Cabaña las Lilas, Buenos Aires (tel. 11/4313-1336)
Widely considered the best parrilla in Buenos Aires, Cabaña las Lilas is always packed. The beef comes exclusively from the restaurant's private estancia, and the steaks are outstanding. The cuts of beef are so soft, they almost melt in your mouth. Despite the high price of a meal here, it's casual; some guests even come in sneakers and shorts.
Café Tortoni, Buenos Aires (tel. 11/4342-4328)
This legendary cafe might not have the best service in town, but its historical importance and old-world beauty more than make up for that. Café Tortoni was and remains Argentina's meeting place of choice among intellectuals; even the throngs of tourists don't overwhelm the space.
La Bourgogne, Buenos Aires (tel. 11/4805-3857)
Jean Paul Bondoux is the top French chef in South America, brandishing his talents in the kitchen of the restaurant tucked inside the Alvear Palace Hotel (a second La Bourgogne is in Mendoza). A member of Relais & Châteaux, La Bourgogne serves exquisite cuisine inspired by Bondoux's Burgundy heritage.
José Balcance, Salta (tel. 387/421-1628)
The best restaurant in Salta serves incredibly imaginative Andean cuisine in an elegant setting. Guests can sample llama carpaccio or roasted llama medallions with prickly pear sauce, accompanied by Andean potatoes grown in the verdant hills on the outskirts of the city. They're all delicious.
Casa Tomada, Córdoba (tel. 351/153-844-609)
Relive your student days in Argentina's university city. A rambling building of stalls and boutiques leads to a rickety courtyard full of youthful clientele dining on milanesas and cold meat platters.
1884, Mendoza (tel. 261/424-2698)
Celebrity chef Francis Mallmann's restaurant in Mendoza has been number one in town for a few years now, and it remains the ultimate Argentine dining experience in the country's food and wine capital. Located inside a century-old bodega, or wine cellar, the restaurant serves rugged and tasty local specialties such as chivito (kid) and lechón (piglet).
Lunch at a Bodega
Mendoza is home to dozens of places where visitors can learn more about wine -- from how the grapes are grown to how the barrels are chosen. And the lessons usually come with a relaxed outdoor lunch served on a bodega patio, with the towering Andes in the distance. The experience is indulgent, informative, and so very relaxing. Try the lunch at Ruca Malen or at Andeluna or O. Fournier in the Valle de Uco.
The gaucho gets things going early. The coals take time to warm up, and then they place the lamb on a cross in front of the heat, and leave it there to roast for hours. Served with a simple salad and a few bottles of Malbec, it's home cooking like you've never eaten. Estancias from the Lake District to Los Glaciares National Park humbly offer this tradition daily to visitors. Don't miss it at Estancia Cristina.
Lakeside Gourmet Dining in Bariloche
The capital of Northern Patagonia has some truly excellent restaurants. The best, such as Yuco, Butterfly, and Cassis, are right atop of the giant mountain lakes, offering views that match the outstanding dining. Be sure to arrive well before sunset!
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