As Buenos Aires approaches the sixth consecutive year of honoring all things Italian, it’s time to start fasting, as we can smell the aromas of one of the tastiest weeks of the year just around the corner! This Italian extravaganza stretches far beyond pizza and pasta, celebrating traditional gastronomy of all varieties, as well as many other aspects of its culture via opera, film, workshops, and even a pesto championship.
La Semana de la Cocina Italiana was initially founded as a way to celebrate the Italian roots of so many in Buenos Aires, and how their meravigliosa culture has influenced numerous aspects of Argentina’s own culture.
If you feel as though you don’t even know where to begin and you’re already tangled up in the sea of spaghetti which awaits, fear not, as we have compiled a more succinct list of some of the most desirable joints in town which simply cannot be missed. So read on to find out how you can really nail Italian Food Week in Buenos Aires.
Mangia e Bevi (Eat and Drink)
With literally hundreds of places across the city, ranging from existing Italian eateries, to some more non-conventional restaurants getting into the Italian groove, you will definitely be able to find a place which tickles your taste buds. Twenty-eight fine Italian restaurants have joined together to offer traditional Italian menus so you can experience a real taste of the country at a reasonable price. Depending on your mood, be that a light bite or the whole nine yards, there are varied options with two different menus with two different price ranges, either AR $325 or a more treatsy AR $540.
This bustling downtown pasta bar which is home to great-tasting “Italian street food” is the perfect place to grab a taste of the boot, whether you’re on the move or not. If you’ve got any doubts, cast them aside: Core is the real deal, making incredibly fresh, out-of-this-world pasta. They will offer a set lunch menu for AR $325 that definitely won’t leave you hungry. With an Aperol Spritz served up on arrival, followed by a Caprese salad to start and a classic carbonara for the main course, you’ll barely have room for your Baba al Ron for dessert.
This laid-back yet traditional eatery offers the more extensive set menu for AR $540. From beef carpaccio to parmigiana di melanzane to start, and with everything from ravioli to risotto for the main event, Olivetti is definitely the place to go if you want the full-scale Italian spread. Oh, and we mustn’t forget the postres – did someone say tiramisú, ricotta panna cotta, and limoncello baba? I think it’s time to make a reservation!
If you’re a regular Bubble reader, you’ll know that we are fairly passionate about our pizza. So, this particular part of the Italian itinerary is very close to our hearts. The real experts have put together a list of all of the best – and roundest – ‘zas on offer all around town. Again, with two menu options, it depends how much you are willing to part with to leap into the doughy abyss that awaits this week.
One look and this one is an absolute steal. For AR $325 you’ll nosh on five kinds of pizza. You’ll start with pizza fritta (fried pizza) to whet the appetite. For your main, a sampling of three different pizzas to share with your dinner date: what more could you want than a traditional Margherita, Quattro Formaggi, and Cincinnati’s own signature pizza? As if all of that weren’t dough-licious enough (I crack myself up), you’ll be treated to Nutella pizza for dessert – and of course, complete with an Aperol Spritz to wash it all down.
Siamo Nel Forno
You could surely place me in the “regulars” category at Siamo Nel Forno – does going four times times in five weeks allow me to fall into that bracket? – therefore it feels a little impertinent not to highlight this pizza paradise as one of the top spots to enjoy a real Neapolitan pie in Buenos Aires. A personal recommendation would be the fainá with burrata, tomatoes, and basil to start, and as far as the pizzas go, you’re assured an absolute treat no matter which one you choose. The menu, at AR $540, is a great value.
An Argentine Tribute
I bet you never thought you’d see the day where a traditional Argentine parrilla served you an Italian-inspired meal, however the day has indeed come! Some of the city’s most traditional restaurants are even getting in the Italian swing by offering their own set menus. You might have to dig a little deeper into your pocket for these ones, but it will be worth it.
