Eating a good cut of beef in one of the city’s many, many, many parrillas (the local name for the best steakhouses in Buenos Aires) is a quintessential Argentine experience.
But if you’re a Buenos Aires steak novice, it can be a bit overwhelming.
What cut of meat should you order, how do you order it, and where should you go?
Starting with a list of the top 10 Buenos Aires parrillas, keep reading for a guide on navigating the menu and tips to eat like a local.
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Steak in Buenos Aires 101
Beef has played an integral role in Argentina’s history since the conquistadors first brought cattle to the country in the 16th century.
Fast forward a few centuries and steak remains emblematic of the local culture.
Gauchos, palatial ranch estates, weekly family barbecues, steakhouses, and a powerful export all represent the importance of red meat in Argentina’s culture and economy.
All of the best travel shows about food and South America include Argentine beef.
So when in Buenos Aires one, of course, eats their weight in steak.
This post will guide you to the best experience possible, teaching you how to order like a local and the best parrillas in Buenos Aires.
The Best Steak Tours & Experiences
Keep reading for a list of the best restaurants, but don’t sleep on a good food tour or more elevated experience.
There are plenty to choose from and they will take your time in Buenos Aires to the next level.
- Asado Adventure: The only ticket to a backyard barbecue (asado), this is ideal for families or friends and is a great full day experience, use code SOLSALUTE for 10% off
- Food tour: Frank with AsadoAdventure above also does an incredible Palermo Viejo food tour to hidden spots with a ton of history mixed in
- FOGON Asado: An asado turned 8 course fine dining experience. One of the best meals I’ve ever had here. Best for couples or a couple friends.
- Parrilla Tour: This is a steakhouse focused food tour, hopping to different steakhouses for each course.
Parrilla or Asado
First on our steak vocab lesson, what’s the difference between a parrilla and an asado?
One is a place and a thing, the other is an event.
A parrilla is the name for the restaurant and also the grill itself. If you want to eat at a Buenos Aires steakhouse, that’s a parrilla.
The meat will then be grilled on the parrilla, the grill.
You’ll see meat and chicken on the menu as “a la parrilla” (basically, grilled chicken).
An asado is the EVENT of a barbecue at someone’s home.
They will host the asado by grilling the meat on their parrilla.
(Asado is also a cut of meat. Tira de asado is ribs and tapa de asado is brisket.)
Families traditionally spend every Sunday together for a weekly meal, typically an afternoon asado.
Asados are enjoyed with friends and loved ones and can last hours, as they savor the meat (with plenty of Malbec to wash it down).
How to Attend an Asado
If you want to experience a backyard asado like a local, the Asado Adventure is the absolute best way.
An experience like this is the only ticket to an asado if you don’t have a local friend to invite you to their home.
You’ll see how it’s done, learn the recipes, and best of all, eat a lot of meat.
Unless you have Argentine friends of your own to grill for you, this is the only way to experience an authentic asado.
And I highly recommend it if you consider yourself a foodie, there’s nothing like it.
Along with red meat and wine, ice cream is also a staple in the Argentine diet. Read all about ice cream in Argentina here, because it will likely be your dessert at the asado!
The Parrilla List: The Best Steakhouses in Buenos Aires
Now that you know what to order, maybe you’re wondering where to go with all that knowledge (and hunger).
There are a lot of Buenos Aires steakhouses to choose from (understatement of the year), so here’s a list of my personal favorites, the best parrillas in Buenos Aires.
📍Desnivel, Defensa 855, San Telmo
Desnivel is my personal favorite Buenos Aires parrilla. We go way back.
It’s where I had my first Argentine steak on vacation here thirteen years ago.
Then when I moved to Buenos Aires I lived just two blocks away.
And it passed the important test of impressing the countless carnivorous Texans I’ve brought here over the years.
It’s brightly lit with florescent lights, it’s touristy, and the friendliness of the waiters can be hit or miss. But the food is incredible.
Don’t let the tourists deter you, it’s not a tourist trap, Desnivel is damn good.
What to order: Start the meal with a meat empanada (they’re huge, flavorful, and juicy!). My favorite dish here is the lomo (tenderloin). I prefer the lomo a la mostaza (served with a creamy mustard sauce). My husband and father both love the lomo a la pimienta negra (with a peppercorn sauce).
