The Best Buenos Aires Restaurant to Eat Steak

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It was inevitable, as soon as I arrived in the city I needed to know the best Buenos Aires restaurant to eat steak.

If you thought a little grey poo would get in my way of eating steak in Buenos Aires you were so foolish. I have learned that veggies are my friend during daylight but steak is my night time lover.

I had heard that the best Buenos Aires restaurant for steak in the entire city is La Cabrera and Don Julio, both these restaurants come at a steep price. And I wanted to go beyond the obvious picks.

When my friend Chris arrived for an eight-day visit I knew what to do in Buenos Aires. There would be a lot of meat eating.

The great thing about Chris visiting is that we share a love of food – discussing it, cooking it and eating it. We wouldn’t be cooking but certainly talking and eating most of the time.

The neighborhood of San Telmo is known for its abundance of steak often to the demise of vegetables but friends don’t come to Buenos Aires for broccoli.

So here’s a round-up of the three best parrillas (with prices in USD) we sampled:

Manolo’s

I had eaten at Manolo’s two nights ago but as it was Chris’ first night in Buenos Aires I wanted to come back.

There is such a great ambiance with old men dressed up to serve locals steak and red wine.

The walls are filled with cartoons, photos, soccer jerseys and Argentine humor from the last 20 years. This is a very popular neighbourhood restaurant so if you show up after 9pm you may have to wait.
 

MAKE IT AT HOME: Chimichurri Recipe

 
We started with garlicky sautéed mushrooms and Parisian potatoes as our attempt to try to eat vegetables.

It was so garlicky delicious that when the mushrooms were gone I continued to dip my bread in the garlic oil.

medium rare steak

We then ordered bife de chorizo and I warned Chris that we should split it. It was a wise decision as it would be incredibly difficult for one person to eat.

Chris was surprised to see that the steak wasn’t seasoned like at home.

I forgot to mention that Buenos Aires has all but forgotten black pepper, but then had his first taste of chimichurri sauce and all was forgiven.

With a bottle of red and a side of mashed potatoes and squash the bill came to $35.

It’s a steal.

des nivel restaurant

Des Nivel

A typical parrilla, although also controversial.

Some claimed that Des Nivel was THE best Buenos Aires restaurant for steak although others said that the prices increased and quality decreased once it was named in Lonely Planet.

It was a mid-week meal and we weren’t sure what to expect.

Before we ate anything we were impressed.

The service here is incredible and it seems to be because everyone is so happy.

The waiters always seem to be laughing and having fun with the guests and while ours appeared to speak English he was willing to serve us in my beginner Spanish.

steak in pepper sauce

Better yet when I tried to order the steak in marsala sauce my waiter suggested I try the steak in pepper sauce.

It was amazing.

The peppery sauce was just what I wanted in a city that never puts pepper on the table.  

I’ve always been hesitant to put sauce on a steak because the steak should be good enough to stand on its own rather than be covered by sauce.

When I was finished I told Chris I could eat another one. My steak eating may be evolving into an addiction.

man eating steak

Chris also loved his lomo bife with the chimichurri sauce, and we both agreed at $45 it was well deserving of its recommendation.

La Brigada

As Chris was on holidays he wanted one big steak splurge.

He was kind enough to foot our bills so I didn’t have to order salad and free bread while he feasted on steak but my job was to find the best steak house.

This is a very tough task in a city where everyone has an opinion but time and time again La Brigada was mentioned as one of the best in the neighborhood and also the city.

sauteed mushrooms

The menu is enormous and we had a tough time deciding what to order.

Chris knew he wanted mushrooms again as the appetizer but also wanted to try chinchulines (intestines) a delicacy of the city.

So we got both.

steak in argentina

I asked my waiter for a meat recommendation and was pleased he offered one up without hesitation and not the most expensive!

In a city where waiters usually act like you are an inconvenience, we had lucked out at all three parrillas.

The mushroom dish was okay but seemed to lack the garlic from Manolo’s, the veal chinchulines were pretty good but I thought my steak ojo de bife (rib eye) was the best here.

They say the meat is so tender here waiters cut it with a spoon. I didn’t think I would actually see this but I did.

Yes technically they can cut it with a spoon but it feels more like a parlour trick and really not needed.