Tierra de Nadie
A normal day at Tierra de Nadie will see burgers flying out of the hatch. Its name often floats around when the relentless “best burger in Buenos Aires” debate is brought to the table. However, for AR $600 you could find yourself in amongst the Italian madness. Bruschetta to start served with spicy peppers, followed by a traditional burger with a few Italian twists – olive pesto, buffalo mozzarella, tomatoes, garlic and arugula. Take my money!
Parilla Don Julio
If you’re feeling in total #treatyourself mode, then top-notch parrilla Don Julio is offering their own Italian styled evening as well. The menu clocks in at AR $1,200 and features Calabrian sausage, grilled provoleta goodness, and T-Bone steaks that fall off the bone, your will be left mouth buzzing with some of the classiest flavors Italy has to offer.
Of course, a true Italian-styled week would not be complete without an array of incredible ice creams on offer. So, if all of the pomodoro and pistachios are getting a bit much, then you can always pick up a sweet and cool little something along the way.
With Podio points all over town, you will never be further than a few blocks away for a taste of their creamy delights. Its best sellers are DDL Podio (duh), mascarpone with berries, and dark chocolate.
Podio | Locations vary | Instagram
With ice creams of all varieties on offer, you can head down here and find yourself cone of frozen joy, whether it be Tiramisu, Pistachio or something fruitier, Cabaña Tuyu will definitely have something to get your taste buds watering.
Cabaña Tuyú | Locations vary | Web
Viva la Pasta Fresca!
Last but not least, we cannot neglect the pasta on this whistle stop tour of Buenos Aires’ Italian cuisine. Fresh pasta is a pivotal part of the Italian diet, and if you don’t fancy eating out, then there’s a whole heap of places you can buy your own either pre-made, or if you really want to “do as the Italianos do,” you can whip up your own tempesta Italiana in the comfort of your own home – take the word “storm” as you will, as I’m not sure of your cooking abilities.
La Buena Pasta
Authentic, home-made pasta of all shapes and sizes. Farfalle, campanelle, spaghetti, gnocchi, ravioli – whatever you’re in the mood for, you can get your paws on it here. And don’t you dare try and tell me you aren’t in the mood for pasta, because we all know that every day is a pasta day if you want it to be.
La Buena Pasta | Av. Directorio 4802 | Tel: 2096-2326
Their motto: “We have built a place of our own identity, and one that respects our roots.” Having been established for over 70 years now, the Amelia team really know how to bring Italia to the pasta game. Using high quality ingredients, their artisanal work is matched by few other pasta shops in the city, and guess what? They deliver – so no excuses.
Pastas Amelia | Av. Boedo 1639 | Web
Now, if all of that hasn’t left you hungry enough, then that’s not all that’s going to be unleashed come October 29th. We mustn’t forget some of the non-food (ish) related activities which you’ll be able to find around the city:
- Italian Opera Tribute – Sunday, November 4th. Taking place at La Usina Del Arte, a little nibble of Italian opera could be just what you need to cleanse the palate after extensive carbo-loading, not to mention a spectacular way to spend your evening! The best part? It’s free.
- Italian Cinema Screenings – Sunday, November 4th. You’ll find some of the most iconic Italian films being shown at Cinema Paradiso and El Giardino Dei Finzi-Contini De Vittorio De Sica. This is another free activity, so you’re welcome.
- First Official “Pesto Championship” – Sunday, November 4th. To celebrate Italian Food Week, what’s more appropriate than an official competition of one of the most celebrated sauces in the world? Those who participate will be taught to prepare their own Genovese pesto with the traditional marble mortar, and of course, will get to keep all the fruits of their hard-grafted labor. If this tickles your fancy, get yourself along to La Usina Del Arte in La Boca and may the best pesto win!
So, have we done enough to entice you to get involved this Italian frenzy? Prepare yourselves for a week of pesto, pistachios, and pizza, and get involved in what promises to be a una settimana fantastica.
For more information don’t forget to check out the complete agenda listed on the Semana de la Cocina Italiana website.