Florida, Corrientes, Defensa: When it comes to notable streets and avenues, Buenos Aires puts forth some heavy-hitting candidates. Egged on by insistent guidebooks, newcomers are told that if their visits to the city don’t include strolls down these thoroughfares, it was all for naught. Sure, they’re integral parts of porteño history, but they’re clearly not the end-all, be-all; at the end of the day, what makes Buenos Aires so enticing is its constant ability to reinvent itself, right?
Perhaps, then, it’s time to add another one to this Hall of Fame. One that has solidified its identity as a food and drink haven, one that encourages over-indulgence without even having to cross any major avenues, one that already runs through a neighborhood so frequented by tourists and locals it’s a treasure hidden in plain sight.
Consider Thames, the foodie street of dreams that’s keeping us fat and happy (we’re definitely not complaining). Tucked right into the heart of Palermo Soho, this little calle that could might be logged with traffic – we love you, bus line 55, but you’re killing our vibe – but it’s also jam-packed with some of the city’s best restaurants and cafés.
Read on for the can’t-miss culinary walking tour that will take you from Av. Santa Fe all the way up to Av. Córdoba, ruining your diet in the process.
La Carnicería – Thames 2317
In a city known for its meat, finding a way to do the whole “parrilla with a twist” is a tall order. Luckily for us, La Carnicería hits the nail on the head – and then some. Its tiny locale bursts at the seams night after night, serving up fresh takes on steakhouse classics, weaving in new flavor combinations and cheeky twists along the way.
The restaurant, headed up by 33 year-old Colombian Pedro Peña and Germán Sitz, develops creative menus with innovative flavors that manage to satisfy both the old-school palates and hipsters who are secretly tired of acting blasé about everything that crosses their path.
La Carnicería is without a doubt, one of the best places for meat in the city. And it’s an anchor of the barrio in more ways than one; Pedro + co. are the masterminds behind several other spots on this list, so read on.
La Carnicería | Open Tuesday – Friday, 8PM – 12AM; Saturday – Sunday, 1PM – 3:30PM and 8PM – 12AM | Reservations a must | 2071-7199
Las Pizarras – Thames 2296
What is “Argentine cuisine”? If you’re to exclude steak from the picture, several years back this question might have felt impossible to answer. In a country so wrapped up in its European identity, celebrating local ingredients, techniques, and talent wasn’t much of a priority.
Las Pizarras – celebrating its monumental tenth anniversary this year – has come to be synonymous with the concept of cocina argentina. The small bistro space is covered with chalkboards (hence the name) that showcase the ever-changing market fresh dishes on offer. Here, you’re going to eat local, seasonal, and creative cuisine that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Owner-Chef Rodrigo Castilla has been a pioneer in showing porteños that eating vegetables doesn’t mean a sad ensalada mixta at an asado or plain-old puré de papa next to a fried milanesa. In his kitchen, innovation and simplicity come together in the most beautiful of ways. From suckling pig to fresh pea risotto to crispy kale, everything is pure perfection.
Las Pizarras | Open Tuesday – Sunday, 8PM – 12AM | Reservations a must | 4775-0625
Donut Therapy – Thames 1999
After an extremely successful pop-up venture, Donut Therapy has ventured into the brick and mortar realm, kicking things off with nothing less than a hot pink bang. These fresh-made, American-style donuts live up to their hype, promising to keep the city on a sugar high until they sell out (which seriously doesn’t take long).
Gustavo Castillo, captain of this psychedelic saccharine ship, has revolutionized a city so loyal to its sweets in just a few short weeks. Be sure to line up early and tempt yourself with everything from classic glazed to cinnamon sugar to salted caramel to Reese’s – and more. The flavors change daily and always manage to be spot-on; it will make you nostalgic for the American childhood you probably didn’t even have.
Before you head out, pop by the bathroom for an obligatory selfie moment. The Pepto-pink acrylic dripping down the walls will blow up your ‘gram in no time. Also, Donut Therapy is pet friendly, which makes us like them about 10,000% more.
