Herald favorites: bodegones around Buenos Aires

A virtual tour of some of the best family-style restaurants scattered across the city and province

The United States has diners. Britain has cafes and greasy spoons. Argentina has bodegones — family-style restaurants that serve everything from asado and milanesas to pastas and empanadas.

The word bodegón is a derivative of the word bodega, which is Spanish for winery. But while you’re sure to find a Malbec or a Syrah at these eateries, their fare is much closer to that of a tavern, with heaping portions served on thin metal plates that keep an order of lasagna or entraña (skirt steak) piping hot.

Bodegones are also known to serve parrilladas — miniature asados of steak, chicken, and achurras (offal) that are typically shared by two or more. Often, you’re able to choose which meats you want on the grill, so fear not if you can’t stomach those globules of fat in a link of morcilla (blood sausage).

If you’re a vegetarian or simply not much of a meat lover, you’re still unlikely to go home hungry. Part of the bodegón’s charm is that its menu is the length of a Victorian novel, so there’s something for eaters of all appetites and dietary restrictions. These restaurants also showcase some of Argentina’s most delectable desserts, including local twists on old-world treats like flan and tres leches.

You’re likely to find something tasty at just about any bodegón, but several are worth a ride on the subte or a crowded trip on the bus. Here are ten of the Herald’s favorites — and a few suggestions for what you might order.

La Pipeta, near the Centro Cultural Kirchner

Our 10 favorite bodegones

El Obrero (Agustín R. Caffarena 64, 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., Monday to Saturday) — Visitors to La Boca should carve out some time for lunch or dinner at El Obrero, whose menu includes an array of seafood dishes, in addition to more traditional bodegón fare.

La Gran Taberna (Combate de los Pozos 95, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. to 12 a.m., all week) — Five blocks from the Palacio Barolo, La Gran Taberna serves an assortment of classic Spanish dishes, including paella and tortilla de papa — a potato-based omelet.

La Pipeta (San Martin 498, 11 a.m. to 12 a.m., Monday to Saturday) — A downtown favorite since 1961, La Pipeta offers an asado on par with the city’s best parrillas and a dulce de leche that’s in a class of its own. 

Cervantes (Gral. Juan Domingo Peron 1883, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., Sunday to Thursday; 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., Friday and Saturday) — Its decor leaves something to be desired, but the food can’t be beat, especially its giant milanesas.

Rondinella (Alvarez Thomas 12, 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., 8 p.m. to 12 a.m., Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday; 12 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. to 12 p.m., Saturday and Sunday) — The perfect stop after whileing away an afternoon in Colegiales’ Plaza Mafalda.  

Albamonte (Corrientes 6735, 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., Tuesday to Thursday; 12 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday to Sunday) — A Chacarita institution whose menu features an extensive selection of pastas.

El Federal (Carlos Calvo 599, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., all week) — As porteño as any establishment in the city, El Federal boasts a delicious selection of cured meats to snack on with a cold beer.

Los Bohemios (Humboldt 540, 8 p.m. to 12 a.m., Monday; 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. to 12 a.m., Tuesday to Sunday) — The destination for fans of the Club Atletico Atlanta football team and a worthy bodegón in its own right.

El Antojo (Tinogasta 3174, 12 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., all week) — This delightful bodegón in Villa del Parque won an online contest in 2017 for “best milanesa in the city.” 

El Ferroviario (Reservistas Argentinos 219, 12 p.m. to 16 p.m. and 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m., Tuesday to Sunday) — Located in Liniers, El Ferroviario bills itself as “a different place.” Anyone who has tasted its stews would agree. 

Milanesas Napolitanas at El Antojo

A few of our favorite things

The bodegón menu pretty much covers the whole of Argentine cuisine, so it’s impossible to list all of its notable dishes. Still, anyone new to these restaurants has a culinary duty to try a milanesa Napolitana — a veal cutlet smothered in melted cheese, ham and marinara sauce. Forget about all those calories; you’ve earned it.

Those looking for something to warm themselves up on a chilly winter evening might also try a guiso de lentejas (lentil stew) or locro (corn stew). Just bear in mind that both are often laden with diced chorizo (sausage) and, in the case of the latter, mondongo — a kind of rubbery tripe that is not for everybody or even most.  

Part of what makes a bodegón a bodegón is the atmosphere, which is relaxed to put it very mildly. (Good luck getting the check.) So order yourself a cortado after lunch or dinner, and savor your time with friends and loved ones. You’re in Buenos Aires, after all.


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