We had also heard that La Brigada was incredibly expensive but were surprised to see that with a bottle of wine the bill was only $65 which was considerably more but Chris still considered to be a bargain for the quality.

The Verdict

Normally I’m not shy to choose a favourite but here I don’t think I could do it! Although La Brigada was the best, it wouldn’t be a sacrifice to visit Manolo’s or Des Nivels.

But I do know one thing.

Before I even think about heading back to any of them I need to buy a pair of sneakers and start running because all this steak is making me chubby!

Pin it: Parrillas in Buenos Aires

Want to know the best Buenos Aires Restaurant for steak? Here are our top picks. for parillas in Buenos Aires at every budget,

Join the Conversation

  1. STEAK! This has made me sooooo hungry, it looks amazing! And anything under $50 for a high-quality steak dinner for two with an appetiser and drinks is a complete steal in my book.

    I want to lick the screen.

  2. petina/ pocketvilage says:

    wow, I’m a total foodie and the steak pics here look delicious! Your friend Chris looks very happy eating the lomo bife. I would be too! ^_^

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Yeah a giant steak on a plate makes Chris very happy 🙂

  3. Katherina says:

    Delicious! The meat seems to be exactly en su punto 🙂
    Now I want to have a steak today….

  4. Christian Hollingsworth says:

    Why did you do this to me! Now all I want is some steak. Something to sink my teeth in. This looks delightful. Wish I could be there so badly. Thank you for your photos and great review!

  5. YUM YUM YUM! I love all the photos and it definitely sounds like you guys got some bargain deals, even for the fancy place.

    When I make it to BsAs (and who knows when that will be) these will definitely be on the top of my list!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      So delicious, but I think I may be seeking out the best vegetarian restaurants next, my body needs a break!

  6. Haha, great minds think alike. John and I will be posting our Argentine steak challenge post this week…from all of Argie, though. Sad we didn’t get to any of these. I find it terribly hard to get meat cooked the right way in Argie!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Really? I prefer medium rare or (jugoso = juicy) and was surprised to see they all gave me that.

      1. Me too! But it only came that way in Buenos Aires…everywhere else they overcooked it. So wrong! Love the look of that juicy one in the photo – yum! Wish we had more time to try your recs here…

      2. Ayngelina Author says:

        Would love your recommendations. I had Siempre Verde yesterday and it was only ‘meh’ however, I am going to Jueves a la Mesa tomorrow night!

  7. Have you checked out the food court at Gallerias Pacifico yet? Food was good and cheap but i loved going to a food court where there are waiters and cloth napkins.

    We went to Des Nivel but our budget meant we split some sort of plato mixto called bife de chorizo rellando a papas españoles. Looked like garbage tasted like heaven and more than enough for two people. Let me find the picture. http://www.flickr.com/photos/lidbit/4125618196/in/photostream there you go.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      No where is that?

      1. Progalerias Pacifico

        at the corner (well the whole block) at Florida and Cordoba.

  8. Looks delicious! I’m hungry now!!! Steak is magic! I’m not sure why I’m using so many exclamation points!!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I don’t know either!

  9. Jan Ross says:

    Those steaks look absolutely wonderful – although the last one is a little rare for me!!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      The rarer the better for me, I love tartar.

  10. it’s chinchulines, not chinchilunes 😉

    I actually think meat being able to be cut with a spoon is gross, I like something I have to chew on.
    And in my opinion, (being in the argentinean meat business) steak like that isn’t quality: those cows are feedlot, they are raised just like in Europe: without a lot of space to move and without grass to eat (and without a lot of control of what they do eat). So much has changed in the last couple of years, every farmer who could has switched from cattle to soy. Meat you’ll find in the pampas isn’t 100% natural any more

    if you’re interested: http://www.bbc.co.uk/mundo/noticias/2011/03/110322_argentina_carne_que_sabe_a_cerdo_vh.shtml

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Oops typo! I actually did know that.

      Thanks for the link, I thought Argentina was one of the few countries getting meat right. Unfortunately we’re no better in Canada.

