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Authored by Rosemary and Claire of Authentic Food Quest

When it comes to Argentinian food, your first thought may be of succulent steaks accompanied by full-bodied Malbec wines. But what if you’re not one of those steak lovers? Or if red wine is not your go to drink?

Rest reassured, there is more to Argentinian cuisine than beef and Malbec wines!

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The European Influence

Argentina’s cuisine has been largely influenced by European immigrants from Spain and Italy. Thick-crusted pizza and homemade pasta are the culinary legacy of Italian immigrants. The Spainish brought empanadas, which typically are filled with beef or chicken but also can be made with veggies and cheese.

One example of an authentic Argentine classic inspired by Italian immigrants is the Milanesa. Crispy and savory, milanesa is a thin cut of protein usually beef, dipped in eggs, covered with breadcrumbs, and then fried in oil. Milanesa is normally served with a plate of fries, mashed potatoes, or salad.

But wait! Can you really stay away from beef? The good news is, you can. You will find specialties like milanesa made with chicken, veal, codfish, and even vegetarian options such as soy and quinoa. Find the variety that best suits your mood and indulge!

Milanesa Argentina

Local and Regional Influence

Outside of Buenos Aires, cuisine becomes much more local and regional. For example, in the Andean Northwest, the food is heavily influenced by indigenous communities. Here you can enjoy dishes made with local produce such as quinoa and papas andinas (Andean potatoes).

One of the most surprising is the hundreds of varieties of papas andinas. From round and green native potatoes to tri-colored red, yellow and purple ones, you can explore a wide range of flavors and tastes.

In Patagonia and the Lake Regions, you will be surprised by the delicious fish and seafood. Tempt yourself with centolla (southern king crab) in Ushuaia. Alternatively, taste the freshest trucha (trout) from the great lakes of Bariloche.

centolla Argentina

Beyond Malbec, The High Altitude Wines of Cafayate

While Malbec wines may take the fame, few know about the emblematic white wine of Argentina called Torrontés. This grape grows nowhere else in the world, but in Argentina.

The vineyards in Cafayate, located in the province of Salta, are the highest vineyards in the world. Growing at 1750 meters above sea level, Torrontés vines grow higher than the vines of Mendoza, Burgundy and Bordeaux in France, or Napa Valley in the U.S.

Torrontés wines are light yellow in color with golden or green hues. The taste is a strong concentration of light and fruity flavors. What might look like a sweet wine, is refreshingly acidic. So make sure you think beyond Malbec and try the deliciously refreshing Torrontés white wines.

Vineyards in Cafayate

Vegetarian and Gluten Free

Eating meat-free in Argentina is not as difficult as most people think. Even in the land of the succulent steak, you will find several vegetarian options. In Buenos Aires, vegetarian restaurants are popping up all over the place. There are even organic farmers markets that sell vegetarian and gluten-free products.

Across Argentina, you will also find many grocery stores with dedicated sections selling vegetarian and gluten free options. There are also health food stores called dietética where non-meat eaters can find a range of alternatives.

Outside the Capital and in the north of Argentina, restaurants in smaller towns like Salta or even Tilcara, offer vegetarian menu items. One popular website you can use to find vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Argentina is HappyCow.

There’s More to Argentinian Cuisine Than Beef and Malbec Wines!

Argentina is blessed with incredible natural resources, from the fertile plains of the pampas, to the oceans and Andes Mountains.

Take the time to appreciate culinary specialties from the local regions where they are farmed and grown. Rest assured, you can find delicious and enjoyable authentic food experiences in Argentina that go beyond beef and Malbec wines.


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Rosemary and Claire are co-founders of Authentic Food Quest. They aim to inspire people to travel through authentic food.  Follow their quest as they get ready to explore Southeast Asia next.

They have just published their first book: Authentic Food Quest Argentina: A Guide To Eat Your Way Authentically Through Argentina. Get your copy on Amazon Kindle today.

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  1. Great article! Going to Buenos Aires in Feb, can’t wait :)

    • Glad you enjoyed it – you’ll love Buenos Aires, we were there last month and had a fabulous time :)

    • Thrilled to hear that you liked the article! It is summertime in Feb in Buenos Aires so it is the perfect time to go. You will have a blast!

  2. I would be pretty happy with the beef and Malbac wines! Everything looks delicious, I would try it all.

    • Definitely not knocking the beef and Malbec wines :D But a lot more on the menu if you’re feeling like branching out :)

    • That’s great Jen! Yes to beef and Malbec and much more :)

  3. This post is making me drool! I’ve always heard that food in Argentina is amazing. I always think of beef, but this definitely has made me think of more than just that :)

    • You’re not alone Candy! Hope you have the chance to visit Argentina soon :)

    • Glad to hear Candy! Indeed there are so many great dishes and regional food specialties in Argentina. You should definitively taste it!

