Top Buenos Aires New Restaurant Picks of 2012

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It has been quite the exciting year for the Buenos Aires food and restaurant loving community. Once was a subpar food city, Buenos Aires has quickly taken the spot for one of the world’s rising star food destinations. 2012 put Buenos Aires on the food map with young talented cooks emerging, great new restaurant openings, innovative and adventurous chefs doing what they do best, sommeliers and mixologists taking the spotlight and food fairs and markets receiving widespread attention. While top ten lists of 2012 are soooo 2012, here are the best new Buenos Aires restaurants, cafés and bars of 2012.

GAJO - Pop Up Restaurant EventsIMG_7658 - Version 2

One of the most memorable meals I’ve ever had, what do you get when a dozen talented young Argentine cooks come together to form the ultimate mega gastro-mogul team? An insane culinary frenzy with too many chefs in the kitchen. Who is cooking the dinner? Hernán Gipponi (HG), Matías Kyriazis (Paraje Arevalo, Local, Casa Arevalo), Soledad Nardelli (Chila), Hernán Griccini (Mansión Algodón), Fernando Hara and Yago Márquez (Unik), Rodrigo Castilla (Las Pizarras), Gonzalo Aramburu (Aramburu), Juan Pedro Rastellino (Allium Catering), Antonio Soriano (Astor), Darío Gualtieri (Casa Umare), Juan Gaffuri (Four Seasons Hotel) and Martín Baquero (El Almacén de los Milagros).

I Latina - Villa CrespoDSC_0411

A taste of the Caribbean has finally made its way to Buenos Aires. Colombians are invading Buenos Aires, and bringing tasty Latin American flavor bursting treats. The Colombian brothers at this closed door Villa Crespo restaurant are striking gold with their Caribbean-style puerta cerrada. DSC_0362While they are known for their by-reservation only dinners Thursday – Saturdays, my personal favorite is their Sunday afternoon brunch that is just absolute perfection on a plate.

Bar du Marché – Palermo Hollywood _MG_8929Despite being a major wine destination, Buenos Aires overall lacks in the wine bar department. But praise to the Malbec Gods, a French style spot has emerged on the café-hub Nicaragua street. Offering over 50 wines by the glass, a rarity for the bottle-loving drinking culture, this adorable spot makes a killer cheese platter, offers daily lunch specials and is run by knowledgeable sommeliers. Oh, and upstairs there is even a Japanese closed door restaurant.

NOLA - Palermo Soho_MG_8725New to the Buenos Aires closed door restaurant scene, this spunky New Orleans chica quickly climbed to the top of Trip Advisor with her rustic southern, Mexican and French influenced home cooking. Liza Puglia teams up with rising star mustached wine specialist Francisco Terren for one of the only traditional communal table puertas cerradas still left in Buenos Aires: inviting an intimate group of diners into their home for a 4-course spice-filled menu + wine pairings._MG_6746 For a more casual and affordable taste at NOLAchef’s cooking, the weekly Mexican night pop up dinners at Tout le Monde bar are definitely worth a visit.

Gengis’ House – Recoleta IMG_8151Healthy, flavorful, vegetable packed – this choose your own stir fry spot should be opened with welcome arms, and quickly franchised to multiple locations throughout the city. If I had it in my neighborhood, I’d be a weekly regular.

Coco Marie - Palermo Soho_MG_9266Ever think that a bathing suit shop would make you want to eat? Neither did I. But Coco Marie’s garden is just too cute to pass by. The ultimate Palermo café oasis, it’s a wonderful breakfast / lunch / merienda spot where you can feel so good, and bad about yourself, all at the same time.

Aipim - Palermo Soho_MG_7036Another young chef with mad skills, Aipim brings a mix of Latin American flavors to Palermo Soho — all in a cozy and inviting atmosphere. It also makes my list for one of my favorite brunches in the city. *Aipim has closed their space on Thames and opened up as a puerta cerrada.

Rey de CopasPalermo Soho182500_400325510039117_630843673_nThe vibe doesn’t get much better than this French-Moroccan style Palermo spot. Head straight to the back to lounge in the dimly lit room, sipping on carefully selected wines and downing cocktails made with some skill. (Photo by Rey de Copas)

La Cresta – Almagro_MG_6347One of my absolute fave new spots of the year, this healthy fast food modern take away rotisserie owned by a Brit-Argie couple, excels in everything they do. High quality ingredients, bright intense flavors, inventive salads, an ever-changing dinner menu, if you live near La Cresta, or even not that near, it’s hard to stay away.

in Bocca al Lupo - Palermo Hollywood551226_397676443632723_2094978965_nThis café on Bonpland just screams Italy – Italian coffee, Italian specialties and even an Italian radio station playing in the background. A super comfortable space with a winning patio, I like hoarding a table for hours, sipping on coffee, and a portion of focaccia-like pizza.

