$$$). Don Julio is a family-run steakhouse and quite possibly one of the best and most unassuming in the city. If there was ever a place to take visiting friends then this could be also be the one. It’s a traditional vibe with top-grade meat and 150-plus wines. Check out the empty wine bottles on display, each signed by previous guests.

La Brigada (Estados Unidos 465, San Telmo, $$$$$). This is a San Telmo restaurant at its best: tightly packed tables, patrons knocking elbows, suited waiters, a sweaty asador and great meat. It started life with one floor but now has three, including a rooftop terrace. Order your meat jugoso (rare) and the waiter might just cut it with a spoon. Like La Cabrera, it’s in the higher price bracket but the whole experience is good value.

Lo de Charly (Alvarez Thomas 2101, Villa Urquiza, $$). You’ll be a long way off the tourist trail should you make it here but it’ll certainly be worth making the effort. Simply meaning Charly’s Place, it’s as classic a barrio steakhouse as there is…..and it’s open 24-hours a day. Locals trust the juicy cuts of meat, which come at cheap prices, and partygoers fall in after closing hours to tuck into a steak before heading off to bed, or an after party.

Mini Parrillas Behind Puerto Madero (Puerto Madero, $).  Most visitors to Buenos Aires who have stayed long enough to explore the nature preserve behind Puerto Madero will have come across the many “mini parrillas” that are lined up along the street that separates the nature preserve from the towering buildings of Puerto Madero. These are a must try for a “choripan” or a “lomito” sandwich and El Parrillón is known as the best of the best.