Top 10 Foods to Eat in Buenos Aires That Are NOT Steak

Buenos Aires is the steak capital of the world, so we were a little worried about how we’d get on as vegetarians. Our fears were quickly eased on our first day when Simon sniffed out a local bakery and came back with a pile of sugary doughnuts, sticky medialunas and dulce de leche filled pastries – all for just 7 pesos (about £1).

OK, so it may not make a nutritious, healthy meal but it was gooood.

Things got even better in the coming days as we discovered some wonderful Buenos Aires vegetarian restaurants and some tasty Argentine snacks. These are our top food choices in Buenos Aires for vegetarians or for those just looking for a break from great slabs of beef.

1) Empanadas – These popular Argentine savoury pastries are one of our favourite snacks here. Although meat fillings are most common it’s easy to find queso & cebolla (cheese & onion) versions. Great for a quick and cheap meal.

2) Alfajores – The classic sweet snack is the Alfajor – two round biscuits filled with copious amounts of dulce de leche (see below). There are many variations, most commonly a chocolate coating, but I prefer the simple version. Foodie travel bloggers Uncornered Market recommended the Cachafaz brand to us and we weren’t disappointed.

3) Dulce de Leche – You can’t avoid this caramel spread or ‘jam’ – it is everywhere. You’ll find it in every dessert, every factura (sweet pastry), even at breakfast to be spread on bread. Supermarkets dedicate whole aisles to it and heladerias (ice-cream parlours) have entire dulce de leche menus with variations on the flavour.

helado buenos aires4) Helado – Italy is always going to win the ice-cream first prize but Argentina does a good job of imitating their creamy gelato. The helado here is positively addictive and it doesn’t help that there are so many flavours to try. Choose a cone or give in and get a half kilo tub. Our local haunt is Emede in Recoleta, but the best heladeria we found was Jauja which served many unusual and all-natural flavours.

5) Pizza – The strong Italian influence continues with the many pizzerias found throughout the city. It’s a vegetarian staple and a good option for a cheap meal. The pizza isn’t quite like in Italy (or even New York) and we generally found the bases too thick and the toppings too heavy on the cheese, but it is possPizza from El Cuartitoible to find some good pizza.

6) Ravioli – Another thank you to the Italians is needed here. One vegetarian option that is always on the menu is pasta. Often this is homemade and our favourite is ravioli stuffed with pumpkin or spinach and ricotta. The ravioli at Sette Bacco were delicious, but you can also find tasty and cheap fresh ravioli at the Coto supermarket (thanks to Uncornered Market again for this tip), or at one of the many fresh pasta shops.

7) Medialunas – The Argentines obviously have a sweet tooth, as there are panaderias (bakeries) on every street packed with impossible to resist pastries and cakes. Medialunas (sticky croissants) are a cheap choice for breakfast or as a late afternoon snack when you are waiting desperately for dinner – they don’t eat until 10pm here.

8 ) Bread – With this many bakeries in town there is no excuse not to buy fresh bread. Bread is served in every restaurant before your meal, often accompanied by a garlic mayonnaise or other dip. Artemisia restaurant has the most delicious bread of all – in fact it’s worth going just to try the range of homemade breads served with their tasty garlicky humous.

9) Salad – After Armenian Food at Sarkisspending your time in Buenos Aires eating all of the above, believe us you’ll be in need of a good salad. Unsurprisingly the vegetarian restaurants are the best places to go for inventive salads with quality ingredients – Artemisia and Bio are both good options.

10) Armenian Mezze – This may seem like a strange addition but Palermo has a small but vibrant Armenian community producing delicious food that makes a wonderful change to pizza and pasta. The Middle Eastern influenced mezze at Sarkis restaurant almost made us cry with joy. There’s a huge vegetarian selection of flavour-packed dishes including mashed red peppers with walnuts, grilled aubergine in herbs and it’s the only place in the city we’ve found feta cheese. Mmm, heaven…

Read more about our favourite vegetarian restaurants in Buenos Aires.

Trail Wallet

What are your favourite things to eat in Buenos Aires? Leave a comment and let us know!

