Last week, Yelp revealed its “Argentine Top 100”, featuring what users of the world famous online guide believe to be the 100 best restaurants in Argentina. The Bubble has crunched the numbers (and some papas) to bring you the results in all their delicious context. Get your eating pants ready because we have some ground to cover.
Gourmet Fast Food Reigns Queen
It is undeniable. This summer Buenos Aires was invaded by burgers. While we all love a classic bacon cheeseburger, many of the menus are heavily lacking on creativity. There are though those few special spots that have managed to turn a simple fast food dish into a nearly gourmet experience. And Yelp users have been fast to acknowledge this. Caballito’s Tierra de Nadie – which hosts pop-up dinners where guest chefs create their own recipes – appears on the 7th place, while Palermo’s pioneer and old time favorite Burger Joint makes it to the 13th spot. Later on, downtown’s Dellepiane (33) and 180 Burger (38) – where you actually get to choose among dozens of toppings to upgrade your burger – make their appearance, proving you can get great quality away from Palermo.
Yelp users have began to understand that gourmet fast food, at least the less annoying aspects of the trend, doesn’t stop at burgers. Hot dog masters Dogg House, beat Burger Joint and make it to the 12th place, while Cajun delight Nola and its addictive chicken sandwich close the Top 20. La Cresta appears twice on the listing (places 22 and 47) with both its Almagro and San Telmo branches. It seems like their wraps and apanado zucchini have (rightfully) stolen the heart of many Yelpers. El Tejano is no longer Palermo’s little secret, as it’s been listed on the 32nd place. Who could resist those finger-licking-good Texas style ribs? Finally, we’ve deduced that the Porteño palate must be gaining some tolerance to spicy food as Banco Rojo and its killer sauces have also grabbed a place on the Top 50.
Parrillas, and other Argentine clásicos are unbeatable…
An Argentine Top 50 wouldn’t be complete without some classical Parrillas. So which do Yelp users think are the best? Surprisingly La Carniceria – Palermo’s modern parrilla – has taken the first place of the entire ranking. Are porteños looking for novelties in their meaty safe zone? Possibly, but not totally, as downtown’s classic but discrete Parrilla Peña is listed at number 3 out of 100, and followed by one of the region’s top restaurants according to Latin America’s 50 Best: Don Julio. Later on, parrillas seem to get beaten by fast food joints until the 36th position where Four Season’s Elena makes its appearance. Headed by aged meat magician Chef Juan Gaffuri, Elena Restaurante also occupies a place among LatAm’s 50 best.
But parrillas aren’t the only clásicos that Argentines seem to be craving. Bodegones, pizzerias and regional bistros also occupy a big place in the hearts and bellies of many an Argentine. Palermo’s bodega Peron Peron was listed at the 5th place. Maybe it’s modern and original peronist militancy – peronist chants will be played and sang by the crowd several times during the evening – were responsible for taking it into the Top 5. Or was it its killer lamb and ossobuco empanadas? Corrientes old time favorite Pizzeria Güerrin occupies the 10th place, followed by Villa Ortuzar’s La Mezzeta, proving Yelpers are all about musarela… Even when it comes inside the crust, as it does at Pizzeria Monzú (14), along with dozens of other crazy fillings such as chorizo or guacamole.
Eastern flavors are gaining ground
Listed second on the rank is no other than Villa Crespo’s Sarkis (best restaurant in Buenos Aires according to Guia Oleo’s users) where every night of the week dozens of people would line up waiting to get a table and give that fierrito de cordero a try. Listed on the 6th position is little Palermo Hollywood ramen paradise: Fukuro Noodle Bar. Order pork buns as a starter and have a cold pint of craft beer on the side while you order your favorite version of this Japanese delight. Further down on the listing is popular Comedor Nikkai, San Telmo’s favorite Japanese secret, a place acknowledge for the authenticity of its menu. Peruvian & Japanese seem to be a popular fusion these days, and Yelp’s listing seems to confirm its popularity among porteños. Recoleta’s La Causa Nikkei and Palermo’s Osaka represent this culinary trend on the listing.
A trip to Córdoba could soon be mandatory
Yelp’s Top 100 is composed of by a majority of Buenos Aires bistros, but Córdoba comes second featuring almost 18 restaurants. The conclusion here is clear : if you ever get bored with the porteño food scene, planning a weekend trip to Córdoba might be a great solution. Fast food joint Grabeat appears on the 9th position of the listing, and its pork shoulder wraps or double meat burgers with homemade bread sound promising enough. The 24th position of the listing is occupied by Al Sahara, a place described as “an Arab paradise” by several Yelpers. Its “picada Arabe” composed of hummus, babaganoush, hojas de parra, cooked and raw keppe among many other treats, seems like a perfectly good reason to plan a weekend getaway to Córdoba.