Buenos Aires’ Jewish texture might surprise a first-time visitor to the city.
Storefront signs boast names like Goldstein, Feldman, and Rozenblat. Yarmulkes and Orthodox women’s head-coverings don’t look out of place. And hip coffee shops offer (good!) bagels along with ubiquitous medialunas, or croissants. The Semitic streak extends to Buenos Aires’s embarrassment-of-riches dining scene. You could sample a different Jewish restaurant each night of your visit and not repeat yourself. Here’s a quick rundown of the best:
Tall, tattooed and possessed of a megawatt grin, Tomas Kalika’s a bona fide star in Latin America. His clubby “immigrant cuisine” hotspot keeps packing them in, four years after jolting Buenos Aires with genius, cheffy takes on staples like gefilte fish, borscht, and varenikes. A must.
Chef Kalika’s on fire - literally - at this gleaming new Mishiguene offshoot. Five types of Argentine flame-cooking ignite Mediterranean staples from falafel to kebabs to world-beating roasted cauliflower. Cold starters sizzle too - think beet hummus, house-made pickles, and tabouli. And pastrami, marinated 12 days, is mandatory.
Behind huge picture windows emblazoned with stylized hamsas, Andrea Armoza and Cynthia Helueni dish out updates on “grandmothers’ recipes” in an airy, high-ceilinged room. They don’t reinvent the wheel, but that’s the point; Hola Jacoba’s lovingly rendered latkes, kreplach, and baked gefilte fish prove why classics transcend time and borders.
Onetime garmento Jorge Szwarcberg sold a successful sushi chain to focus on his passion project - a New York-inspired deli serving food “of my roots”. His bright, sleek restaurant moves more than 100 pounds of superb house-made pastrami every day, along with latkes, blintzes, and lox-smothered bagels; savor it all on the sunny back patio with strong coffee.
Like the Lower East Side, Villa Crespo’s evolving from immigrant enclave to hipster hangout. But Jewish restaurants thrive, like this local institution whose faithful kreplach, kugel, and - yes - cholent draw loyalists from across the city. Leave room for luscious house-made cheesecake and zeppelin-like cheese blintzes.