Donut Therapy | Open Tuesday – Sunday, 11AM – 6PM | Show up early | No phone
Lattente – Thames 1891
This tiny espresso bar has kept Palermo caffeinated since 2011. It’s also a launching pad for several pop-up outfits, such as Sheikob’s bagels (who have graduated into their own storefront over at Uriarte 1386), Pita Madre, Cinnabar Rolls (drool), and Florentin. Think of it as the ideal place for a great cup of coffee and a tasty treat on the go, all on one of Soho’s sunny little street corners.
Lattente is run by purists, so there’s no wifi, no promos, nothing else but coffee served. Which is great, because you won’t get stuck behind some indecisive pseudo-hipster trying to show off to the person he came with. It’s simple and to the point, in the best way possible.
Lattente | Monday – Saturday, 9AM – 8PM; Sunday 10AM – 8PM | 4833-1676
Niño Gordo – Thames 1810
Perhaps the most Instagrammable restaurant in Buenos Aires, Niño Gordo hit the ground running when it opened at the end of 2017. Upon entering you pass into a kitschy realm suspended from reality and where the food is really, really good.
Don’t be distracted by the plastic jellyfish bobbing about in the aquariums or the bright red lanterns hanging perfectly from the ceiling (ok, maybe you can take a snap or two); here you’re going to want to focus on the menu. From the black duck dumplings to the beef tataki to spicy miso sweetbreads, it’s all the bomb dot com.
Niño Gordo is another one of Pedro Peña’s creations, but keep your eyes peeled for cook Lis Ra, one badass culinary babe who you’ll develop a major girl crush on (guilty as charged). Yes, it’s trendy, yes, it’s always packed, but the hype is well-deserved. If all else fails, check out the crazy Japanese toilets and have yourself some fun.
Niño Gordo | Tuesday – Sunday, 8PM – 12AM | Reservations a must | 2129-5028
Chicken Bros. – Thames 1795
The corner of Thames and Costa Rica has reached legendary status among North American study abroad students and eternal party kids thanks to the dudes at Chicken Bros.. Here, you’ll indulge your most yanqui fantasies of bottomless mimosa brunches, spicy chicken wings, and nearly every major sporting event televised on giant big-screens.
Sure, the vibe skews a bit younger, a bit wilder. There’s more happy hour specials and weekend drink deals than your liver can handle; you’ll wonder how that 18 year-old kid is able to chase his mac and cheese with chicken and waffles, followed by all-you-can-eat wings, and topped off with fried Oreos. Youth really is wasted on the young. *cries in old*
Don’t overthink it. Just order a beer and revisit your youth for a tasty hour or two. Owners Justin and Timmy will make sure you have a good time.
Chicken Bros. | Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, 6PM – 12AM; Friday – Saturday, 12PM – 1AM; Sunday, 12PM – 12AM | 4833-9127
Churrería Juan Pedro Caballero – Thames 1719
Hay churrrrrrrrros! Yet another new kid on the block, Juan Pedro Caballero can be considered a shrine to the all-holy churro and nothing less. In case that’s not clear, the quasi-religious iconography that plasters the walls should give you enough of a visual cue so you can take yo’self to church (can I get an amen up in here?). Once again, this hot spot comes to us courtesy of Pedro Peña (seriously can someone get this guy a trophy?), who brought in Yamilia Di Rienzo from La Horqueta’s coolest restaurant, Alo’s, into the mix.
The teensy tiny locale harkens back to a bygone era, more specifically a “Mar del Plata via Madrid in the 1980s” vibe, which I am 100% OK with. It’s pretty straightforward, too: you’ve got your classic churros, stuffed with dulce de leche or drizzled with chocolate, and then there’s a selection of more inventive combinations, such as the carioca (coconut, mango, maracuyá), lemon pie, dark chocolate with peperoncino, or even the cannoli (ricotta, pistachio, mint, and blueberry).
Grab a bunch to go and eat them all in the privacy of your own home – sweatpants and self-loathing not included – or jockey for space at the tall tables and dunk those churrz into the uber-thick hot chocolate before heading off to your next destination. Sure, your blood sugar will go through the roof, but at this point, who cares anymore?
