- Best of: Expat Snacks

A weirdly over-inclusive category, I know – but every now and again I get these urges to go on a spree of sampling one particular type of food and seeing who does it best. I try to put together a small group of people, or at least go with one other person and rotate who that is at different places, to come up with some viewpoints besides my own. Some of these, when originally posted, have been met with quite a bit of contention – often by devotees of one spot or another. So be it – these are my/our assessments, and, of course, subject to change if we re-sample somewhere and find that it’s improved or deterioriated. If you have a suggestion for a category, let me know – right now it’s hamburgers, tacos, shawarma, and buffalo wings. The question is, how to rate these… stars, moons, hearts, clovers…? I’ll stick with words, and in order of favorites, best to worst – taking into account food, service and atmosphere:

Hamburgers

The Pony Line, Posadas 1086 (Four Seasons Hotel), Recoleta – great burger, great fries, sophisticated lounge atmosphere
Sugar Bar, Costa Rica 4619, Palermo – great burger, okay fries, good service, sports bar atmosphere
Spell Cafe, Av. Moreau de Justo 740, Puerto Madero – great burger, great toppings, good onion rings, nice setting
Perez H., Defensa 435, Monserrat – great burger, good fries (though over-salted), casual, almost take-out setting
Burger Joint, J.L. Borges 1766, Palermo – great burger, unknown fries, casual setting
Tucson, Salguero 2741, Palermo (and several other spots) – great burger, great fries, nice, casual atmosphere (more or less an Outback Steakhouse knock-off; also tried the new Buenos Aires Design Center location and was less impressed – still good, but not as good as the Palermo spot)
Kansas, Libertador 4625, Palermo – great burger, okay fries, nice atmosphere for a large restaurant (Houston’s chain knockoff)
Hard Rock Cafe, Buenos Aires Design Center, Pueyrredon 2501, Recoleta – great burger (if that was the only factor, this would likely be at the top), okay fries, ear-splittingly noisy chain restaurant – weekday lunches tend to be less loud and softer rock music, and fewer people
Buller Pub & Brewery, R.M. Ortíz 1827, Village Recoleta – good burger, great toppings, good onion rings, casual pub atmosphere
The Embers, Libertador 14638, Acassuso – good burger and excellent onion rings, the option for a chili burger is a big plus, old-fashioned soda fountain atmosphere
Temple Bar, Las Heras 1822, Recoleta – good burger, great crushed potatoes, nice beer selection
Janio, Malabia 1805, Palermo – good burger, great toppings, great fries, laid-back, neighborhood atmosphere
Carlitos LNG, Guido 1962, Recoleta – good burger, okay onion rings, neighborhood casual spot
Home, Honduras 5860, Palermo – good, “interesting” burger, great fries, nice casual ambiance
Dean & Denny’s, Malabia 1591, Palermo – okay burger, soggy fries, weird, high tech atmosphere
Novecento, Baéz 199, Las Cañitas – overseasoned, dry burger, greasy fries, nice atmosphere
Shoeless Joe’s “Remember El Alamo” (downstairs bar), Uruguay 1175, Recoleta – good burger, lousy fries, skeevy atmosphere
Brand’s, Gurruchaga 1776, Palermo – okay burger, iffy fries, coffeeshop atmosphere
La Biela, Quintana 596, Recoleta – skimpy, flavorless burger, good fries, coffeeshop atmosphere
T.G.I. Friday’s, Alto Palermo mall, Arenales 3360, Palermo – lousy burger, lousy fries, kitschy atmosphere
Pepino, Libertador 14475, Acassuso – skimpy, uninteresting burger, cold, lousy fries, noisy, teeming, family hangout
Períca, corner of Libertador and Sanchez de Bustamante, Recoleta – skimpy, frozen burger, frozen fries, coffeeshop with a nice view

Tacos

La Fabrica del Taco, Gorriti 5062, Palermo – generally good tacos though inconsistent, good service, funky, fun atmosphere. best thing are their housemade hot sauces
The Taco Box, Soler 5581 and Cerviño 3768, Palermo – really good tacos, okay service, noisy bar
Xalapa, El Salvador 4800, Palermo – decent tacos with good filling, though the tortillas could be improved, okay service, cute spot
Cielito Lindo, El Salvador 4999, Palermo – okay tacos, casual but fun service, fun atmosphere
Mole Tacos Fonda Mexicana, Cabildo 1372, Belgrano – bland, uninteresting tacos, poor service
California Burrito Co, Lavalle 441, Centro and other locations – used to be recommended but gone downhill since the original owners sold the stores to a fast food chain operator who has cut every corner he can in quality and service
Lupita, Baéz 227, Las Cañitas – dripping in oil, poor quality meat, borderline inedible, decent service and an interesting room are the only redeeming factors

Shawarma (sandwiches/wrap-style)

Originally I included this list here, but it’s become such an extensive project searching out the best and worst of the shawarma world, that it now has its own page.

Hot/Buffalo Wings

Casa Bar, Rodriguez Peña 1150, Recoleta – with their own homemade hot sauces and dressings, they’re classic style, pack plenty of heat, and the atmosphere is a really cool lounge and sports bar, easy pick as number one
Hard Rock Cafe, Buenos Aires Design Center – great classic Buffalo wings, you know the atmosphere
Sugar Bar, Costa Rica 4619, Palermo – good wings, good service, sports bar atmosphere
Cilantro, Anchorena 1122, Recoleta – Asian style, not particularly hot wings but good, Okay service, somewhere between bar and cafe atmosphere
El Alamo, Uruguay 1175, Recoleta – tough call, classic Buffalo wings, though clearly frozen and reheated, really skeevy atmosphere, especially at night – and that kills it for me, but it’s up to you… (They used to be better, but have clearly gone wayyyy downhill.)
Portezuelo, Vicente López 2160, Village Recoleta – bland, uninteresting wings, but a great bar
King’s Town, Jufre 102, Villa Crespo – bland, poor quality wings, neighborhood hangout
T.G.I. Friday’s, Alto Palermo Mall and Puerto Madero – bland, overcooked, poor quality wings – but what would you expect here?
Hooters, Alicia Moreau de Justo 840, Puerto Madero – most disgusting excuse for hot wings ever put on a plate, I won’t even discuss the atmopshere

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