If you travel to Argentina on vacation, you’re assuming the risk of feeling, more than once, like you’re going to explode after a copious (and delicious) meal. It is said that many tourists are seen asking for the check while they drag themselves across the floor of the best restaurants, like the Latino version of The Walking Dead.
Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but it goes without saying that one of the main reasons to choose this country is its incomparable gastronomy that goes beyond meat and dulce de leche. Here are the best destinations in Argentina for foodies (although, it’s difficult to find a place where you won’t enjoy your dish):
Known for being the first wine producer of the country, thanks to its Malbec grape, the western province of Mendoza is perfect for taking a winery tour, and exploring some of the finest restaurants surrounded by mountains and lakes.
The gastronomy is a mix of the Spanish and Italian influences in the area, and the creole touch, always present in Argentinian cuisine. Among the best dishes are the humita en chala (made of corn, tomato, onion, milk and pepper) and the patitas aliñadas, which consists of cow or pork meat cooked in the oven and served with bread, butter and different sauces like barbecue, cheese or the classic chimichurri.
Fresh meat is also a basic for other popular meals like the lomito sandwiches or carne a la olla, which is cooked with white wine in a metal pan. Mendoza is also an ideal place to enjoy a traditional asado (Argentine barbeque) surrounded by friends and incomparable scenery.
2. The North
The northern regions of Argentina have a notable indigenous influence and therefore, are excellent destinations to savor the most typical and ancient foods in homely peñas– a grass-roots community meeting place where popular folklore and other artistic expressions accompanied by food and drink are showcased. Meat, potatoes, aji pepper and corn form the base of main dishes like carbonada, chivitos, dulce de cayote, tamales and the most legendary of them all: locro, a stew made of corn, beans, chorizo, beef, pork and vegetables, which is widely popular in the kitchens of Jujuy and Salta. This last province is also famous for its humitas (corn and onion dough) and its empanadas, which rival on a daily basis with the ones of Tucumán. Judge for yourself… for more Salta must-try foods, take a look at this post.
But the North also offers a different type of grape for wine enthusiasts: the torrontés. A rather dry and fruity white wine, with a particular touch due to the climate conditions of the area. There are other types of grapes produced in the area, but Salta offers a great destination for those who are keen on trying this unique variety of wine. Check out some Salta wineries here!
For those with a sweet tooth, the south of the country is an obligatory stop. The European immigrants that settled in these provinces left a “fruit” heritage that has turned Patagonia into the queen of wonderful desserts. Pears, apples and almost every kind of berry imaginable are cooked into jams and the tastiest cakes. But perhaps the most famous sweet of them all is the world-famous chocolate, especially in Bariloche, a city that nobody leaves without filling their bags with bars, pastries, candies or anything with this delight on (or in!) it.
The gastronomy of the Austral region is also known for its mushrooms, mollusks, salmon, trout, and -of course- its mouth-watering meats, among which the rough but extremely flavorful cordero patagónico (lamb) is an absolute must-try.
4. Buenos Aires
Although traveling to these destinations in Argentina to taste traditional meals is an unforgettable experience, you can enjoy the best of the country’s gastronomy without having to leave Buenos Aires. The city offers a great variety of local restaurants where you can try the most famous Argentinian dishes as well as world-renowned international ones. Peru, Colombia, Japan, Korea, France, Mexico, Armenia, Morocco… You choose the country, and we can promise you’ll find the restaurant. Obviously, the most popular varieties are the Spanish and Italian cuisines, which have a huge influence on Argentine gastronomy itself.
Milanesas (breaded, thinly-sliced meats), pastas, pizzas and red meats are always present on the menus. Almost every corner of the capital has a steaming parrilla (grill) with the famous choripan (chorizo sausage with bread and chimichurri sauce) or a stand where you can buy a couple empanadas. For other types of culinary experiences, you can visit a bodegón -a local cantina- or speakeasy restaurants.
But there is no eating without drinking in Argentina, so don’t forget to take a look at this local Argentina’s drinks list and give it a go!
Written by Irene Valiente – Edited by Cathie Haynor