In a city that oozes Italian influences, it will come as no surprise that Italian cuisine is a favorite among porteños. If a family Sunday gathering isn’t camped around a parrilla then it will be tucking into huge bowls of fideos, spaghetti and the like. During the rest of the week, those who need their Italian fix have an abundance of places to choose from.
Cucina Paradiso (cucinaparadisodeli.com, Castañeda 1873, Belgrano/Arévalo 1538, Palermo Hollywood). This cafe-bistro-shop is the brainchild of celebrity chef Donato de Santis (you’ll find him dominating the airtime of the Gourmet channel). The vibe is laid-back and Donato is often present, making fresh pasta and filling ravioli at the bar. The menu is small, with about half a dozen each of pasta dishes, antipasti and panini, but made fresh. There’s always a day’s special plus a tempting selection of sweets and pastries. If you’re in B.A. long-term, you may want to sign up for a workshop hosted by Donato.
Fornería Cantina Bar (forneria.com.ar, Malabia 1825, Palermo Soho). From milanesa to panini, pasta to risotto, pizza to cheese boards, this quaint Soho cantina covers all Italian flavors. You’ll find a great selection of desserts, too, plus Italian liquors to finish off your meal. It’s notably popular on weekends for its three-course brunch with your choice of champagne or cocktail. The easy-going, chatty environment makes it a good place to go with a group of friends.
Guido Restaurant (guidorestaurant.com.ar, Cerviño 3943, Palermo Botanico). Sitting quietly on the elegant Cerviño Boulevard, Guido is a great option for honest, healthy Italian cuisine. The menu is packed with pastas and pizzas, all coming with creative sauces and innovative toppings. Meanwhile, the bar is stocked with imported wines, premium beers and the ubiquitous Campari- and Cinzano-based drinks. The checkered tablecloths and photos of popular Italian icons aid in pulling the ambience together. Stop by around 7.30 p.m. for the tapas happy hour.
La Parolaccia (laparolaccia.com, Various locations). This chain of Italian restaurants serves up excellent Italian fare amid classic Italian décor. The lunch menu is one of the restaurant’s best options and includes an antipasti, main and dessert, plus a glass of wine or champagne. Tell the waiter it’s your birthday to receive a complimentary cake and a round of limoncello for your table.
II Ballo del Mattone (facebook.com/ballodelmattone, Gorriti 5737, Palermo Hollywood). A hardworking kitchen whips up the kind of pasta dishes you’d expect from a Sicilian grandmother. Check out the chalkboard menus for the day’s specials, which could be anything from conchiglioni to fusilli a la scarparo. The restaurant also hosts art exhibitions and the occasional movie screening.
Altura Crucero (facebook.com/AlturaCrucero, Carranza 1601, Palermo Hollywood). Altura Crucero is a traditional trattoria with tightly grouped tables, boundless bottles of wine and live accordion players. The outdoor seating area is great on a warm day.
Trattoria Olivetti (facebook.com/TrattoriaOlivetti, Cerviño 3800, Palermo Botaníco). Trattoria Olivetti is one of several recommendable Italian restaurants in the Palermo Botaníco area. The menu changes according to the season and is often prix-fixe. The rooftop terrace – shaded in summer and heated in winter – is perfect all year-round.
La Locando (facebook.com/lalocandaristoranteitaliano, José León Pagano 2697, Recoleta). Hidden away behind the Automóvil Club Argentino, La Locando is a cozy Italian restaurant that specializes in Sardinian food. On the menu you’ll find plenty of homemade pastas, seafood and risottos.
La Cantina Pierino (lacantinadepierino.com.ar, Lavalle 3499, Almagro). A historic spot in Almagro, La Cantina Pierino is over 100 years old. Stop in for their homemade fusilli and ravioli, and reputedly the world’s best tiramisu.
U Comodo Vostro (Jorge Newberry 3540, Chacarita). On the menu are tempting dishes such as mushroom bruschetta with brie, and homemade ravioli with ragù sauce. Set lunch menus are a good option and include a main, dessert and drink.