It’s that time of year, kids. Temperatures are dropping – and porteños are swaddled in scarves, hats, and fur-lined hooded jackets – and the impending insanity of vacaciones de invierno is upon us. It also means that Argentina is gearing up to celebrate its Independence Day on July 9th (Yep, now you know why that giant avenue downtown is called 9 de Julio. Congratulations).
If you’re not from Argentina, you might be used to a different style of festivities when it comes to celebrating independence. For example, in the United States, pretty much everything is covered in red, white, and blue, the race to eat as many hot dogs as you can officially becomes a thing, and people nurse their uneven sunburns with giant bottles of rosé. No matter how skeptical one might be of the current administration, a heavy dose of patriotic pride spills out into the collective consciousness with unabashed joy.
When it comes to Argentina, however, things are a little more subdued. Perhaps it’s the colder weather – honestly, you probably can’t imagine yourself singing the himno nacional on a beach down near Mar del Plata somewhere right now, can you? – or perhaps it’s because seeing a massive military parade make its way across the city evokes more memories of the last dictatorship than anything else. Essentially, what Argentina lacks in over-the-top, ridiculous festivities (because let’s be real, they save that for the World Cup), they make up for in spades when it comes to patriotic food.
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Yep, that’s right. On July 9th we pull out all the stops and overdose on everything from locro to lentil stew to empanadas to tortas fritas and beyond. Because when it’s winter, our metabolisms are practically begging us for caloric meals to stave off the cold that seeps into our bones.
Given that you’ll have a whopping total four days thanks to Tuesday’s Independence Day feriado, why not plan ahead and get ready to eat your way through the weekend? From the traditional to the unexpected, check out our suggestions for celebrating 9 de Julio in Buenos Aires below.
National Empanada Championships in Mataderos
Can you believe? This is basically my dream come true. For the first time ever, the #BACapitalGastronómica initiative is teaming up with the classic Feria de Mataderos for the end-all, be-all of empanada championships. Fifteen professional chefs from across Argentina – Salta, Tucumán, Chubut, Córdoba, Jujuy, Mendoza, La Rioja, Corrientes, Santiago del Estero, and Capital Federal – will compete to see who is named empanada top dog. How? They’ll prepare a dozen of their best emps, of course, and a jury of foodie icons will evaluate everything from the dough to the filling to the repulge and overall product. Noted judges include Dolli Irigoyen, Juan Braceli, Martín Molteni, Pietro Sorba, Juan Alberto Saint Esteban (Argentine Empanada Champion 2019 as selected by APPYCE), and María Cuello (winner of the National Empanada Festival in Famaillá, Tucumán).
In addition to the competition, Mataderos will be out in full force with more than 500 stands showcasing food, artisanal goods, traditional items and performances, and more. If you feel like you haven’t yet been able to connect with the traditional aspects of Argentine folklore, this is where you need to be. We suggest going with a group so you can eat more – and huddle for warmth if need be. Who knows? Maybe you’ll meet a hot gaucho with whom you can ride off into the sunset.
Feria de Mataderos | Lisandro de la Torre between Av. de los Corrales & Av. Directorio | 11 AM – 6 PM | Canceled in case of heavy rain
San Telmo Block Party with Café San Juan & Narda Lepes
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Porque la Independencia la celebramos todos juntos, y a la Patria la abrazamos con amigos❤️??❤️ El próximo martes 9 de julio, a las 12 hs te esperamos en Chile 474, en la calle ??? , con tres propuestas de guisos diferentes, a precios amigables (?) para compartir un día patrio en familia ????????
What’s more patriotic than taking to the streets with friends, family, neighbors, and strangers, to eat the food that has kept your country’s people fed for years and years? Join in the communal spirit that binds so many Argentine citizens together on Tuesday by heading down to San Telmo – as perhaps the most historic barrio in Buenos Aires, it’s only fitting – and chow down on abundant guisos at the hand of Café San Juan. Chef and owner Lele Cristobal will be joined by gourmand heavyweights Narda Lepes and Chila’s Pedro Bargero in preparing three options of hearty stew that will warm your heart without emptying your wallet.