Baking BA – Microcentro_MG_7065Another winner in the healthy fast food take away game, Baking BA does everything right: fresh salads, low fat/low cal options, tasty wraps, sandwiches, guilt free desserts and the only place in Buenos Aires that makes a KILLER English muffin bacon breakfast sandwich.

Decata – Palermo Hollywood559755_294853380587719_600625486_nMy favorite go-to spot to do work, Decata has an all-star terrace that’s ideal for coffee drinking, massive cakes and ample plugs and strong wifi connection. The Caesar salad, which runs on the pricey side, actually is the real deal. (Photo by Decata)

The Lost Asian’s Hidden Kitchen - Palermo Sohoosso bucco short ribs handmade pastaYoga instructor, acupuncturist, photographer and food blogger Frances Ren Huang has compiled a team of the ultimate food lovers to bring the flavors of China and Taiwan to Palermo Soho. Inspired by familiar Asian flavors and family dishes, Frances whips up a truly unique BA culinary experience. Rumor has it this pop up restaurant might not pop up too much longer, so make your reservations before you have lost this Asian completely. (Photo by The Lost Asian)

DON – Villa Crespo_MG_7425Café Crespin’s baby sister, it’s an American-inspired to-go style deli featuring salads, sandwiches, wraps, and baked goods. Go to fix your donut craving and hang out while stealing their fast WiFi connection.

Honor y Causa – Palermo Hollywood_MG_7434A wonderful new addition to the neighborhood, more young talented chefs are popping out of kitchens, bringing their own refined and creative style to Argentine cuisine. The menu is small to focus on excellent execution and presentation for each dish.

Street Food - Barrio ChinoIMG_6098The food kiosks have been around for some time in Barrio Chino, but in the past year, several spots have sprung up other than just the usual weekend spring rolls served inside some of the supermarkets. One next to Asia Oriental, another across from Casa China and a third across from Ichiban supermarket, food on a stick finally makes an appearance. The grilled pork is especially delicious.

Coffee Town - San Telmo_MG_6651Coffee lovers make your way to the San Telmo market and hop up on a bar stool to get comfy and cozy with a cup of the strong stuff. Brought to you by the Centro de Estudios del Café, these people know their coffee.

Cocu – Palermo Soho

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Authenticity at its finest, Cocu specializes in breads and pastries, and does a mighty fine job doing so. The buttery viennoiseries that have been known to induce a serious addiction.

Le Ble Palermo – Palermo Hollywoodphoto 1The favorite Chacarita/Colegiales French bakery has opened up a Palermo location, serving big-ass coffees, killer croissants and fresh baked breads. It’s a prime go-to outdoor pastry-coffee kinda spot, sipping on the giant mug and downing an ultra flaky croissant. Or just go Tuesday - Friday at 7pm-8pm for their 2×1 on all baked goods – now that’s my kinda happy hour!

Latino Sandwich – MicrocentroDSC_0290A great spot in the center to grab a quick sandwich, these guys know how to make the perfect two bread-insides-with fixins-combo. Affordable and creative, those who find themselves in the downtown area should pop in for a quick lunch.

Local – Palermo Hollywood_MG_3760Local is the second spot from From Matías Kyriazis and Stef Di Benedetto, of Paraje Arévalo fame, offering a more relaxed menu than their 5/8 course PA madness. They have also opened up Casa Arévalo next door, a pop up restaurant where guest chefs rotate taking over the wonderful space.

La Monumental – Palermo HollywoodDSC_0215Not a restaurant, but this spot on Ravignani y Santa Fe has been my go-to verduleria for the past few months. A rise in self-service vegetables stands, this produce mecca has good quality shit for the best prices I’ve seen outside of Mercado Central.

Le Pain Quotidien - Palermo Botanico
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The popular chain from Belgium that swept across Europe has made its way to Buenos Aires with this café and bakery, serving croissant and pastry perfection. (Photo by Argentina.ar)

Other restaurant openings of 2012 that is on the list to visit in 2013:

Mullu – Retiro – Peruvian
Le Grill – Puerto Madero – High end parrilla
L’Osteria – Puerto Madero – Italian
Casa Umare – Almagro - Modern Argentine -
El Tejano – Palermo Soho – Texan BBQ Pop Up
Chambre Tres – Belgrano – Argentine/Asian
Ocho Once – Palermo – Modern Argentine
Yagalchi – Flores – Korean
El Burladero – Recoleta – Spanish Tapas
Puerta Abierta – Pop Up
Fleur du Sel – Belgrano – French
Mazzo – Villa Crespo – Café
Oum’s – Palermo Soho
Vintage Coffee – Palermo Hollywood
MASA – Mexican pop up

What other new restaurants are on your list to try in 2013?

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25 Responses to Top Buenos Aires New Restaurant Picks of 2012

  1. We went to El Tejano and was amazing. Also, you must try Aldo´s vinoteca , San Telmo. Excellent ambiance.

  2. Michelle says:

    Have been to El Burladero several times and never been disappointed. Great wine, great tapas and great atmosphere, although it is a proper restaurant and not just for tapas. I like to take a spot at the bar, order a glass of wine and scope out the evening’s tapas selection. If you go, either go early or be sure to reserve.

  3. joss says:

    Love your picks:)

  4. John Packett says:

    So little attention to the south end of the city————

  5. Julieta says:

    Great summary!!!

  6. Nacrisca says:

    Hi Allie. I’ve had a look at your post and I´m definitely gonna give it a try at Latino Sandwich. Sounds great!

  7. the other day I went to Barrio Chino and try battered lagostinas on a stick. It was DA BOMB! It had the perfect crunch of crispy batter coupled with the taste of prawns inside. I’m officially addicted!

  8. molly says:

    Thank you, wonderful collection. However, The picture you have for Chinese food stand has been there for several years, at least since 2009, when I arrived.

  9. Pingback: Best Buenos Aires Lists | Tasting Argentina: The Anuva Wine Tasting Blog

  10. bella says:

    hey there. as a recently arrived canadian server (and fellow food enthusiast) struggling to come to terms with the low-income reality of working as a waitress in BA, i was wondering if you wouldn’t mind putting together a quickie top ten (or five!) of restaurants where you think it might not completely suck to work. i’ve been told that the best money to be had is in the chawtchy high-end tourist traps that i would usually avoid. is that just the way it is, or can a nice balance be found between lucrative and soul-sucking? any thoughts would be much appreciated!

    • forkyou says:

      Not sure, pay for servers here is generally low. I’d say that you could make decent money working at more high end, finer dining restaurants, not all which are necessarily tourists traps.

  11. Nina says:

    I dont know where to post new places that we find that you might be interested, but check out I Love Arepa () just opened about a month ago, and its delicious! Fantastic Colombian fast food in BA.

  12. Hi, I’m a Food Stylist in Buenos Aires working in advertising (print and film) and I was wondering i you’re interested in collaborating. Take a look at my site, my contact information is there.
    Best,
    Anna Keville Joyce
    akj foodstyling
    http://www.akjfoodstyling.com

  13. Hi, I’m a Food Stylist in Buenos Aires working in advertising (print and film) and I was wondering if you’d be interested in collaborating. Take a look at my site, my contact information is there.
    Best,
    Anna Keville Joyce
    http://www.akjfoodstyling.com

  14. Nice post but you should put places located in Las Canitas such as La Caballeriza. Here you ‘ll find very good meat and good wines also.

  15. Joel says:

    Really liked what you had to say. thanks for the good read!
    — Joel

  16. Mari says:

    Great blog Allie! I am myself a food lover so it’s good to have recommendations… just came back from Coco Marie with a friend and really liked it!

  17. Lyle says:

    Hello
    It’s a nice Cool post

  18. Fierro Hotel Staff says:

    Reblogged this on Inside Buenos Aires and commented:
    Great restaurant selection by Pickupthefork.com

  19. kelly says:

    Though maybe that location is new, La Monumental has been around since at least 2006- it’s a chain that has locations in various neighborhoods. I went to Cocu the other day- GREAT baguettes, great sandwich (roasted veggie and ricotta) and an amazing “banana cake” that was moist and simply perfect.

  20. Pingback: Top Buenos Aires New Restaurant Picks of 2012 | hostelsuitesfan

  21. Tom says:

    Okay. So 2013 is almost 2014. People want to know……where is the next best off?

    Love your reviews!!!!!

    Tom

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