      1. It used to be (and you still can find it in places that aren’t fit for agriculture.

        It’s unbelievable how a country can change in 5 years. In 2006 you could eat a ‘real’ steak for 12 pesos…

        1. Glad to have read this comment. I lived in San Telmo for five months in 2007 and these prices all seem pretty exorbitant for what they bought you. I suppose the old neighborhoods and becoming more gentrified even in BsAs. Even so, my favorite places near my home on Peru and Estados Unidos were always the too-brightly-lit pizza/empanadas joints with big ole bottles of Quilmes to round it out.

          Cheers Ayngelina, glad to see you’re living it up in San Telmo!! Oh, the memories!!

  11. Kent @ NVR Guys says:

    Oh, wow! I want steak and it’s not even 6AM. We wanted to get to La Brigada BOTH times we were in BsAs, but it never worked out. Next time for sure!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Oh that’s too bad. I was really surprised at how inexpensive it was considering the warnings from so many people.

  12. I say if you’re going to do something, do it right! Looks like that’s exactly what you and Chris did…..yummy!

  13. The Travel Chica says:

    I’ve been running for weeks and eating well (except for the wine and Kentucky Pizza) in preparation for my very own steak feast. Is it weird that I want to see if the grey poo effect happens to me too?

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Just eat a giant steak 4 times in one week, it’ll happen.

  14. Leslie (Downtown Traveler) says:

    Looks like you had a fun steakhouse tour of Buenos Aires 🙂 Shockingly, I lived there for a year and stayed a vegetarian the whole time. I’ll take your word for it that the steak is delicious!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Well you’ll be happy to know I’m going to Siempre Verde for lunch today. Any other veggie recommendations?

  15. Yumm Yumm Yumm… great post to read first thing in the morning… It now has me debating what to eat for lunch… Those steaks look mouth watering.

  16. Justin Hamlin says:

    I have eaten at steakhouses where the steak alone, without drinks, appetizers or anything else with it was over $100.

    Needless to say, the pictures you posted and the descriptions sound just as good as what I had, but at extremely good prices.

    I would definitely consider all 3 a steal.

    oh, and thanks for making me hungry for steak at 11:15am.

  17. Bluegreen Kirk says:

    I’m a night steak lover as well my wife thinks I simply eat too much meat but I just cant help myself. Those prices were fairly reasonable and the food looked great. Now I am hungry wish I could have a steak right now.

  18. I wish I could have been Chris! He really looked happy to have all the meat in front of him. All of the meals look great what was one he enjoyed the most?

  19. Cathy Sweeney says:

    Hungry here! I love a good steak and it looks like I should put Buenos Aires on my carnivore bucket list. Delicious pics.

  20. We ended up at Des Nivel with a group on Sunday afternoon apparently on your recommendation, so thanks! It was packed and with good reason – my bife de chorizo was really yummy.

  21. Jeremy Branham says:

    The steaks look delicious but not sure I could eat the intestines. With that said, here is my thought on this – Americans are fat and obese. I am not sure about the people in Argentina but we eat a lot of red meat. If steak like that was made this affordable in the US, we would have people with gray poo dying of heart attacks every few minutes!

  22. Debbie Beardsley says:

    I’m not the biggest beef fan but omg those looked good! I’m craving steak right now. Steak fans should all go to Buenos Aires – good steak at Applebee prices 🙂

  23. Oh man, all of those steak pictures have given me a real hankering for a quality steakhouse; unfortunately, I can’t really afford one right now. Time to head to the grocery store.

  24. Christy @ Technosyncratic says:

    Oh how I love your food posts! Except that part about the intestines, yuck. Meat sometimes makes me nervous, so that photo of it oozing red was a bit much for me. 🙂 But the rest sounds delish!

  25. I knew I shouldn’t have read this. God I want to go back to BsAs now, specifically to El Desnivel. We had an apartment in San Telmo for a month. We ate there more times than I care to admit. I would seriously contemplate cutting off a finger or two for the chance to be transported to a table at El Desnivel right now.

  26. The Compulsive Traveler says:

    STEAK is the best food in the world! There’s nothing more delicious than a tender, succulent piece of good-quality beef. Another great place in Buenos Aires to indulge in awesome steak is Parilla la Cabrera. The meat is served with dozens of appetizing side dishes, including pumpkin puree and creamy spinach, which makes it a really good deal financially.

