La Boca is not an enclave of haute cuisine, but there’s good enough food for lunch—most people visit the barrio during the daytime—and even an occasional dinnertime foray.
Banchero (Suárez 396, tel. 011/4301-1406) is the original locale of the pizzeria that claims to have invented the onion-and-mozzarella fugazzetta. Whether or not that’s true, theirs is one of the best.
In an area where taxis are obligatory at night and maybe advisable even in the daytime (though some cabbies have trouble finding it), El Obrero (Agustín Cafferena 64, tel. 011/4362-9912) is where celebrities go slumming for steaks. Its walls plastered with images of soccer icon Diego Maradona and little else, it draws an international clientele on the order of Bono and Robert Duvall, and they haven’t even removed the photo of disgraced ex-president Fernando de la Rúa. There’s no printed menu—check the chalkboards, where most items run around US$5–6.
At the other end of the spectrum, celebrity chef Francis Mallman has placed Patagonia Sur (Rocha 801, tel. 011/4303-5917, www.restaurantepatagoniasur.com), one of his several gourmet restaurants in Argentina and Uruguay, in the barrio. It might seem out of place here, and it’s expensive (around US$80 pp for a three-course dinner without wine), but Mallman’s blend of Argentine beef, seafood, and other regional dishes are always worth consideration.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Argentina, 3rd edition