Kiwi food YouTubers Thomas & Sheena Southam are on an eternal quest to find the most delicious local food the world has to offer. This week, they check out the best bites in Buenos Aires.
Wander the streets of Buenos Aires for an hour or so and you'll find yourself falling head over heels in love with this city. Its grand European architecture and passionate people are utterly charming. And when it comes to food, let's just say, if steak and red wine are your thing, you might never leave.
When in Argentina you'll eat a lot of asado - barbecue - it's a serious part of the food culture here. But there are a number of other dishes and food experiences that are worth hunting down besides the obvious. Here are a few of our favourites to get you started …
1. Medialuna and coffee at Cafe Tortoni
Typically, Argentinians don't really do breakfast. They might eat some fruit and drink some Yerba mate (a type of tea) but a day's eating usually revolves around indulging in a big lunch and a late and even bigger dinner. We're usually advocates of following the lead of the locals but you need fuel if you're going to be pounding the streets so we're making an exception.
Jump in a cab or catch the metro to Cafe Tortoni, the oldest cafe in the city. Opened in 1858, Cafe Tortoni was a meeting place for the cultural elite: a spot where writers, painters, musicians and politicians would congregate. This classic porteno (the name for Buenos Aires locals) cafe is the perfect spot to sip a coffee and nibble on a medialuna (croissant) while admiring the $1.4 million Tiffany glass ceiling and historical photos that line the walls.
Eat at: Cafe Tortoni, Av. de Mayo 825, C1084 CABA. Open Monday to Saturday 8:00am to 1:00am and Sunday 9:00am to 1:00am.
2. Pizza at El Cuartito
Argentina has seen many waves of Italian immigrants and pizza is firmly embedded as one of the nation's staples. Unassuming from the outside, fling open the door to El Cuartito and you'll find yourself enveloped by activity, noisy chatter, walls festooned with sports memorabilia and the mouth-watering smell of dough baking in the oven.
If you're after just a quick snack, order by the slice and eat at the counter. Or, if you're in for a long lunch nab a table, order a litre of Quilmes (the Budweiser of Argentina) and prepare to enter pizza paradise. You have to eat the fuggazetta - a thick but pillowy base covered in an inch of creamy mozzarella topped with sweet slices of roasted onion. Not a week goes by where we don't reminisce about this pizza - it's life changing.
Eat at: El Cuartito, Talcahuano 937, C1013AAS CABA. Open Tuesday to Sunday 12:30pm until late.
3. Choripan at Nuestra Parilla
The go-to street snack of Buenos Aires is undoubtedly the choripan. Take a crusty bread roll and fill it with a smoky chorizo sausage that's been grilled over charcoal, split lengthwise and topped with chimichurri - a pungent sauce made of chopped parsley, garlic, olive oil, oregano and red wine vinegar. It's your classic sausage sizzle on steroids. You'll find Nuestra Parilla on the fringes of San Telmo market so it's the ideal spot to fuel up before you hit the shopping. However, whether you'll eat or not is up to the gods - Freddy, the asado master, is not big on set opening hours. Start praying now!
Eat at: Nuestra Parilla, Bolivar 950, San Telmo. Generally open from 1:30pm to 5:30pm and 8:30pm to midnight.
4. Helado at Tufic
Another culinary tradition the Italians brought with them - the art of making helado (icecream) - is one Portenos are obsessed with. There is a heladeria on every street corner and few evenings will pass without it ending with helado. Tufic, in the eclectic neighbourhood of Palermo, is serious about their ingredients, with many imported from Italy. The dulce de leche - a rich, smooth caramel - is a must eat. It's the quintessential Argentine helado flavour.
Eat at: Tufic, Guatemala 4597, C1425BUI CABA. Open daily 11:00am to 1:00am.