5 Amazing Italian Argentinian Food That Would Make Italian Envious

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Italian Argentinian food surprised us when we got to Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital. 

Not knowing what regional dishes to find beyond Argentina beef, discovering Italian-influenced Argentinian cuisine was a delicious delight.

The dominance of Italian culture in Buenos Aires is unmissable. And, talking about food specialties would be incomplete without mentioning the large influence Italian food has on Argentine dishes. 

To savor Argentine cuisine with Italian influence, here are some of the Italian-inspired specialties you’ll want to try.

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Italian Influence in Argentina

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There are many descendants of Italians in Buenos Aires

It is estimated that up to 62% of Argentines have some degree of Italian descent, making it the largest ethnic group in the country. 

The majority of Italian immigrants in Argentina came to the country during the mass immigration period at the beginning of the 20th century. 

Many settled in and around Buenos Aires. And the Italian influence in Argentina comes across in the language and food culture of Argentina. 

READ MORE: Argentina Food Guide -Top 15 Authentic Food You Must Try

Italian Food in Argentina

Ravioli Argentinian Italian Food by Authentic Food Quest
Find ravioles the iconic Argentinian pasta

Given the large population with Italian roots, Italian food is very popular in Argentina. 

While Argentina’s cuisine is famously known for succulent steaks and bold Malbec wines, there are many loved dishes of Italian origin.

Popular Italian food in Argentina includes, but is not limited to pasta and pizza.

We enjoyed discovering the surprising Argentinian twist on Italian Argentinian food.

AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST TIP: One of the tastiest ways to dive into the best Italian-Argentine food is to take a food tour with a local guide. This Buenos Aires gastronomic immersion tour takes you to the liveliest barrios in the city for Italian-influenced Argentine cuisine. For 3 to 4 hours you’ll learn about the food history in Argentina while sampling delectable Argentinian Italian food. 

Five Foods That Reveal Italian Culture in Argentina

There are five classic Italian food specialties that are part of the Argentine cuisine you’ll find in Argentina’s capital.

1. Argentinian Milanesa

Argentinian Milanesa Italian Food In Argentina by Authentic Food Quest
Milanesa is one of the most popular Italian Argentinian food

You cannot come to Buenos Aires and not try milanesa. This popular food is available throughout and is considered one of the typical dishes of Buenos Aires.

This Italian Argentinian food was introduced by Italian immigrants as cotoletta alla milanese, a preparation originating in Milan, Italy.

Milanesa is typically made with a thin slice of beef covered with bread crumbs, but can also be made with chicken, veal, or cod fish. 

Each slice of meat is dipped into beaten eggs then seasoned with spices, dipped in bread crumbs, and fried. 

It can be served in many different ways, the most popular being Milanesa a la Napolitana, which is covered with ham, tomato sauce, and melted mozzarella cheese. 

The Milanesa is usually served with patatas fritas (french fries) or mashed potatoes. 

AUTHENTIC FOOD QUEST RECIPE: If you are curious and want to make Milanesa at home, see our simple Argentine Milanesa Recipe: How To Make The Best Milanesa Argentina Style

Where to Have Argentinian Milanesa in Buenos Aires

Club de la Milanesa argentine italian food by Authentic Food Quest
Perfect restaurant for tasting Argentine milanesa

If you want to try various preparations of Argentinian milanesa, you want to check out the Club de la Milanesa that local portenos swear by. The unique restaurant chain in Buenos Aires specializes in milanesa in all its different forms and cooking styles.

For a more traditional and authentic experience, try Don Ignacio located at Avenida Rivadavia 3439 in Cabillito. Here, they prepare some of the best milanesa in the city.

We had the Milanesa Fugazetta Especial con Fritas, which comes topped with ham, melted mozzarella cheese, onion, olives, and oregano, with a side of thick-cut fries. So good,  it melts in the mouth and is simply delicious! 

The decor here deserves a special mention. When you walk in, you find yourself surrounded by oldies record albums from the 50s to the 80s, and the accompanying music.

2. Argentinian Pizza

Pizza Argentine Italian Food by Authentic Food Quest
Italian pizza in Argentinian style

Buenos Aires is the self-proclaimed pizza capital of South America. Brought over by Italian immigrants, the first documented Argentinian pizza was made by Naples native, Nicolas Vaccarezza in 1882. 