Juan Pedro Caballero | Tuesday – Friday, 1PM – 8PM; Saturday – Sunday, 12PM – 8PM | No phone
Shawarma al Árabe – Thames & El Salvador
While the street food culture in Buenos Aires tends to be limited to the carritos along the Costanera that eagerly await you as you stumble out of the boliche at dawn, shawarma comes in a not-so-close second. But seriously, what’s not to love about some warm pita stuffed with greasy-crispy chicken and smothered in garlic yogurt and spicy sauce? However, finding Grade-A shawarma realness isn’t always as easy as you’d think.
Shawarma al Árabe might not be fine dining, nor is it trendy hipster fare, but it gets the job done. This is the best place to come for some fresh af street meat on a night out, or for a quick lunch, or because you’re sick of seeing “gourmet” burger places pop up all over this damn town. Seriously, it hits the spot no matter what.
Besides, with the dollar at $40 – and climbing – we’re all going to be eating on a shoestring budget more than we’d like to admit.
Shawarma al Árabe | Sunday – Thursday, 12PM – 12AM; Friday – Saturday, 12PM – 2AM | 4833-0219
Chori – Thames 1651
Ah, Chori. You’ve been waiting to see this on the list, haven’t you? Indeed, the crown prince of BA’s fast-casual was definitely one of the game-changers that kicked the Thames game into overdrive. Situated on a perfect corner and painted its signature bright yellow (seriously, some of the best branding out there), the locale beckons hungry mouths of all ages and nationalities. Fun fact: It was even featured in the BA episode of Netflix series Somebody Feed Phil.
Of course, now we’re used to it, but at the time it was pretty wild to think that someone was willing to mess with the consummate Argentine sandwich that is the choripán. Fortunately, the “traditional with a twist” approach is something that Pedro Peña + Germán Sitz and co. do rather well; the crowds snaking out the door are evidence enough that they’ve solved the riddle to reinventing a classic, with panache.
As the weather warms up, Chori becomes the perfect home base from which to launch a successful summer evening in Buenos Aires. Sip on an ice-cold g&t made with Apóstoles, pet some of the dogs hanging around with their owners, waiting for scraps, and dive in. It’s delicious, it’s easy, it’s affordable. Consider it done.
Chori | Sunday – Thursday, 12:30PM – 12:30AM; Friday – Saturday, 12:30PM – 1AM | 3966-9857
Full City Coffee House – Thames 1535
Not just another speciality coffee joint, Full City serves up Colombian café in an idyllic space that boasts a dreamy patio to boot. Whether you’re passing through for a quick caffeine jolt before carrying on or looking to slow down for a full-on Sunday brunch, this is where you’ll want to be.
An added bonus is the occasional Cinnabar Rolls pop-up (which you can also catch back at Lattente), which is honestly worth the trip in and of itself. God, those things are good. They should be illegal, honestly.
Anyway, back to Full City. If you’re a coffee nerd that knows your stuff, but doesn’t want to be surrounded by arrogant weirdos who will brag about their level of bean expertise, you’ll feel right at home here. Bonus: it’s pet-friendly so your dog can order a latte alongside you, hooray!
Full City Coffee House | Tuesday – Saturday, 9AM – 8PM; Sunday – Monday, 10AM – 7PM | 4833-6774
Fu-King Bar – Thames 1410
Having opened just a few months ago, FuKing made its presence known thanks to its bright neon lights and eye-catching décor on another dreamy Thames corner. It’s a gastropub with a major callejero vibe that appeals to a younger clientele but won’t make a Gen X’er feel out of place, either.
Both the concept and the cuisine are the creations of Quique Yafuso, whom you might know from El Quinto or Haiku Sushi Bar. If not, no worries. It just means you’re in expert hands; the food is as cool as the restaurant itself. Everything from ramen to yakitori to dumplings to sushi omakase and even poké bowls are on offer.
It’s a bit hectic but it’s fun, it’s tasty, and it will get you in the mood to hit the town and stay up way past your bedtime. When you start to get overwhelmed, order a Cynar Julep and another round of dumplings and go with the flow.
Fu-King Bar | Monday – Thursday, 7PM – 1AM; Friday – Saturday, 7PM – 3AM | 4831-8485
Check out this handy map to keep track of all the spots on this list: