Cafe La Poesia is not fancy, but it is seriously charming and has lots of personality. This place pays homage to its predecessor – a gathering place for local Argentine writers and musicians after the military dictatorship – with a decor that combines culture and history. The meat and cheese platters get high marks. Otherwise choose from pastries, sandwiches, steaks, pastas, hamburgers and salads, as well as coffee, beer, wine and cocktails. The cafe is open all day and late into the night. Patrons are usually a mix of locals and foreign visitors. You can sit downstairs, upstairs, in the back room or at one of the few tables outside.
Recommended for Outdoor Dining because: Cafe La Poesia is casual and has tables outside.
Sarah's expert tip: Any day of the week Cafe La Poesia makes a great spot for breakfast or for drinking with friends and fellow co-conspirators in the evening.
Casual but upmarket, Tiendas Naturales is an organic cafe and restaurant located in the Palermo neighborhood. Tiendas Naturales is open throughout the day (in fact, every day from 8 am to midnight) and serves baked goods, sandwiches, salads, wraps, hamburgers and pastas, in addition to teas, juices, smoothies and cocktails. Bring your smartphone or laptop to take advantage of the free Wi-Fi. You have your choice of different types of tables inside, or the cafe tables for two outside. Otherwise, you can order fresh bread and pastries to go, or have them delivered, and go explore one of the nearby parks.
Located beside the water in Puerto Madero, Asia de Cuba is a stylish (and pricey) restaurant and nightclub. Every day of the week diners come to enjoy the slick, Eastern-themed ambiance over sushi and sake as well as Argentine inspired dishes. But at 1 am Wednesday through Saturday the tables are moved aside and the nightclub commences. If you only want to come for the nightclub portion, that's fine, but be prepared to pay a cover charge. The music varies and can include pop, hip hop, Latin and techno and the crowd is often a mix of people in their 20s, 30s and 40s.
Recommended for Outdoor Dining because: Asia de Cuba in Puerto Madero has beautiful decor inside and waterfront seating outside.
Sarah's expert tip: If you are on a budget, skip dinner. Come for the fixed-price weekday lunch menu instead, which is offered from 12:30 to 4 pm.
Named after a famous Parisian bar, the Buenos Aires version of Bar du March� is a small but exceedingly charming French-style restaurant. Open all day and specializing in wine and cheese, Bar du March� is as good an excuse as any to while away the afternoon over a great bottle of wine and some fantastic food. If you don't feel like a full meal (even though their multi-course meals are quite excellent), try their cheese and charcuterie plates. When the weather is nice, you can sit at one of the French-style caf� tables outside. Bar du March� also does a nice brunch.
Temptation lives on at Decata. The wide selection of cakes, pies and cheesecakes in the deli case is a sight to behold, and when you succumb, the slices are generous. Otherwise, this is a cool cafe located across the street from the Dorrego fairgrounds. Savory options include pastries, sandwiches, salads, pastas and Sunday brunch. If you have a large group, you can ask to use the pretty private room upstairs. Note that Decata is more of a day place than a night place; though officially open until 2am, they close earlier if there aren't enough patrons to make it worth their while.
Recommended for Outdoor Dining because: Decata is an attractive Palermo cafe with good cake and rooftop seating.
Sarah's expert tip: When the weather is nice, the rooftop terrace is arguably the best place in the city to lounge and eat cake. For extra naughtiness, add the two-for-one happy hour cocktails into the mix.
It might be a pricey and heavily touristed choice, but Caba�a Las Lilas is still near the top of the league when it comes to serving the very best of Argentina's world-famous beef. Every cut comes from the restaurant's own award-winning ranch, which specializes in five types of beef, including black Angus. Caba�a Las Lilas occupies an upmarket, dockside location in Buenos Aires' redeveloped Puerto Madero district and offers up correspondingly classy service and aesthetics. Here you'll find exposed red brick walls and steel beams framed with good lighting and comfortable tables and chairs. Start your meal off right with a glass of wine.
Recommended for Outdoor Dining because: Cabaña Las Lilas is on the Puerto Madero waterfront and is considered one of BA's best restaurants for a nice cut of beef.
Sarah's expert tip: Take full advantage of the location. Go for a stroll along the waterfront before or after you eat, preferably when there's still light out; however, it's nicest at sunset.
While the Buenos Aires dining scene is often dominated by steak, pizza and pasta, there is more to Buenos Aires and Argentina, and 1810 Cocina Regional is a good example of that. There you will find traditional Argentine fare like meat and vegetable stews; delicate empanadas filled with ham, chicken or cheese; as well as home-style desserts like flan, rice pudding, alfajores, cheese with quince paste and dulce de leche mousse. The somewhat elegant decor evokes Argentina's colonial past with dark woods, black tablecloths and horseshoes used in napkin holders, but the prices are reasonable, making it a good choice for the budget conscious who are looking to dine.
While traditional-style parrillas offer much to love, when you want a change from the rough and ready decor and barbecue fumes, the minimalist but stylish Minga, located in pole position on the plaza in trendy Palermo Viejo, fits the bill quite nicely. The interior is all clean lines and subdued colors (beiges, pale wood and exposed concrete), and the restaurant experience is up a dozen notches from the average parrilla joint. The meat comes in on cutting boards accompanied by little dishes of sauce. You'll find that their salads and sides have a lot more oomph than your standard parrilla fries.
Recommended for Outdoor Dining because: All the food served at Minga tastes of very high quality.
Sarah's expert tip: Minga opens at noon so you can just as likely enjoy a leisurely lunch with plaza watching as get in a good dinner before partying in Palermo Viejo. Minga's drinks list is ample.
Located in the Belgrano neighborhood's small Chinatown area, Lotus Neo Thai is an elegant and romantic Thai restaurant where you can feast on delicious Thai-style curries and stir fries. Vegetarian options are available too. However, if you don't like spicy food, be absolutely sure to inquire before settling on a particular dish. The food presentation is good and overall the restaurant's Asian-style decor is tasteful and well put together. When the weather is nice, eating on Lotus Neo Thai's second-floor terrace is a real treat. You will no doubt feel like you have been transported to a romantic spot in Asia.
El Muelle restaurant is a treat. It sits inside the historic Fisherman's Club, a beautiful Buenos Aires landmark, that stands on a pier in the Costanera Norte. The food focuses on Mediterranean-inspired seafood dishes such as garlic-sauteed shrimp, prawn salad, smoked salmon, octopus and seafood paellas. Local fish choices include pacu and surubi. Otherwise, there are meat dishes and pastas; a couple of the pastas are suitable for vegetarians. A word of warning: the desserts can be too tempting to pass up. At El Muelle you can choose to sit outside on the terrace or inside with views of the water.
Recommended for Outdoor Dining because: The elegant El Muelle has great waterfront views and seafood dishes.
Sarah's expert tip: Ask to sit outside when the weather is nice. Aside from the restaurant, the Fisherman's Club (Club de Pescadores in Spanish) is still active today. They put on a number of fishing and social activities for members and their families.