But Italians in Argentina bring their own style. The most typical Argentinian pizza is made of a thick dough that’s a bit chewy and comes with a lot of cheese. 

It’s served with different toppings from the classic melted mozzarella cheese pizza to Neapolitan style with tomato and garlic.

Other toppings might include red peppers, onions, olives, chorizo, anchovies, eggs, blue cheese, and artichoke hearts.

One of the more popular Argentinian-style pizza is Fugazzeta. This is a thick pizza made with two layers of crust that are stuffed with gooey cheese and topped with onion. 

Interestingly, most of the pizzas are accompanied by Faina. This is a flat pancake-like bread made of garbanzo beans. 

We love the simple and plain faina, which has the side benefit of upping your protein intake.

Where To Have The Best Argentinian Pizza in Buenos Aires

El Cuartito Italian Argentinian Food by Authentic Food Quest
Don’t miss delicious pizzas at El Cuartito

To experience Italian Argentinian pizza, check out El Cuartito, one of the oldest pizza joints in Buenos Aires. 

The first thing that surprised us was the long line out the door. It’s a huge restaurant with plenty of seating, so the line is an indication of its popularity. 

However, don’t be intimidated as the line moves quite rapidly. 

One of the best things is that they offer pizza by the slice, so you can sample different styles instead of ordering just one kind. 

The pizza we devoured was very tasty, fresh, and filling. El Cuartito is an experience you can’t miss while in Buenos Aires.

READ MORE: Buenos Aires Food Guide: 10 Best Buenos Aires Foods You Want To Eat

3. Argentina Pasta

Fresh Pasta in Buenos Aires Pasta Shop argentine italian food by AuthenticFoodQuest
Fresh pasta in the store of Buenos Aires

In Buenos Aires, we were surprised to find many specialty stores selling fresh pasta. 

The pasta stores offer different types such as classic linguini, gnocchi, cannelloni, and the most sought-after, the ravioles, not spelled ravioli.

The tradition of hand-making pasta came to Argentina with the Italians who set up Pastas Artesanales stores.

The pasta from these stores is fresh and made with high-quality ingredients. You’ll find pasta dishes with a wide range of different fillings like cheese, spinach, chicken, beef, or ham.

With pasta in Argentina being a favorite food, don’t be surprised to find long lines outside the artisanal pasta stores in Buenos Aires.

In general, pasta is sold by the kilo at very affordable prices. The ravioles are sold by the plancha which means, by the board. 

Each board has about 48 individual ravioles, more than enough for two people. In addition to pasta, many stores also sell sauces and pesto.

Our favorite spot for Argentina pasta was La Nieves Pasta Artisanales, in Montserrat, the neighborhood where we stayed.

The pollo y espinacha ravioles, or ravioles stuffed with chicken, spinach, and, cheese was our favorite.  Delicious and easy to make, you can’t beat the simplicity of Argentina pasta.

Where To Have The Best Pasta in Argentina

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Try various pasta dishes at Prosciutto

One of the most successful and well-known pasta stores in Buenos Aires is La Juvenil which has 20 locations. 

They offer many different types of pasta and they also give you cooking recommendations.

If you’d like to eat pasta at an Argentinian restaurant, Prosciutto offers an extensive list of pasta at very affordable prices. 

Prosciutto has four locations in Buenos Aires though be aware that their serving portions are quite large.

READ MORE: Guide To Mendoza Wine Regions: 12 of The Best Wineries To Visit

4. Argentinian Ice Cream – Helados

Ice Cream Cone Cadore Buenos Aires Sweet by Authentic Food Quest
Mouthwatering creamy cone of joy

Helados means ice cream in Spanish, and Argentinians have mastered the art of making it. Many have said that the ice cream in Argentina is better than in Italy, and it’s hard to disagree. 

Italian immigrants brought their trusted gelato recipes to Argentina, and by using local products have adapted to a uniquely Argentinian version. 

Ice cream in Argentina is thick and creamy as it is made with whole milk. No preservatives or artificial flavors are added making for natural and high-quality ice cream.

We were surprised to find that you can buy ice cream by the kilo. While you’ll find your traditional cups and cones, the 1 or 2-kilo tubs of ice cream are very popular.

In Buenos Aires, you will find artisanal stores as well as popular chains that serve you the very best helados.

