With a promise of succulent red meat and fine bottles of wine – focal points to many a good meal – on the menu, a visit to an Argentinian restaurant isn’t just a trip, but a culinary pilgrimage.
Renowned for its bold, hard-hitting flavours, Argentinian cuisine has long been associated with steakhouses and glasses of vintage red wine. However, those who dig a little deeper will see this vast South American country has so much more to offer the gastronomic world.
A country that has seen large numbers of immigrants arrive over the centuries, Argentina’s cuisine has been heavily influenced by cultures from all over the world, particularly Italy and Spain. Indeed, different takes on pasta can be found on menus and household dinner tables in cities including Buenos Aires, Córdoba, and Rosario.
So, as a melting pot of contrasting tastes and textures, Argentinian cuisine can be surprising and sensational in equal measure. In order to help you to enjoy a truly authentic meal at an Argentinian restaurant, we’ve put together a list of items that you simply must sink your teeth into. ¡Vamonos!
When it comes to eating meat at an Argentinian restaurant, we can confidently say that you should believe all of the hype you hear. Prepared and cooked in a traditional way, tucking into a piece of red meat at an Argentinian eatery is dining at its purest form. Whether you plump for some morcilla (blood sausage), mollejas (sweetbreads) or a succulent ojo de bife (ribeye steak) or cuadril (rump steak), you are going to want to pay the asador or grill master a compliment or two after your meal.
The perfect accompaniment to a well-cooked steak, chimichurri is a delicious South American condiment or marinade classically made with chopped parsley, garlic, olive oil, oregano and a splash of wine vinegar. If you want to add a dash of vibrant colour to your meal, whilst also maintaining a wonderful balance of flavour, chimichurri is the answer.
An Argentinian variant of Italy’s famous provolone cheese, provoleta is commonly cooked, yes, you guessed it, on a flame grill. Seasoned with a mix of herbs and spices, provoleta is usually served as a starter or side dish, but vegetarians dining at an Argentinian restaurant can also choose to order a larger serving as a main course.
Malbec or Bonarda wine
A country well-known for its vineyards and many grape varieties, a visit to an Argentinian restaurant is an ideal opportunity to enjoy a glass of smooth red or white wine. Wine lists at Argentinian restaurants can often be the star attraction, with bottles of Malbec and Bonarda in high demand. Whatever tipple you choose, make sure to make a note of the name, as you’ll be wanting to share it with friends and family.
A delicacy eaten in towns and cities across Argentina, empanadas are small, stuffed pastries that can either be baked or fried. Depending on the recipe, empanadas can be filled with anything from beef and peppers to olives and spinach. Wonderfully crafted, homemade empanadas are a sight to behold.
If you truly want to sample some authentic food at an Argentinian restaurant, locro is one of the country’s national dishes. A warm, hearty stew popularly eaten by communities living in Argentina’s mountainous areas, ingredients in a traditional locro include hominy, beef, and vegetables such as potato and squash.
One of Argentina’s most beloved sweet treats, alfajores are essentially two biscuits or cookies stacked on top of one another, with a filling of dulce de leche in the middle. Often sprinkled with powdered sugar or dessicated coconut, alfajores can be found on the dessert menu of an Argentinian restaurant.
What exactly is dulce de leche? Well, read on to find out more!
Dulce de leche
A thick, creamy caramel-like sauce, dulce de leche is incredibly popular in almost every South American country. As mentioned, dulce de leche is a mainstay in many desserts, and if prepared well, can be the difference between a good dish and a great one. A foodstuff with a similar reputation and level of popularity in Argentina as jam has in the United Kingdom, it is not an overstatement to say that dulce de leche in some form can be found on every Argentinian restaurant menu.
Now that we’ve whet your appetite, check out these Argentinian restaurants in London and reserve yourself a table at one now!