Bodegones in Buenos Aires: Dine Like a Local

If you’re planning on what to eat in Buenos Aires, I’m sure you have steak and empanadas on your to do list, but if you want the authentic Porteño experience, you need to hit up a bodegon.

Bode-que?

This is where you can eat like a local with affordable, high quality dishes in always generous portions.

As the locals say, they are bueno, bonito, y barato (good, pretty, & cheap).

This article is my love letter to the best bodegones in Buenos Aires, veritable dining institutions and living museums.

Keep reading to learn what a bodegones are, what you should order there, and of course, to find a list of the top Buenos Aires bodegones.

QUICK NOTE: This post contains affiliate links and Sol Salute may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, at no extra cost to you.

What is an Argentine Bodegon?

Bodegones in Buenos Aires are living museums.

You’re going walk in and likely see one or many of the following: shelves of canned goods and wine covering entire walls, football banners, legs of ham dangling over the bar and old school waiters in crisp white shirts with black aprons who seem to have worked there ever since the restaurant opened 80 years ago (how? we’ll never know).

The food feels homecooked.

It is warm and inviting.

Portions are large and the prices are low.

What to order at a Bodegon in Buenos Aires

The menu at a bodegon typically features a spread of traditional Argentine dishes reflecting the effect of Buenos Aires’ historic waves of immigration.

Food is simple and no frills.

Menus are long, the closest thing you’ll find to the length of a Cheesecake Factory menu in Argentina.

With so much variety you can expect to find something for even the pickiest of eaters in a bodegon.

Greasy milanesas and fresh pasta are staples at bodegones in Buenos Aires, as are soda sifons!

Greasy spoon dishes like fried milanesas are always a staple and a safe option.

You’ll see Italy’s presence with house made fresh pastas.

Spain shows up with tortillas (best ordered “bien babé” for a perfectly cooked runny egg tortilla), rabas (calamari), oxtail, lentil stew and jamon iberico.

Sometimes Germany even shows up with a strudel on the dessert menu but you’ll always find a traditional flan mixto.

For a criollo dish (traditionally Argentine), order puchero or locro stew to warm up on a cold wintery day.

On a budget? Visit for lunch and order the plato/menu del dia.

The Best Bodegones in Buenos Aires

Here is a short sampling of the best bodegones in Buenos Aires, including my favorites and some that I’m still dying to try.

El Obrero

📍Agustín R. Caffarena 64, La Boca
📞Instagram, Open only for dinners, Tuesday-Saturday. Call 4362-9912 to reserve (highly recommended).

El Obrero has long been my favorite bodegon in Buenos Aires.

Operating since 1954, the interior is lined with chalkboard menus offering a seemingly impossibly long list of dishes and specials.

The walls are filled with photos of past celebrity diners and football memorabilia.

It’s located in La Boca but far from the tourist strip that is the Caminito. It is across the street from the cultural center Usina del Arte.

It used to be open for lunch and dinner but after an unfortunate closure during the pandemic, it re-opened only for dinners. I used to go here all the time but have had a hard time getting here since they’ve been operating only at night.

The area is generally safe but it’s always best to be careful in La Boca. With dinners going so late, take a taxi or uber and avoid wandering.

Pasaje Cantina, Villa Crespo

📍Rojas 2050, Villa Crespo
📞Open Monday-Friday from 8 am to 4 pm, closed on weekends and holidays.

Pasaje Cantina has to be the most charming bodegon I have been to yet due to its owners – two abuelas from Uruguay – who are responsible for the nickname El Bodegon de las Abuelas.

I only visited for dessert after eating lunch just down the block at Madre Rojas (one of the best Buenos Aires steakhouses) and had a spectacular flan. I’m picky with my flan (as my husband makes the absolute best) but these abuelas don’t mess around.

Check their Instagram stories to see the daily specials and charming videos of Carmen cooking up each day’s meal.

Miramar, San Cristobal

📍Av. San Juan 1999, San Cristobal
📞Call 4304 4261 for reservations, open 7 days a week from 8 am to 1 am.