  4. While I am a huge fan of Malbec wine, Cafayate wine sounds rather interesting. And after having visiting the Andean Region of Peru, I can only imagine how delicious the food is in Northwestern Argentina. Thanks for the recommendations!

    • Glad you enjoyed the post Ray! Hope you have the chance soon to try Cafayate wine … let us know how the food compares to the Andean Region of Peru after you’ve been through Argentina too! :)

    • You are welcome Ray! Cafayate wines are really a must try. Not as well-known as Malbec wines but definitively worth a visit!

  5. I didn’t make it to Argentina when I was in South America, I ran out of time sadly but I definitely want to go back! I do love steak but it’s good to know there are plenty of other options too ;)

    • Sounds like the perfect excuse to plan a return trip :D

    • As a steak lover, Argentina is the place for you! And Argentinian will love you too :)

  6. I love king crab! I’d definitely trade seafood for beef. Wish I was there now instead of at home!

    • I’m right there with you – seafood all the way! :D

    • Yes Argentina has delicious seafood too! The Atlantic coast, Ushuaia and Patagonia will be your best bet!

  7. One of the best articles I have read in the last months, Megan, thanks so much for bringing it up! I pinned it and stumbled it.

    As regards the article, I love both steaks and Malbec, but I had no idea about Torrontés. It sounds divine.

    I am very happy that it (Argentinian cuisine) also offers vegan and vegetarian dishes :) We need some time out of the regular meat bombs, don’t we? :)

    • Thank you Svetoslav, so glad to hear that you liked the article! Yes Torrontés is a wonderful surprise. Argentina is so well-known for its steak that it is hard to think that they offer vegetarian and vegan options. Nonetheless, you will find tasty vegetarian dishes.

  8. Never tried any of these before but they all look really appetizing and i would love to try them soon. I am sure that I will enjoy it.

    • Maybe this is the time to plan a trip to Argentina Jan! You will love it :)

  9. I am glad you touched on gluten free – my husband is a celiac and he hates to travel out of fear of being sick or not finding food to eat. Also doesn’t help that he is picky.

    • You can comfortably add Argentina to your travel list! I’m sure your husband will find food to his liking :)

  10. Oh jeez- I’d take the steak and crab any day! I’ve never had Argentinian food before but I think I’ll love it after reading this post. I’ll stick with the beef and wine ;)

    • Good choice Ivy! You cannot go wrong with beef and wine in Argentin ;)

  11. Yuuuuuuumm! I’ve not been to Argentina, but I’m already a Malbec fan. Not a huge fan of steaks, but the other options sound amazing! I would be all over the crab, though! I guess I have a menu laid out for my trip south! Cheers

    • Glad you found your menu items :) Argentina has great seafood options. You will enjoy traveling through Argentina beautiful landscape and amazing food!

  12. The food in Argentina is amazing. One of my favorite stops was Freddo’s for ice cream in Buenos Aries, and the dulce de leech. We also had so many fresh vegetables.. And well the steak was unbelievable too. I would love to spend more time sampling the wines though

    • Argentinian have mastered the art of making ice-cream! And you cannot go wrong with Freddo :) We loved the ability to shop at any corner store for fresh fruits and vegetables. For Argentine wines we recommend going to Mendoza and Cafayate. It takes wine tasting to another level!

  13. Lovely post, Meg! I seem to have missed reading this post earlier. There are many amazing things about the Argentinian food that you’ve so nicely mentioned. I am feeling hungry again. Thanks for sharing this post. I look forward to reading more delicious posts like these from you! Cheers and have a lovely weekend.

    • Thank you Gagan! Glad that you liked the post and sorry if it made you hungry although we take it as a compliment ;) Happy to hear that you want more delicious posts as all what we do is write about food and travels :)

  14. I am glad to learn of the vegetarian options. This is going to be useful during our trip to South America. Still don’t know when. Thanks.

    • Thank you Nisha! Yes Argentina has more vegetarian options than we think. You will find buffet restaurant with a lot of salads and vegetable dishes. You will love it there!

  15. If you have yet to try cream cheese stuffed bread, you are going to want to make this Apple Cinnamon Cream Cheese Bread this fall. Yes, this yummy quick bread is stuffed with a yummy cream cheese layer that blends so well with the apples and cinnamon

    • Thanks for the tip Ve – sounds quite incredible!

  16. Your post reminded my why I love Argentina so much! European influences galore and lots of good food! I loved their varieties of papas andinas. Your post made me want to go back to Buenos Aires.

    • I’m so glad Anda! We really enjoyed our time in Argentina, though didn’t delve into the food scene nearly as much as Rosemary and Claire did, so it was fabulous accepting a guest post from foodies with a different perspective :)

    • Thanks so much and so glad you enjoyed the article about Argentina food. The food is truly amazing (and the wines) and like you, we long to go back as well!!

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