  27. Mmmm steak. Num num num. We used to go to this gorgeous Argentinean steakhouse when I lived in Colombia. Missing that!

    1. Erm, I mean when I lived in London… I live in Colombia now… *sleeping*

  28. Well, I feel a bit cheated as I had a really disappointing meal (bife de chorizo with papas españolas) at Desnivel. It was recommended to me by a girl in my hostel in glowing terms. I actually looked it up before going and saw very mixed reviews so I didn’t know what was going on. Sure enough if I had to write a review it would not be very flattering: poor quality and taste, ordered medium well and got it raw – pretty big deal for a noted steak house, high price, mediocre service, they wouldn’t bring me tap water, etc. It must depend on the day you go, but I really can’t understand how a place can have so many raves AND so many pans. Very bi-polar.

  29. adventureswithben says:

    Do you prefer your steak rare? It looked like there was a lot of red meat.

  30. Even though this is a post about steak, I almost drooled seeing those garlic mushrooms … They’re one of my biggest weaknesses. Hahaha.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Garlic and mushrooms are best friends.

  31. I need to remind myself to fix myself a snack before I come here – hungry again!

  32. Coming from Alberta, famous for it’s beef, this post makes me really want a good steak. I can’t believe the prices either, what a fun way to experience Buenos Aires.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Apparently the prices have really increased in the last 2-3 years but considering how much we pay in Canada I still think it’s cheap for what you get.

  33. Normally, reading posts about food while at work drive me slightly crazy. However, since I don’t eat steak really, I am safe today. You guys look extremely pleased with your choices though!!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Oh Buenos Aires will change you. I ate steak maybe once a year for the last ten years.

  34. Seattle Dredge says:

    I don’t even eat red meat, and this is making me hungry! haha :]

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Prior to Buenos Aires I would have said I didn’t eat much red meat either!

  35. Wanderingtrader says:

    Des Nivel use to be my weekend spot!

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      I went back to split a lomito with Stephanie and it was delicious.

  36. Okay- if I come to visit you I want the same ritual- eating all the time at delicious places and stuffing my face. We don’t even have to talk- I can just eat! 🙂

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      There were a few times that all we did was eat, when it was really delicious.

  37. I give you mad props for eating that much meat – good lord I don’t think I could keep up with you on that front.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Usually I only eat meat once a year!

  38. Mikeachim says:

    I’m going to wuss out here.

    Too red. Too meaty. Too steaky. That would slaughter me. What, *that* much meat? In one go?

    Not on your nelly.

    I think the veggie-wannabe in me is rebelling here, but…um, have you got any chicken or fish? Thx.

    *tiptoes out*

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Oh don’t be a faint-hearted Brit. Man-up Mike!

      1. Mikeachim says:

        *bursts into tears*

  39. Looks like your kind of heaven. Meat is not my heaven, but nice to see you fully indulging in yours! 🙂

  40. Mmmm, steak. It all sounds delicious! Though, I’m convinced you stole the “smackdown” idea from my Chicago posts! Haha.

    1. Ayngelina Author says:

      Did you profile steak? I only used it for alliteration and did hesitate because smackdown seems to be the new buzzword.

      1. Haha, no, my posts were about pizza and observation towers!

        And, for the record, smackdown is a great word!

  41. For 91 Days Travel Blog says:

    We should have listened to you and gone to Manolo. We had reservations one night but had to cancel again.

    EL Obrero and Las Cholas already on the list?

  42. You are a woman after my own heart. I think we should start a “women who love red meat” club. I’d love to come down there and see you for our first meeting.

  43. A tender juicy Argentinian steak sounds exactly like what I need right now! Delicious!

  44. Sebastian says:

    After this post I totally have to go to Argentina. My mouth is watering and definitely gotta get a good steak tonight I bet it’s not going to be half as good as the ones you had 🙂

  45. Trying not to lick the screen here…..:)

  46. plasterer bristol says:

    I’m that friend you have to explain to people before you introduce me… And apologize for after.

  47. Great choices! I’ve lived inBA for 8 years and I’m so glad you loved Desnivel! Their lomo a la mostaza is my favorite steak in all of Buenos Aires.

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