In Buenos Aires, it all happens late.
When meeting for dinner in the capital, most hosts will suggest a sensible 9-9.30pm sit down, so the majority of restaurants tend to be open ’til midnight as standard. But if you want somewhere that keeps the vibe going much later, try one of these after dark hotspots as recommended by former Time Out Buenos Aires executive (and midnight feasting fan) Cathy Runciman.
San Martín 941, T: 4314 4787.
Open till 3am Mon-Sat.
Owner Paolo and his team keep this cosy yet lively bar/bistro at the top of ‘must-visit-in-BA’ lists, as well as being perennially popular with faithful regulars from the neighbourhood. Pull up a stool at the colourful tiled bar and choose from chilled cocktails or a glass of tinto from the reliable local wine list, or take a table to enjoy house classics, such as lomo Dadá (superlative steak), the daily fish special or substantial salads.
A highly recommended downtown destination.
Talcahuano 937, 4816 1758.
Open till 1am Tues-Thur & Sun, till 2am Fri/Sat.
For a burst of two vital local influences – tango and Italian food – head to pizzeria El Cuartito, little changed since the 1930s. There are no added extras here, just pies and slices claimed by many to be the best in town.
Eat standing at the counter or queue for a table, and be sure to try the fugazzeta (cheese and onion pizza), a gastronomic obligation on any visit to Buenos Aires.
Gran Bar Danzón
Libertad 1161 T: 4811 1108, granbardanzon.com.ar.
Open till 1am daily.
An excellent and extensive selection of wines, contemporary, creative cocktails, and a choice between an imaginative menu in the high-end dining room or the sushi bar for lighter bites, have ensured that this sophisticated lounge-restaurant has consistently attracted an upmarket crowd for more than 15 years.
To find it follow the sweetly scented, candle-lit stairs from street level up to the first floor.
Soler 5608 T: 4775 6964, osaka.com.pe
Open till 1am daily.
Star of the stylish Peruvian-Japanese fusion scene, Osaka now has two temples of chic minimalism – in Palermo and Puerto Madero. Knowledgeable waiting staff will guide you through the extensive choice of sushi rolls, ceviches and tiraditos, in striking combinations of ingredients and flavours.
These standards of service, décor and cuisine don’t come cheap in Buenos Aires, but as confirmed by the hordes of loyal customers, it’s an indulgence worth treating yourself to.
Cabrera 5099 T: 4831 7002, parrillalacabrera.com.ar.
Open till 1am Mon-Fri, till 2am Sat-Sun.
Such is the popularity of La Cabrera – number 17 on Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants hotlist – that they’ve opened a sister restaurant just around the corner (Cabrera Norte). This – for many – is the perfect place to try parrilla (Argentine grill). Book ahead to indulge in succulent, substantial steaks (vacío – flank – is a house speciality) or for bolder diners, try the different cuts of offal (such as chinchulín – intestine).
For a classic steakhouse, there’s an unusually wide and appealing variety of starters and sides.
Cerviño 3732 T: 4805 5576. Open till 3am Tues-Sat.
In privileged Palermo Chico, and enjoyed as much for the people watching as the food, Leopoldo pulls an attractive, champagne-swilling clientele.
If you’re all ‘steaked-out’, choose from a risotto of seasonal grilled vegetables, a salmon with wasabi and potato foam, the ricotta and spinach ravioli, or that other staple of fashionable BA restaurants, sushi rolls.
La Fábrica del Taco
Gorriti 5062 T: 4832 0815, fabricadeltaco.com.
Open till 2am Tues-Sun.
You don’t come to the Fábrica late at night for fine dining – it’s all about fun. Under the kitsch neon lights and Mexican décor, a lively gang of locals and tourists knock back tequila cocktails to accompany the simple selection of fresh tacos and fiery sauces.
It’s not sophisticated but it is authentic, and thanks to the always-friendly service, this is a great option for groups. If you’re more into the tequila than the tacos, head straight to La Adorada, their bar across the road.
Sarmiento 1599 T: 4373 5163.
Open daily ‘till late’.
Since 1927 this classic ‘bodegón’ (canteen) has been a late night refuge for the bohemian theatre and tango crowd – including Aníbal Troilo and Piazzola (two tango legends more nocturnal than Batman).
The menu is classic bodegón fare – grilled meats, pasta, empanadas) but of decent quality. Waiters are true professionals and as classic as the décor. This is a local gem, far from the touristy bright lights of Palermo in every sense.
Santa Fé 1726 T: 4813-8400.
Open 24 hours.
Simple Argentine classics such as breaded veal (milanesa) and pasta are on offer day and night at La Madeleine. A popular after-shift pitstop for bar and restaurant workers, you might continue your night with a pizza napolitana and a bottle of Quilmes beer, while next to you an early riser is enjoying his coffee and medialuna (croissant).
Nothing fancy, but reliable quality and service ensure a guaranteed fill-up if you’re pushing on through the porteño night.
Malabia 1805 T: 4833 6540, janiorestaurant.com
Open till 1am Sun-Thurs, till 5am Fri/Sat.
Bar, café, restaurant – on multiple levels, with generous indoor and outdoor space, Janio aims to have something to keep everyone happy, and largely succeeds. The menu is eclectic – a caesar salad, a curry, a goulash or grill – and there’s plenty of variety to quench your thirst too.
Facing a popular Palermo plaza, this is a useful address at any time of day, but particularly for a late-night weekend visit.
Check for closed days, and book ahead where possible (especially at the weekends) for these popular porteño choices. Evening open times given above relate to correct information at time of writing.