Eating outdoors is one of those strange pleasantries in life, whether it’s an outdoor patio, rooftop terrace, quiet backyard garden or even colectivo polluted sidewalk, food somehow tastes better while sitting outside basking in the aire libre. The Buenos Aires dining and café scene is all about outdoor spaces, where restaurants immediately increase in stock value with just one table afuera. With the summer in full effect, it’s only fitting to take advantage of the perfect South American warm air and stakeout the best Buenos Aires restaurants with outside seating areas. Since it’s difficult for me to leave the tiny bubble of Palermo, here’s a random rundown of the best spots in the barrio.
Artemisia (Gorriti 5996)
A Pescetarian menu is the perfect solution to a hot summer’s day. Serving up mostly vegetarian food, Artemesia’s sidewalk tables are quite the hot commodity, ideal for salad eating, juice drinking and organic wine gulping.
Baraka (Gurruchaga 1450)
It’s rare to have a bad meal at Baraka. Grab a table on the lovely sidewalk seating or on the rooftop terrace. Lamb burger, tea, coffee, chocolate cake, salted cookies – it’s an ideal go-to spot when you are out of midday restaurant ideas. Only downside? This is an alcohol free zone.
Benihana (Arenales 3310, Alto Palermo)Rappers love Benihana. Tracy Jordan loves Benihana, so by the power of celebrity endorsements, it’s only logical that you should love Benihana, too. The front patio of this American “Japanese” powerhouse, sandwiched in between TGIFridays and Starbucks, makes for a prime people watching spot. Go for the killer lunch special or daily bargain food and drink happy hour (4pm – 8pm).
Boteco do Brasil (Bonpland 1367)You might not look twice when you walk by the street seating at Boteco do Brasil. Despite the plastic tables with those red standard Brahma fold up chairs, there’s something special about this Brazilian restaurant on Bonpland. Perhaps it’s the strong caipirinhas that make the onda so awesome, or the cheerful Brazilian service, or the delicious (and well cooked) seafood, or spicy flavors that taste like Brazil on a plate, or the live music, orrrrr all those things.
Las Cabras (Fitz Roy 1795)Get here early or prepare to wait for a table, Las Cabras, or as I call it, the red chair busy place, may not serve out-of-this-world food, but it’s a solid place to go with friends when looking for something cheap and casual with a lively atmosphere. Order the parrillada para dos that really serves four, or a choripan with fries, a pitcher of penguino house wine, a sifón of soda and bienvenida-r yourself to Argentina. Photo by Destemperadinhos.
Caracas Bar (Guatemala 4802)Get your arepa eating on at Caracas, a Venezuelan-run bar, which has a fantastic rooftop terrace. Ideal for warm summer nights, sip a few cocktails, eat some arepas and listen to DJs spinning both hipster-onic music and reggaeton. But beware: rumor has it they charge a cubierto just for ordering a drink, which ain’t cool in my book. Photo: PlanetaJoy
Cluny (El Salvador 4618)Despite my mixed feelings about the food, Cluny does have a beautiful restaurant with a secluded outdoor patio area, and a semi-affordable lunch special. Order a wine and the duck risotto, because what more do you want to eat when it’s warm outside than a heavy duck risotto? Photo: YouPlanet
What strikes your hunger more than walking through a bathing suit shop after having your ass eat up a bikini that’s a few sizes too small? Ivy lined walls, adorable turquoise chairs, Moroccan lemonade — it’s a girly design lovers dream world.
Croque Madame (Libertador 1902)Inside the Museo de Arte Decorativo, this Buenos Aires outdoor eating area is a classic and beautiful refuge from the bustle of the barrio. Classy it up sitting pond side with older Argentine biddies. Take visitors to Croque Madame for the extra swoon factor. Photo BAInspiration.
Cusic (El Salvador 6016)Pull on the wooden kitchen spoon to be welcomed into this Palermo Hollywood small café. Both the food and the ambience of this PH converted space makes diners feel all comfortable and warm inside. Licuados, lemonades, breakfasts, lunches and desserts make Cusic a winning choice. Don’t miss Thursday nights a la gorra, where they cook up a different speciality every week and you pay what you think it’s worth.
Decata (Dorrego 6100, Palermo Hollywood)This might win the gold for one of the best summer terraces – Decata’s food can be somewhat lacking, but they have one helluva terraza, strong wifi and lots of plugs, making it for a winning work space. Another bonus: each coffee comes with a sugar covered orange peels and some sweet lil’ bakery bite.
DJ, you can do me no wrong. In six faithful years as a Don Julio patron, I have yet to be disappointed by the quality of meat, grand wine selection, superb service and classic good ole BA sidewalk dining.
La Editorial Bistro
I am ambivalent to give this spot up because it’s super special. All terraces should be as lovely as the one at La Editorial Bistro. Combine this prime open aired rooftop with lunch specials and a full cocktail menu, and you’ve got my summer go-to spot. Photo: La Editorial Bistro.
Evita Museum (J. M. Gutierrez 3926)Located in one of my favorite sections of Palermo, behind the zoo and near where all the rich bitches live, the Evita Museum’s restaurant patio is a tranquil oasis from the of the city. Strong wi-fi connection makes it the perfect place to sit for hours sipping a coffee or eating a killer crepe. Photo SpareroomsBA
La Fábrica del Taco (Gorriti 5062)It’s a known fact that Buenos Aires just can’t do Mexican, but Fábrica offers a solid option for those who are craving a bit of spicy sauce. The large backyard garden is ideal for sipping on Coronas, chugging down margaritas and chomping on chips and salsa.