36 thoughts on Top 10 Foods to Eat in Buenos Aires That Are NOT Steak

    • It’s true – the sweet things are the highlight. The food does tend to be quite simple – we are missing spices a bit so were excited to find the Armenian restaurants and delis for some new flavours. We’ve also found some great veggie restaurants for something more unusual.

  1. Erin, glad to see someone promoting BsAs’ options for veggies. I ate quite well there!
    However, something important is missing!!! Volcán de chocolate. It’s not Argentinian (but neither is pizza etc. :P ) but this dessert was in several places and drove me absolutely crazy for a fix!! Best dessert in the universe <3
    If it wasn't for intensive tango lessons I would have left BsAs a big fat sphere from all those volcanes :D
    .-= Benny the Irish polyglot´s last blog ..Busuu & LiveMocha: review of pros and cons =-.

  2. Hey Benny! Mmm, volcán de chocolate sounds amazing and right up our street. We haven’t seen it anywhere though so will have to go on a mission in our last 10 days here to find it! Thanks for the tip.

  3. Wondering how WordPress is better than blogger I arrived here.
    I’m from Buenos Aires, and i’m glad you liked food here… Good Luck!

  4. I find the quality of the food in Buenos Aires rock bottom low. I find the food dull, repetitive and boring. I notice you ate with the upper class, not just the upper middle class, but the rich class. I suppose the food is fantastic around Central Park in NYC or Bevery Hills and such places in California. This is a very poor country with more arrogance than money. Food dull and boring, limited and poor quality.

  5. Darin is a bit dramatic but it’s true that the food tends to be plain and repetitive. What surprises me is that some people like the sweets here. I find the bakeries AWFUL. Tasteless, hard crust, artificial ingredients. Yuck. No comparison with what you find in Europe or even big US cities like New York.

  6. Great post but for me, most of those receipts are delicious but still they are not real food, Argentina has many different plates of Andean cuisine that are not so popular, for example Locro soup is one of my favorites, Argentinean Tamal, the Humita or the Mote are all traditional from the Andes, probably less popular in Buenos Aires, but still at Palermo Soho you will find a couple of great Argentinean food that is not only asado pizza or pasta.

    Happy travels!

      • I don’t know as much abt food in BsAs, but here in the NE of Argentina you can find a vegetarian version of locro called gaushalocro. Much lighter.

        Aside from that, yes, you vegetarian folk will have a slightly harder time finding food here in Salta. That’s one big reason we make our own food 99% of the time and tend to only go out when people are visiting.

        The fruits and vegetables in the markets here are incredible and all grown locally. You can find just about anything you need to make, well, anything.

        Couchsurfing here has started a monthly international dinner. Our first one was Chinese food. The next one is Mexican. The market hasn’t let us down.

        xoL

        • Oooh, really excited to try a veggie locro! I’m very aware that our list isn’t very traditional. I hope we get to Salta in time for the Mexican dinner. We just had a great Mexican meal with our first couchsurfing host here in Paraguay – lots of fun and it’s wonderful to have some spicy food.

  7. PROVOLETA!! fried provolone queso with a little pimiento on top. Good ones at La Estancia–actually, everywhere.
    My husband is from Bariloche. I write for Fodor’s Argentina and Patagonia GUides. We go to Argentina every year–always staying in different varrios. We loved your story about the waiter!
    Eddy

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  9. You must try FREDDO ice-cream… The ice-cream is out of this world!!
    They have a store in UK called FREGGO (Piccadilly Circus Tube – Swallow St)

  10. Not that it’s particularly Argentinean, I’m addicted to the whole grain bakery chain Hausbrot. You can get the whole grain version of most of the traditional goodies (like pastries and empanadas), and other not-so-traditional things like rye bread!

  11. hola!..yo soy de buenos aires…alguna ves comió “bolas de fraile”..son riquísimos.!!!…que contienen dulce de leche…se los recomiendo..

  12. well that’s right but you need visit the city of Rosario in Argentina is the really most beautiful city that i’ve seen there. is amazing, just recommended.

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