This is a great option if you want to eat a big enough lunch that will send you sailing into the perfect afternoon siesta without having to trek out to Mataderos (just accept it, you’re lazy, and you’ve let your parents down). There’s also a distinct hipster slant to the whole shebang, so expect a nice amount of tattoos, jean jackets, and hand-rolled cigarettes.
Café San Juan | Chile 474 | From 12 PM | Instagram
Locro Locura at El Santa Evita in Palermo
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¡Ma’ qué angustia! La independencia nos da HAMBRE, y muchas ganas de celebrar. Por eso este martes 9 de Julio salimos desde el mediodía y hasta la noche con menú único: + Copa de vino/agua/sifón + Plato de locro + Vigilante de membrillo o batata = $450. Todo el día y sin reservas, porque queremos que vengan tod☀️s. . ¿Y si quiero pasar con la olla a buscar el locro para comerlo en mi casa? ¡También! A $250 la porción de 500 cc, que incluye verdeo, salsita colorada y picante. . Además, abrimos sábado, domingo y lunes por la noche, con menú a la carta. Puede reservar su lugar para estos días escribiéndonos por mail a [email protected] o llamando por teléfono al 11 4833-0131.
It wouldn’t be a día patrio in Buenos Aires if there weren’t a rowdy, family-focused gathering at El Santa Evita. After peronista power couple Gonzalo and Florencia left the fires at El Perón Perón behind, they opened up a similarly restaurante popular dedicated to one of Argentina’s most iconic exports, Evita herself. This July 9th, expect an all-day celebration that will continue into the wee hours or whenever the locro runs out – whichever comes first.
Starting early you’ll be able to get a full meal – locro, glass of wine, and dessert – for AR $450. No need to book, but be prepared for crowds and long lines. If you’re feeling a little anti-social (I don’t blame you; most feriados I find myself in sweatpants cuddling my dog), you can bring your own pot or to-go container and order a hearty portion of stew with toppings and spicy sauce for just AR $250. In your face, #macrisis.
El Santa Evita | Julián Álvarez 1749 | From 12 PM | Instagram
Middle Eastern Vibes at Fayer
OK, so you might not think of modern Israeli food when it’s time to plan your Argentine Independence Day celebration, but keep an open mind. Fayer, the ultra-sleek, insanely delicious restaurant nestled right behind La Rural in Palermo, has a special menu in the works that will please the most international of palates. Chef Mariano Muñoz is planning on serving locro de cordero (ugh, drool), an empanada de asado served with labneh and harissa (*screams*), and for dessert a twist on the famous vigilante: goat cheese with quince spiced with cardamom, anise, and cinnamon (*head explodes*).
If you’ve already OD’d on lentils, ham and cheese empanadas, and basic locro that your grandmother makes (sorry abu), get out of the house and book a table for you and your closest amigues. Remember, the magic of a country like Argentina lies within the diverse ethnic groups that comprise it, so if anything, this is perhaps an unexpected but extremely patriotic place to celebrate the country’s 203rd birthday.
Fayer | Cerviño 4417 | 12 PM – 12 AM | Tel: 4774-3313 | Instagram
Veg-Friendly at Georgie’s
If you haven’t already had the pleasure (or punishment, depending on where you stand) of trying it, locro is definitely not considered a vegetarian-friendly dish. Meat of all kinds and cuts – known and unknown – swimming in a hearty mix of corn and beans sounds appetizing to many, but there are plenty of plant-based gourmands who would like other alternatives, too. Georgie’s, located on the loveliest little corner of Chacarita, has come to the rescue, ensuring that vegetarians, vegans, and even celiacs won’t be left out of the independence day celebrations. Chef Nahuel Carbajo has been invited to join the fiesta and wines from Paso a Paso will be flowing in abundance. If that doesn’t sound like the perfect plan to combat this cold, I don’t know what is.
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Head on over early and prep your belly for a tasty lunch that is sure to include a diverse mix of flavors – badass selection of hot sauces included – that will appeal to every palate.
Georgie’s | Charlone 499 | From 12 PM | Instagram