Once regarded as a land for great steak and not much else when it came to food, Buenos Aires has been experiencing a slow but steady gastronomic revolution over the past few years. The efforts of leading local chefs pushing their menus and experimenting are finally coming to fruition, and the city is earning a spot on the map as a destination for foodies.
Signs of the times are everywhere, evidenced by first-time, one-off events set to become annual traditions, such as April’s Buenos Aires Food Week, in which many of the city’s top restaurants participated with special, fixed-priced menus. The Feria Masticar food festival last October also drew huge crowds to see renowned chefs offer talks and tastings.
For the food lover vacationing in Buenos Aires, here are some of the best gastronomic tours and events in the city:
Hernán Gipponi runs the kitchen at his eponymous restaurant housed in the sleek boutique Fierro Hotel, appropriately dubbed “the hotel for the gourmand.” Every Monday night, the dining room configuration is changed and a sturdy, communal wooden table set up to seat 12 to 16 guests (reservations are required). The concept is a chef’s table dining experience, with Gipponi setting the ever-changing menu with so many courses it is easy to lose count. Each offering is tastily inventive, meticulously prepared and paired with wine. Conversation and drinks flow and Gipponi pops in and out of the kitchen, personally discussing and plating dishes and, at the close of the marathon supper, sitting and finishing the meal with guests.
The tagline for Fuudis (pronounced “foodies”) is “a social gastronomic experience.” Their bread-and-butter events are regular food tours that get participants — local food lovers and bon vivants passing through — to some of the most coveted tables in the city to taste what is coming out of the kitchen. Each tour, which lasts an evening and stretches over dinnertime, is based in one city neighborhood, such as Palermo Botanico or San Telmo. One course is served at each stop (totaling three) in Buenos Aires’ best and most buzzed about restaurants. The duo behind Fuudis, an Argentine and an Australian, are two of the biggest foodie forces in the city — they also organized BA Food Week.
Argentines love their pastries, dedicating a whole time of day between lunch and dinner, the merienda (“snack”), to tea and sweets. New to the menu of tour offerings in Buenos Aires, the Sweet Buenos Aires walking tour partakes in that tradition as the tour’s co-founder, American pastry chef Kelly Poindexter, leads guests to a few destinations for merienda treats. As the tour progresses, participants learn about the city’s history with a focus on sweets. Refreshments include fare from one of the city’s top pastry chefs and artisanal dulce de leche, the milk-based national sweet treat similar to a creamier, more flavorful caramel.
Photo Courtesy of Fierro Hotel