It’s no secret that Argentina is famous for its beef. No trip to Buenos Aires is complete without a visit to a parrilla (pah-ree-sha). Parrilla literally translates to ‘grill’ in English, but is used to refer to any steakhouse. You won’t find gimmicky sauces or spices at parrillas. They take a no-frills approach to steak, letting the beef itself be the star. That means it’s crucial that you order yours exactly how you like it. Let us help you break down the nuances.
Gas grills are a sin in Argentina. Steak is typically cooked slowly over coals, which means it can take a bit longer than you’re used to. When ordering, you can ask for the following:
- Rare: Sangrante (san-gran-te)
- Medium Rare: Jugoso (who-go-so)
- Medium: A Punto (ah poon-toe)
- Well-Done: Bien Cocido (bee-yen co-see-doh)
Few things are worse than an overcooked steak. We won’t judge you if you get yours well-done, but your waiter might. Most Argentines order their steaks jugoso.
Many restaurants may not have an English version of their menu, so it’s helpful to know your cuts. Here’s an easy guide:
- Bife de Lomo: This is like filet mignon. Order it sangrante or jugoso and you’ll be in perfectly-cooked-steak heaven.
- Bife de Chorizo: This is closer to sirloin.
- Costillas: Baby Back Ribs
- Asado de Tira: Beef Short Ribs
- Bife Ancho: Ribeye
- Entraña: Skirt Steak
- Vacio: Flank Steak
With that, you should be ready for a trip to a parrilla. And one last thing, whatever you decide to order, make sure to get a bottle of Malbec to go with it. Steak isn’t the only thing Argentinians have perfected.