Spanish in Argentina

Eating Out

People eating in a cafe

A typical breakfast in Argentina consists of coffee and milk, toast with butter and either jam or a du leche, a caramel made of reduced milk. Lunch, which is served at around noon or 1:00 p.m., is a heavier meal that normally consists of a meat dish, a starch, salad, and a glass of wine, with fruit or flan for dessert. At around 5:00 p.m., there is tea or matté served with either cake or pie, and then dinner, the main meal of the day, is normally eaten at 8:00 p.m. Coffee is served after lunch and dinner.

Argentine cuisine relies heavily on meat. Ham, chicken, and beef figure highly in the diet. Sunday barbecues are very popular, where the menu consists of grilled meat, bread, salad, and wine. Starches include potatoes, particularly mashed potatoes and occasionally white rice. Pasta with tomato sauce is very popular, and bread is served with every meal. An Argentine favorite is the empanada, fried beef and onions folded into crimped dough with a little lemon.
Anyone traveling to Argentina should be aware of the importance of yerba matté. The drinking of this tea is the basis of an important social ritual, whereby the tea is drunk by all members of a gathering, through the same straw from the same cup. It is a ritual of friendship and trust, and it would be slightly offensive to either refuse the drink or to wipe the straw before drinking. Matté is only served at home and normally served plain, although some add sugar and a little milk. The merit of the matté is important, whether or not it is too hot, too bitter, or sweet and warm.

Argentine restaurants range from simple neighborhood restaurants to luxurious, five-star establishments. Many small hot dog/hamburger places are popular in the neighborhoods, as well as pizza parlors, barbecue restaurants and the occasional American fast food restaurant. The predominant foreign cuisines are Mexican and Chinese. With growing health concerns about meat-based diets, there is an influx of vegetarian restaurants.