Miramar is a rotisserie in San Cristobal, a short jump via taxi from the Obelisco or San Telmo.

In just a few minutes’ drive you’ll be far from the tourist beaten path and well rewarded for the effort.

Check their Instagram for daily specials.

I ordered the daily lunch special of pollo al verdeo – chicken in a creamy green onion sauce – and it was *chef’s kiss*.

Since going I’ve been told by many friends all the other things you should order here (all different, which hints that perhaps the entire menu is top notch), but to follow their advice order the oxtail (rabo de toro), tortilla española, and calamari.

I’ve heard that the caracoles are another house specialty but I am not that adventurous.

The space is frozen in time and I recommend going for an early lunch if you want to photograph the space without many people in your shot. I had the place to myself at noon.

The walls of wine bottles, hanging charcuterie, and antiques… it’s beautiful. And the waiters don’t mind your gawking.

NOTE: Miramar has been operating since 1950 but before that this space housed a famous hat factory (frequented by Carlos Gardel) and many of the fixtures date back to the factory, beyond the restaurant.

Albamonte

📍Av. Corrientes 6735, Chacarita
📞11-6478-6720 via Whatsapp or call 4553-2400 / 4554-4486, Closed Mondays

In a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, you can find the original authenticity of old school Chacarita at Albamonte, an institution in the neighborhood.

While other bodegons in this list ooze charm, Albamonte’s decor may lack flair, but the dishes and its reputation speak for itself.

No frills but full on flavor, the specialty of the house here is pasta, with their fusilli al fierrito being the standout among other staples like ravioles, sorrentinos, and canelones.

Manolo

📍Bolívar 1299 (esquina Cochabamba)
📞Reservations via WhatsAp +54 9 11 5810 8643

In the heart of San Telmo, Manolo is a classic Buenos Aires bodegon famous for its milanesas.

The small interior is full of all the classics – football banners, photos of celebrity clientele and signed jerseys and old school waiters.

Make a reservation to dine inside or on the sidewalk.

Among the milanesas they claim are the best in the barrio, try the tortilla, pastas, and other bodegon staples.

They have free parking for up to two hours in a lot one block away. Check their Instagram story highlights for menu, parking information, etc.

El Preferido de Palermo

📍Jorge Luis Borges 2108, Palermo
📞Reserve well in advance via Meitre, they fill up months in advance or book the premium version of the Sherpa Food Tour

Forget everything I said about no frills and low cost, El Preferido de Palermo, in Palermo Soho, is anything but.

Originally opening in 1952 by a couple from Asturias as a general store, as an “almacen” it was common for people to hang around and drink a vermouth. Eventually, homemade food was added to the menu and El Preferido de Palermo grew into one of the city’s best bodegones.

For decades the restaurant retained the vibe of a historic almacen with jars of pickled vegetables and drinks lining the walls.

Tall tables were a harsh orange with green stools and stand out dishes were Spanish, like its owners.

In 2018, to the horror of die hard loyalists, El Preferido closed its doors but not for long.

The original El Preferido de Palermo’s interior, the layout is the same but gone are the colorful tables.

Pablo Rivero, the head of the Michelin-starred parrilla Don Julio, took over the helm and completely re-made El Preferido while aiming to keep as much as the original essence as possible.

Today you’ll find the same menu you’ll find at every bodegon but with a quality of preparation and ingredients that’s closer to fine dining than greasy spoon.

It is traditional food done extremely well and it deserves its Michelin guide recognition. The milanesa is a favorite of mine (despite the hit to the wallet) but you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.

Read More to Eat Well in Buenos Aires

It’s no secret I love a good meal and my Google map is covered in starred restaurants on my to try list.

As I eat my way through the city, I write guides to help you do the same:

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. I recommend this E-SIM card. It’s hassle-free and affordable, for more read how to get an Argentina sim card.
  • 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, I’ve always used rentalcars.com, now they are operating under the umbrella of Booking.com’s car rental system.
  • BUS TICKETS | Check Busbud for long distance bus routes and tickets.
  • 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).
  • BOOK A CONSULTATION | 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.

Leave a Comment