Desnivel Pro tip: Desnivel is on Defensa Street, right in the heart of the action during the Sunday San Telmo market. Go straight to the counter and order empanadas, a choripan (chorizo sandwich) or a lomito (steak sandwich) to go.
2. La Brigada
📍La Brigada, Estados Unidos 465, San Telmo
La Brigada is one of the city’s most popular parrillas.
Celebrities often visit for their steak fix when in town and it’s said to be a personal favorite of Francis Ford Coppola.
La Brigada is just around the corner from Desnivel so you can compare the menu and crowds at each one and decide.
The interior is heavy on the ambience with futbol/soccer paraphernalia wallpapering the walls.
It feels fancier than its neighbor Desnivel and level the service is a bit better.
What to order: Any cut here will be delicious and tender, I particularly loved their bife de chorizo.
Their big gimmick is slicing the steak with a spoon as they serve it to prove its tenderness.
3. Don Julio
📍 Don Julio, Guatemala 4699, Palermo
Don Julio is consistently included in the list of the top 50 restaurants in South America and the top restaurant in Buenos Aires.
Reservations are a must. They open seats three months out and it fills immediately.
If you don’t have a reservation, you can always go and wait for a table (just prepare for a long wait).
If you do this, go at off times like late in the night (who doesn’t want an 11 pm steak?) or better yet, lunch.
Reserve on their website here.
I always eat here for lunch to really avoid the crowds, it’s much more peaceful at midday (you can reserve for lunch as well).
What to order: Everything. Their entraña (skirt steak) is particularly tender for that cut. My friend is a big fan of their enormous ojo de bife.
The veggie sides are excellent as well, I love their grilled broccoli. When in season, don’t miss their heirloom tomatoes.
Splurge on wine from their great wine list and see if you can sign the bottle after to add the collection lining their walls.
4. La Cabrera
📍 La Cabrera, José A. Cabrera 5099, Palermo
La Cabrera is the other beef powerhouse in Palermo Soho. It gets crowded at night so expect a wait without a reservation.
Pro tip: Take advantage of their happy hour. Dine between the early bird hours of 6:30-8 pm and get 40% off the bill.
Final seating is at 7:15 but definitely show up right at 6:30 so you don’t have to rush (you have to be out by 8).
5. El Pobre Luis
📍El Pobre Luis, Arribeños 2393, Belgrano
Finally venturing out of tourist territory, El Pobre Luis is in the northern barrio of Belgrano (just a block from Chinatown).
This Buenos Aires parrilla is hugely popular with the locals so I recommend reservations or showing up right when they open at 8 pm (they don’t open for lunch).
What to order: The founder, Luis, was Uruguayan. Try the pamplonas to try a Uruguayan specialty (beef or chicken rolled around cheese, olives, ham and bell pepper).
Order the mollejas and riñones to start. Also, portions are huge! So keep that in mind when ordering.
6. La Escondida
📍La Escondida, Arcos 3220, Núñez
La Escondida is another local spot in Nunez. The meat is good but not the best, it’s an average neighborhood parrilla. But I love it.
I love the ambiance of their outdoor patio. They also have a huge salad bar (a rarity in Argentina).
What to order: It’s all good, but make sure to order the salad bar and go to town for your entrada and sides.
7. El Ferroviario
📍El Ferroviario, Av. Reservistas Argentinos 125, Liniers
El Ferroviario is all the way in the neighborhood of Liniers, on the western edge of the city.
It’s massively popular with families coming in from the province.
Don’t let it being off the tourist path fool you.
Call ahead for a reservation or show up before they open to wait for a table. It can sit 300 (with additional outdoor seating on weekends) and it still has long waits!
This is a classic, no frills bodegón, hidden away under a highway overpass.
If you’ve never been before, take a taxi (and definitely if you’re not familiar with the language or city). This isn’t an area you want to get lost in.
What to order: Try the tenedor libre (all you can eat) to try quite literally everything.
Eat bottomless empanadas, fries, and all the cuts of meat you want. You’ll have to be rolled out afterwards.
8. Lo de Charly
📍 Lo de Charly, Av. Álvarez Thomas 2101, Villa Ortuzar
Lo de Charly is an institution, open 24/7, they never put out the fire.
