The casual fan of Peruvian food probably doesn't know much beond ceviche. And although the most popular order at this kitschy, family-run Peruvian cantina is the ceviche trio, owner Ángel Uribullo is most proud of the platos criollos of his native Trujillo. The small city in northern Peru is known for a mix of homey and heavy flavors influenced by Spanish conquistadors and Chinese slaves. Our favorites include chicharron, a fatty fried pork belly; warm tamales; hearty stewed lamb over buttery white beans; and potatoes in a creamy huancaína salsa. The adventurous can opt for anticuchos, skewered heart marinated in Peru’s characteristic spice and citrus. If you have to stick to the ceviche, we won’t judge.
Where: Av. Hipólito Yrigoyen 1390 & 1386, Congreso
When: Daily, noon-4 p.m. & 8 p.m.-midnight
More info: (11) 4382-8492; Facebook
Palermo Soho is often so trendy it hurts — white subway tiles, industrial-chic design schemes and stubbornly busy breweries make it so that simple spots like Las Pizarras get lost in the noise. Although the small bistro has been around for a little less than a decade, its laid-back style reminiscent of an old neighborhood bar makes it feel like it's been a part of the barrio forever. The menu constantly evolves depending on daily market finds, which are indicated on chalkboards hung around the room. Chef and owner Rodrigo Castillo has a preference for meats unusual to the porteño palate: hare, river fish, quail, lamb. Be sure to arrive early, as this small place routinely fills up with its loyal customers.
Where: Thames 2296, Palermo
When: Tues.-Sun., 8 p.m.-midnight
More info: (11) 4775-0625; laspizarrasbistro.com
Although the neighborhood cafe suffered a brief closure, the "bar notable" (a distinction awarded to bars of historic importance) was revitalized to its original luster last year. The owners of 878, one of the city’s original speakeasies, took on the challenge of meticulously restoring the space that has been a Recoleta staple since its opening in 1930. In contrast to the old-school feel, the menu has a decidedly modern approach, offering a full bar and dishes made with ingredients from small, mostly organic producers.
Where: Callao 501, Recoleta
When: Mon., 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Tues. & Weds., 8 a.m.-11:45 p.m.; Thurs.-Sat., 8 a.m.-1 a.m.
More info: (11) 4371-3561; Facebook
El Obrero has been slinging traditional porteño fare for more than six decades. Although the current owners are the grandchildren of the originals, not much else has changed in this working-class La Boca spot. The checkered tile floors are original, and wall space to add more photographs and soccer flags ran out decades ago. The menu is encyclopedic in its offerings of traditional Buenos Aires food, a mixture of grilled meats, Italian- and Spanish-inspired pastas, and roasted dishes. Steak, fries and an arugula salad are always safe bets, but the gargantuan milanesa, eggplant escabeche, homey raviolis, braised beef and fried calamari are solid choices, too. Whatever you order, pair it with a vermouth and soda, drink of choice for the original obreros.
Where: Agustín R. Caffarena 64, La Boca
When: Mon.-Sat., noon-4 p.m., 8 p.m.-close
More info: (11) 4362-9912
From the outside, the restaurant, hidden on a residential block in Constitución, looks like a shop that has been shuttered for the night. But once you take a seat in this small restaurant, which offers a delicate 18-course tasting menu, you'll feel like you've been transported to another universe. Aramburu's tasting menu isn't just the best in the city, it was also Buenos Aires’ very first. Since its opening dozens of tasting menus have followed, but few can match the inventiveness of the original — think fresh brioche wrapped in goat bacon, potato and octopus "flowers," quinoa meringue and ice cream served in globes on a bonsai tree, all accompanied by perfectly paired wine.
Where: Salta 1050, Constitución
When: Tues.-Sat., 8:30-11:30 p.m.
More info: (11) 4305-0439; arambururesto.com.ar
Friendships have been ruined by the most heated food discussion in Buenos Aires: Who serves the best pizza? Most of the nominees are clustered in the downtown theater section of Avenida Corrientes — there is even a famous pizza crawl that goes from one end of the avenue to the other sampling slices. An easier argument to win: Who makes the best fugazzeta rellena (pizza stuffed with mozzarella and topped with onions, a Buenos Aires staple)? This Villa Ortuzar pizzeria has been serving up its recipe since 1939, and a room that's always brimming with loyal locals and taxi drivers is all the evidence we need.
Where: Av. Álvarez Thomas 1321, Villa Ortuzar
When: Mon.-Sat., 8 a.m.-1 a.m.
More info: (11) 4554-7585; Facebook