Where To Have The Best Helados or Ice Cream in Argentina

Cadore Italian Argentinian Food by Authentic Food Quest
Rosemary getting tempted by Cadore helados

We recommend Cadore, one of the oldest Heladeria’s in Buenos Aires and a distinguished landmark by the Cultural Administration of Buenos Aires.

You’ll find tons of flavor choices! We recommend trying the most typical ones from the region such as dulce de leche or flavors using mate.

Popular ice cream chains like  Freddo, Persicco and Un Altra Volta are all renowned for their exceptional ice cream.

Apparently, the three stores were once owned by two brothers and a business associate. 

When one of the partners passed away, the stores were divided up with one store getting the signature recipes, the other getting the cash, and the final one the flavors. 

They all stem from the same root and you will not go wrong with any of them.

READ MORE: Top 7 Most Authentic Desserts in Argentina

5. Argentinian Cocktail With Italian Liqueur – Fernet

Fernet Argentina Drink Italian Argentinian Food by Authentic Food Quest
Fernet, Argentina’s most popular drink

Fernet Branca, a bitter Italian liqueur, is part of Argentina’s national identity. While not a food, it is a beloved drink that came over with the Italians during the mass immigration period.

Fernet was created in 1845 in Italy as a health tonic. It was marketed as a cure-all and was even sold in pharmacies during prohibition in the United States. 

Dark and syrupy, with a slightly medicinal black licorice taste, Fernet made its way to Argentina in the late 19th century.

While some drink it straight, it is most popular mixed with Coca-Cola over ice, a cocktail known as Fernet con coca. 

This cocktail was first popular with college students and then became widespread throughout Argentina.

Where To Drink Fernet in Argentina

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El Federal is one of the most visited bars by tourists and locals

Today, Fernet is consumed by grandparents and students alike, and it is known as the country’s “unofficial national drink.” 

It is so important to the country that in 2014 it was added to a price-freeze program to protect it from skyrocketing inflation. 

Argentina is also home to the only Fernet Branca distillery outside of Italy. 

With Argentines consuming more than 75% of all Fernet produced globally, you will have no problem finding this drink in any liquor store or restaurant when you visit Argentina. 

We didn’t love the taste of Fernet, finding it slightly bitter, with an aggressive taste. However, as one of the most popular Argentina drinks, it is worth trying.

In Buenos Aires, visit the “Bares notables” to sip on fernet con coca and for a unique experience into Argentinian culture.

READ MORE: Argentina Drinks Guide: 9 of The Most Popular Beverages You Should Try

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In Summary

When it comes to food, Argentina has a lot more to offer than beef, parrillas and asados. 

The influence of Italian Argentines has undeniably shaped the food landscape. As you eat your way through the capital, be sure to go beyond beef and don’t miss Italian Argentinian food.

Have you had any of these Italian Argentina food before? Please let us know which ones in the comments below.

Savor the Adventure!

Looking for More Argentinian Local Food Experiences?

Paperback books and kindle version of Authentic Food Quest Argentina
Find Authentic Food Quest Argentina in paperback and kindle versions

Our book, Authentic Food Quest Argentina takes you on a journey through food in four main regions of Argentina. Buenos Aires, Mendoza & the Wine Regions, the Andean Northwest, and Patagonia & the Lake Region. 

In it, you’ll find descriptions of the typical dishes, desserts, beverages, street food and unique produce not to miss. Also included is an overview of the farmers markets and local stores, restaurants, wineries, and local producers worth visiting.

Throughout the guide, are stories and insights shared by local experts including Argentina’s most renowned Chef, Francis Mallmann.

By combining storytelling with local information, this unique guidebook inspires intrepid and armchair travelers to savor their adventures in Argentina.

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6 Comments on “5 Amazing Italian Argentinian Food That Would Make Italian Envious”

    • Thanks Saiful for your comments. It’s amazing just how prevalent Italian cuisine is around the world. We’ve not had a chance to explore Bangladesh food and culture yet. Are there regions and specialties you recommend visiting?

      Reply
      • You’re welcome!
        Yes, there is. The specialties are: Sundarbans the largest mangrove forest on earth where you can explore hundreds of wild species of animals including deer & tiger, an overnight cruise by Rocket Peddle Steamer, 7 layers tea in Sylhet a totally green region, archeological sites and their typical flavored dishes are awesome.
        For your curiosity I may share some travel story about Bangladesh, also interested reader can check details on https://bit.ly/1SjxSTj

        Reply

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