A bit drunk from your late night boliche? Lo de Charly has your back with a 5 am choripan.
The quality may not be up to Don Julio standards but the experience won’t disappoint.
What to order: A late night sandwich or for lunch, try their parrillada (a variety of meats served up on a small sizzling grill right on the table).
9. Parrilla Peña
📍Parrilla Peña, Rodriguez Peña 682, San Nicolas
This Buenos Aires steakhouse is a downtown institution.
You will 100% feel like a local dining here. It is no frills.
When you sit down you get a free empanada, always a good way to start the meal.
Whether you order steak (as you should) or the housemade pasta, keep in mind that portions are huge.
Plan to share.
And despite the huge portions, save room for dessert. The flan here is one of the best in town.
10. Madre Rojas
📍Madre Rojas, Madre Rojas 1600, Villa Crespo
Madre Rojas is a newer parrilla in Buenos Aires, in the more residential area of Villa Crespo.
The menu (style and quality) gives me serious Don Julio vibes but in a small understated space.
Quality is excellent here, order plates to share so you can try more. We loved the in season heirloom tomatoes and the fries (fried to perfection, not greasy fries, you know what I mean, right?).
Reservations are a good idea but not a requirement, especially depending on when you go. We went right at noon on a weekday for lunch and practically had the place to ourselves.
11. Corte Comedor
📍Corte Comedor, Olazábal 1391, Belgrano
Another modern, casual parrilla, it may be newer than the classics but it quickly rose to the top of every steakhouse in Buenos Aires list.
It’s the only one of this list I have yet to try, don’t ask me how (not for lack of interest). One day, Corte, one day.
They have a sister restaurant dedicated to charcuterie, Corte Charcuteria, which is also after my own salami and cheese loving heart.
Cuts of Meat in Argentina: Navigate the Menu
You’ve found yourself in one of the many excellent Buenos Aires parrillas listed above.
The menu is splayed in front of you.
Here’s what to order, how, and when.
First, order some wine!
Live a little.
Splurge and get a great bottle of malbec for a fraction of what it would cost in the US or Europe.
For a unique experience, order a pingüino.
House wines sometimes come in bulk (usually in a five liter bottle called a dama juana).
Ordering a pingüino (of red or white, no pretensions of varietals here) will bring you a liter of house wine in a pitcher in the shape of a penguin.
Pour the wine through the beak, drink up, and ponder your order.
Achuras, Chorizo, & Provoleta
First course, before the star of the show, is time for achuras.
These are served first in an asado as well as in a parrilla.
Sweet meats, blood sausage, chorizo, and other innards… pick your poison.
Since I strongly believe if you didn’t grow up eating intestines, why start now, I stick to chorizo and provoleta (melted cheese).
If you feel more adventurous than me, then here’s an achuras vocabulary list to help navigate the menu:
- Chorizo: sausage
- Morcilla: blood sausage
- Chinchulines: lower intestines
- Mollejas: sweetbreads
- Riñones: kidneys
- Provoleta: a small wheel of cheese melted to perfection over the grill. Eat it fast before it cools!
Read Next | Traditional Argentina Foods You HAVE to Try
This is what you came for, the main dish, the star of not only the show but an entire country.
Cuts of beef here are slightly different than in the US.
Cuts are similar but not always exactly the same.
And when eating at an asado, you’ll see enormous hunks of meat get tossed on the grill, only to be carved up at the table.
Forget the individualistic mindset, this is a communal table.
But you’re not at an asado, you’re in a parrilla with that menu still spread out in front of you.
What to order?
Here’s a helpful list of the best cuts of steak in Argentina…
Cuts of Steak in Argentina
- Entraña: skirt steak
- Bife de chorizo: sirloin, the most popular cut of Argentina steak and a fail safe. You can’t go wrong ordering a bife de chorizo.
- Lomo: tenderloin, one of the most expensive cuts, lomo is lean and tender.
- Vacio: a flank steak typical of Argentina, with a layer of fat that adds quite a bit of flavor.
- Tira de asado: rack of ribs
- Ojo de bife: rib eye
- Cuadril: rump steak
- Bife angosto: strip steak
- Matambre: flank steak
- Tapa de asado: brisket
To be honest, this list could go on and on.
