In Buenos Aires, formerly no-frills parrillas are getting stylishly decked out and serving premium chops typically set aside for export.
The Dish: The city’s dry-aged steak pioneer is known for its ojo de bife, or rib eye. Each inch-thick portion is matured for 28 days and served with one of seven potato sides, like decadent milhojas, a gratin with Reblochon cheese. The Look: Fit for the power-lunch crowd, with glass walls, leather-backed chairs, and a 3,500-bottle wine cellar. The Neighborhood: A prime spot overlooking the Río de la Plata, in the business hub of Puerto Madero. Entrées $7–$18.
The Dish: Porteños are obsessed with the smoked asado de tira (crosscut short ribs) at this 30-seat steak house, where grass-fed beef comes from the owner’s farm in the Pampas. The Look: A rough-hewn aesthetic prevails, with butcher-block tables and six bar seats facing a coal- fired grill. The Neighborhood: Two blocks from Avenida Santa Fe, a main Palermo thoroughfare that feeds into the botanical gardens. 2317 Thames; 54-11-2071-7199; entrées $17–$20.
The Dish: It’s all about pigs—not cattle—here. Go for the inventive pork-belly sandwich with peanut butter and carrot slaw on house-made bread. The Look: A chalkboard menu, place mats made from hand-stamped butcher paper, and wildflowers on each table give off a rustic vibe. The Neighborhood: Steps away from the outdoor flea market in San Telmo. 672 Piedras; 54-11- 4307-3661; entrées all $9.
The Dish: Don’t miss the house special, an 18-hour-roasted Patagonian lamb shoulder for two served with seasonal vegetables. The Look: Barnyard glam, with tufted leather banquettes and charcoal-colored, wood-paneled walls. The Neighborhood: Inside the Fierro hotel, it’s smack in the middle of restaurant-packed Palermo Hollywood. Entrées $12–$13.
More good reads from T+L:
• It’s Not a Store, it’s ‘a Microcosm of the Best of Buenos Aires’
• Best Places to Travel in 2015
• World's Best Awards 2015