Hernán Gipponi Restaurant (Fierro Hotel, Soler 5862)Hands down one of the best brunches in the city, the Fierro Hotel’s lovely space is equipped with a quiet outdoor garden where brunchers can indulge in leisurely a multiple course menu. They also offer an excellent lunch and dinner menu, with fantastic wine pairings, and Friday cocktail garden affairs. (Photo: Jocelyn Mandryk)
In Bocca Al Lupo (Bonpland 1965)This café is the perfect spot for coffee drinking, fast wifi using and Italian food eating. Grab a table on the checkered tile patio and peek in as the kitchen staff makes homemade pasta and whips up favorite Italian treats. If you are a nutella fanatic, this is a place for you. Photo: in Bocca al Lupo
Jardin Japonés Restaurant (Casares 2966)
If it were all about ambience, Jardin Japonés would be the best sushi spot in town. This restaurant is located in the beautiful Japanese gardens, and while it may not be the top choice to eat sushi in the city (check out THIS list for best sushi in Buenos Aires), it still offers fresh quality fish and items that don’t include loads of cream cheese. Photo: Jardin Japonés
Le Ble (Honduras y Arévalo) The famous French bakery has now opened up a new Palermo Hollywood café serving salads, sandwiches, brunch and all that Frenchie baked goodness. Nothing beats this type of street seating on the corner of Arévalo and Honduras with virtually no colectivos bustling by.
Lo de Coki (Amenábar 93)Eclectic and homey, on the border of Palermo Hollywood and Colegiales, Lo de Coki has two outdoor areas: rooftop terrace and sidewalk seating. On a quiet corner with virtually no traffic, this somewhat unknown spot is a great option for breakfast, lunch and merienda, in a neighborhood filled with busy brunch cafés.
La Maison (Honduras 5774)Chill out in this lovely French-inspired space loungy patio, order a bottle of torrontés, a plate of fromage and spend the rest of the afternoon stretched out on chic white linen couches.
This massive rooftop terrace of this (Argentine) Mexican restaurant takes up almost the whole block. A truly spectacular gigantic space, this place is for picante-phobes who like their food mild. Grab a spot on the rooftop, order a tequila-packed Margarita, some tortilla chips and a few appetizers, and you’ll be set for the summer.
Miranda (Costa Rica 5602)A prime people watching spot on Fitz Roy and Costa Rica in Palermo Hollywood, go to take advantage of Miranda’s awesome weekday lunch specials or for one of their ginormous salads.
Olsen (Gorriti 5870)
Despite that this restaurant used to be the hotness and now is the notness, you still can’t deny the fact that it is probably one of the nicest designed restaurants this city has to offer. Just above that point of disappointment where it’s still acceptable to go, I’d skip the food and go for a Bloody Mary instead.
Oui Oui (Nicaragua 6068, Nicaragua 6099)Yes yes, Oui Oui is quite the scene on the weekend, getting extremely busy with both tourists and overly trendy Palermonites. Why would someone wait over 30 minutes for a table? Because it’s trendy, has brunch solid food, and a pleasant ambience overlooking the picturesque tree-lined street of Nicaragua. Avid Oui Oui brunchers know what up: two words.. Weekday. Tony.
Tucked away in the bosques de Palermo, inside Vilas Club, Páru is what Japanese-Peruvian cuisine is all about: high quality fresh fish and seafood, delicious fusion dishes and sauces, insanely addictive cocktails and all in a sleek, upscale setting. Think tiraditos, ceviche and sushi rolls topped with quinoa puffs and maracuyá sauce. Oh, and their outdoor eating area with park views is almost as big as the whole restaurant.
Piola (Gorriti 5751)Make a trip back to 1992, grab your Bayside High sweatshirt and head on over to the Max aka Pizza Piola. Front sidewalk seating and also a patio garden space makes it an ideal spot to grab one of their non-Argie pizzas and stuff face. Photo by Planeta Joy.
Quimbombó (Costa Rica 4562)
Quimbombó’s beautiful decor and two sunny deck terraces remain a great Palermo spot to escape the craziness of the Plaza Armenia area. Order a fresh salad and a licuado and enjoy the day, or go for dinner and order one of their delicious cocktails. While food maybe mediocre at best, the pleasant and breezy atmosphere makes up for all of that.
La Retirada (El Salvador 4945)
The massive upscale parrilla has all the right factors that makes a winning restaurant: friendly service, a nice atmosphere with outdoor garden patio and high quality meat that’s cooked just right. A bit on the pricey side, La Retirada makes for a good go-to prime location spot in the Plaza Serrano area (that’s still not Plaza Serrano) to take out of town guests.
Sipan (Uriarte 1649)Ceviche, tiraditos and pisco sours – it doesn’t get much better than this. Well, maybe it does, sipping and eating them all fancy while lounging on comfortable couches.
Soria (Gorriti 5151)More bar than restaurant, Soria has all the ingredients that makes a winning night: skilled bartenders mixing up traditional and inventive cocktails, good service, above average bar food (burger + fries) and almost the whole space is in the aire libre.
El Ultimo Beso (Nicaragua 4880)A bit too feminine for my macho liking, El UltimoBeso, or “The Last Kiss,” looks like a girly regurgitation of lace, pink and flowers. Still, it’s pretty damn pretty. Don’t miss checking out the bathroom, with old fashioned tub filled with rose petals, too much? Boys, to really man it up, order some pink wine and lemon pie.
Check out some other food publications for their top outdoor eating choices:
What other great Palermo restaurants have wonderful outdoor seating areas?