Five ways to enjoy milanesas, Argentina’s favorite dish

Do you prefer beef or chicken milanesas — and is eating milanesa with pasta a food crime? Read on to find out

Milanesa is every Argentine’s favorite. Period. A local — and cheaper — version of the Italian cotoletta alla milanese, Argentine milanesas are timeless, versatile…and ubiquitous. A thin slice of beef dipped in egg, parsley and garlic, then breaded, it’s one of the nation’s most typical meals. Think, like the German schnitzel, only better — and yes, we’ll fight you on that one. 

This beloved dish is also the object of constant debates: beef milanesa or chicken milanesa? Is eggplant milanesa a real milanesa? Your answer determines your personality. 

So whether you’re an Argentine wanting to celebrate your country’s cuisine or a digital nomad trying to understand Buenos Aires’ obsession with milanesas, here are the Herald’s favorite ways to eat milanesa.

Milanesa with mashed potatoes

An all-time classic. This combination accompanied every Argentine through their childhood — and adulthood. Whenever a peckish porteño doesn’t know what to make for dinner, milanesas with mashed potatoes is the right answer. But beware: there is no universally-accepted way to cook this. It is so integral to Argentine culture that everyone has their own personal twists. The consistency of the mash varies. The exact ingredients of the egg batter are closely-guarded family secrets. Milanesas con puré, as they’re called in Spanish, are every Argentine’s best friend.

Milanesa with french fries

The twin of milanesa con puré. Whenever you think of your common-and-garden milanesa with a side, french fries spring to mind. These fried delights represent what going to grandma’s with your family feels like, or the dish you choose at a bodegón after watching your team win a game. There are some popular variants on this: if the fries come with fried eggs on top, you have a milanesa a caballo (milanesa on a horse). The egg yolk can be used as a dip for your fries, or in true porteño style, the fries can be turned into a revuelto de gramajo, meaning they’re cooked with ham and egg. 

Milanesa napolitana with fries. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Milanesa sandwich

Tucuman’s pride and joy and a popular street food nationwide. Sandwiches are a great way of using leftover milanesas — but it’s also a dish in its own right. Normally, they include milanesa, lettuce, tomato, ham and cheese, but in reality, you can put anything you like in a sandwich de mila — the only limits are your imagination. A poolside classic at grandma’s, they taste best in summer, since a plate of hot, stodgy mash isn’t so appealing when it’s 39°C. 

You may also be interested in: Herald favorites: parrillas around Buenos Aires

Milanesa napolitana 

Like the cool remix of a song you’ve always loved, this one’s a favorite. Legend has it this variant on the milanesa was created in the 1940s at a restaurant in front of Luna Park stadium owned by Señor Napoli, hence its name. After burning one of their milanesas, the cooks allegedly hid the burnt taste with ham, cheese and tomato sauce. It’s a very rich dish, which makes it perfect for sharing. Our recommendation? Order your milanesa napolitana suprema — aka a chicken Milanesa. It accentuates the flavor. 

Milanesa with spaghetti

Controversially, an increasingly popular way to eat milanesa is with spaghetti. This dish combines the best of Italian cuisine: pasta and milanesa. Normally, the spaghetti is served with cream or butter. It has boomed in Buenos Aires recently, even in trendy places like Manteca and Oporto Almacén, but it’s been a household staple forever. If you ask an Argentine kid what they want to eat, they’ll tell you milanesa with spaghetti!


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