Take an appetite with you to Buenos Aires. We knew little about Argentine cuisine before arriving in the country but quickly came to enjoy what was available. Most Argentines eat a light breakfast, usually bread and tea, maté or coffee, a large lunch and then another large meal after nine - usually much later. If you wish to adopt this regime and you get hungry before 9pm, there are pizzerias confiterías where you can get deli type meals, including a pancho or hot dog. As a visitor you will have more options though. Your hotel is likely to have a buffet breakfast on offer with hot and cold dishes and dinner is usually available from around seven.
Though porteños enjoy a varied ethnic cuisine thanks to their immigrant ancestors, the traditional Argentine meal of beef is most popular. It is something you need to try. Much of Argentine beef is exported, but in Buenos Aires, you'll find plenty of restaurants to enjoy what is saved for local consumption. Steak houses called parrillas abound. Some call attention to their menus with stuffed cows in the doorway or cook their meat in the windows. In Buenos Aires, beef is truly the King.
To fully enjoy meals in Buenos Aires, you need to understand the cuts of beef. The following comes from an Argentine source and is a good reference:
bife de lomo is equivalent to a sirloin steak and is the leanest and most expensive cut
bife de chorizo is cut from the rib near the rump and a very popular cut
bife de costilla is a T-bone steak.
tira de asado is a strip of rib roast big enough for two
vacio is the bottom part of the sirloin porterhouse and flank and is the juiciest cut
A parrillada is a mixed selection of beef cuts, other meat and sausages. If you like your meat rare, order it juogoso. Medium is al punto and well done is bien hecho or cocido. We were surprised to find that there were not many vegetables, potatoes, rice or other accompanying items with your meat. However, salad and bread seem to be traditional as starters and the salads may be anything from a sliced tomato to a mixed salad with eggs and artichokes. Combine this with an Argentine wine, either red tinto or white blanco, and most visitors will be really satisfied.
For dessert, we found that there is usually a choice of fresh fruit, custard or cheese and preserved fruit, or queso y dulce or pastries made with dulce de leche. Juices are popular as are licuados or juice blended with milk. For a hot drink you can order coffee at any time but be aware that it will be a very strong espresso. You can also order café chico which is a thick strong coffee in a small cup or café cortado a small coffee with a touch of milk, often served in a glass. Café con leche, coffee with milk is usually served at breakfast only. If you are a tea drinker, and want milk in your tea ask for un poquito de leche else your tea will be served with lemon slices.