Argentines and their beef, but this list includes the most popular cuts and will definitely help you order the best dinner possible!
MENU TIP: In Argentina, steaks tend to stand alone on the menu. Order your meat and order your sides separately.
Still can’t decide? Order a parrillada!
A parrillada is a platter that allows you to try a variety of cuts at once.
It’s typically served on a tiny grill that keeps the meat sizzling hot right on the table.
A parrillada is a lot of meat so it’s not for the faint of heart or the solo diner.
Order a parrillada with a table-full of like-minded hungry friends for the best experience.
Like one cut in particular out of the mountain of meat?
Just ask the waiter what it was and go straight for that steak next time.
How to order steak in Argentina – Rare or well done?
Argentines tend to prefer well done and overcook their meat.
I’m as baffled as you are.
How can the country famous for its beef mistreat it so?
So if you prefer a little pink or for your steak to practically moo from the plate, here’s how to order it:
- Vuelta y vuelta: rare, basically, you’re telling them to just let it touch the pan, flip it, touch the pan and serve it. Accompany the words with the hand gesture of flipping your palm up to palm down for extra effect.
- Jugoso: medium-rare, I see most tourists make their mistake here, ordering jugoso and expecting fully rare. So I repeat, vuelta y vuelta is what to say if you want what Americans define as rare.
- A punto: medium
- Pasado a punto: medium-well
- Bien cocido: well-done (WHY)
The Sauces: Chimichurri and Criolla
Argentines keep it simple with their steak.
There are no overnight marinades and there’s no coating the meat in seasoning.
Just coarse salt to keep it moist and straight to the grill it goes.
And on the table it’s simple as well, with only two iconic sauces: chimichurri and salsa criolla.
Chimichurri is a table sauce here in Argentina made of dried and fresh herbs, spices, red pepper flakes, and oil.
Salsa Criolla is even simpler. It’s minced onions, red bell pepper and tomato with vinegar.
The best vessel for these two sauces is a choripan (chorizo and crusty bread sandwich).
Heavily douse the butterfly cut sausage in both sauces and enjoy!
I hope you saved room for dessert, which is just as heavy as the rest of the meal.
Argentines have quite the sweet tooth. Order some flan, dulce de leche filled pancakes, or bread pudding!
Whatever you eat will likely be dished up with a generous dollop of dulce de leche on the side (order it mixto have it include a dollop of cream as well).
Read my guide to the best desserts in Argentina here.
You have the vocab. You know what to order. And you know where to order it.
I hope you enjoy eating some of the world’s best steak in Buenos Aires!
In a city with thousands of steakhouses, it impossible to include them all. Did I miss your favorite? Tell me in the comments!
Argentina Travel Resources
- TRAVEL INSURANCE | It is always a good idea to travel insured. It protects you in so many cases, like lost luggage and trip cancellations, medical emergencies and evacuations. It’s very affordable with the potential to save you thousands in the case of an emergency. I recommend SafetyWing.
- PHONE PLAN | These days, traveling with data is essential. Especially in Argentina where everything is managed on Instagram and WhatsApp. Purchasing a local SIM card can be tricky without a local ID, I recommend this E-SIM card. It’s hassle-free and affordable. If you have an older phone that doesn’t support E-SIM, check out DrimSim for a physical sim card alternative.
- ACCOMMODATION IN ARGENTINA | booking.com is the most common hotel site used in Argentina and it’s where you’ll find the most options.
- RENTAL CARS | I love to travel Argentina via road trip, check out RentalCars.com for the best rates for rental cars here.
- VPN | If you’ll be using a public WiFi connection and want to secure your data, I highly recommend using a VPN, I personally use and have had a good experience with ExpressVPN. I also use it to access Hulu and American Netflix from Argentina.
- FLIGHTS | Always check Google Flights and Skyscanner for flights to and within Argentina. Aerolineas Argentina is the local airline with the most routes. FlyBondi and Jetsmart are two budget airlines with dirt-cheap prices (but expect to pay for every add-on like luggage).
- NEED HELP PLANNING? | I offer one-on-one travel consultations to help you plan your trip to Argentina. Pick my brain to get a local’s insight. Click here for more information.