If you travel to Argentina on vacation, you’re assuming the risk of feeling, more than once, that you’re going to explode after a copious (and usually delicious) meal. It is said that many tourists are seen asking for the check while they drag themselves through 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 tour to its wineries and finest restaurants surrounded by mountains and lakes. The gastronomy is a mix of the Spanish and Italian influence and the creole touch, always present in Argentinian cuisine. Among the best dishes, the “humita en chala” (made of corn, tomato, onion, milk and pepper) and the “patitas aliñadas” stands out, cow or pork meat cooked in the oven and served with bread, butter and different sauces like barbecue, cheese or the unmissable chimichurri.
Livestock meat is also 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 surrounded by friends and an incomparable scenery.
The northern regions have a notable indigenous influence and therefore, they’re excellent destinations in Argentina to savor the most typical and ancient foods in the homely “peñas”. Meat, potatoes, aji pepper and corn form the base of main dishes like carbonada, chivitos, dulce the cayote, tamales and the most legendary of them all: locro, a stew made of corn, beans, chorizo, beef, pork and vegetables, which is widespread 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 those with a very sweet tooth, the south of the country is an obligatory stop. The European immigrants that settled in these provinces left a “fruit” heritage that have turned Patagonia into the queen of wonderful deserts. Pears, apples and almost every kind of berry are made into jams and the tastiest cakes. Although perhaps the most famous sweet of them all is the chocolate, especially in Bariloche, a city that nobody leaves without having filled 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 great meats, among which the rough but extremely flavorful “cordero patagónico” (lamb) is an absolute must-eat.
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, you’ll find the restaurant. Obviously, the most popular ones are the Spanish and Italian cuisines which have also influenced Argentinian gastronomy itself.
Milanesas (breaded, thinly-sliced meats), pastas, pizzas and red meats are always present in the menus. Almost every corner of the capital has a steaming “parrilla” with the famous “choripan” (chorizo sausage with bread and chimichurri sauce) or a stand where you can buy a couple empanadas.
By all means, don’t even think of leaving without having tried first a huge “bife”, enjoyed an asado on a rooftop and bought a box of alfajores with dulce de leche. I warned you: you’ll have to drag yourself and your belly out of the country… but it’ll definitely be worth it.
Written by Irene Valiente