Breakfasts have never gotten much love Buenos Aires, with only the barest nod from most in the form of a coffee and a couple of medialunas, a local version of the croissant. At its finest, baked with ham and cheese inside, it’s molten sweet and savory heaven, but still there’s an entire world of morning delights that has been cast aside. No more.
In the inevitable jump for a city famous for staying out until the very early hours of the morning, brunch has leapt onto the lips of everyone in-the-know, and on weekend mornings, all over the city you hear the sunglass-clad whisper in low voices over furry tongues, “¿Vamos a brunchear?” (Want to brunch?)
Brunchear is a fabulous new verb in the Porteño vocabulary that heaps in all the goodness of the great morning foods, from homemade yogurt and granola to the undisputed kings -- bacon and smoked salmon -- and gives chefs free hand to whip out some unexpected treats. Of course, this all happens to the tune of cheeky midday booze.
Traditionally the domain of hotels, ever more restaurants are opening up to dish out late morning and early afternoon culinary extravagances. Here, some of the best.
ILatina. Address given on reservation, +54 11 4857 9095. Sunday brunch only.
Run by Columbian brothers, Santiago and Camilo Macías, ILatina has quickly made a name for itself as one of the best closed door dining options in the city, and now they've thrown their doors open for brunch. They source tastes and colors from all over Latin America. Starting with a trio of breads, yucca, sweet maize and banana with orange butter, you suspect you are onto something good. Every dish is exciting – quinoa granola, ropa vieja, pataconcitos and cheesy arepitas, herbed poached eggs and shrimp in a coconut sauce – and little gems like coconut lemonade and Columbian coffee infused with cinnamon and cane sugar.
Fierro Hotel’s HG Restaurant. Soler 5862, Palermo Hollywood, +54 11 3220-6800. Rreservation only, Saturday and Sunday.
Fierro has billed itself as lodging digs for the gourmand and never disappointed. Making a name for itself as the go-to spot for modern, gourmet cuisine in a comfortable environment at a great price, on weekends, chef Hernán Gipponi and his team whip out a serious, nine course brunch.
Aipim. Thames 1535, Palermo Soho, +54 11 4833 3223. Sunday brunch only.
One of the best new restaurants of the year, Naiara Calviño’s Aipim is quickly winning over the crowds with a bright, homey space and a menu influenced by time living in Brazil and travels across the continent. Sunday brunches are masterpieces, with a changing menu and inventive dishes like a beef tataki and bean salad, a duck salad with roasted butternut and humita, or tortillas with lamb meatballs, red onion and mint yogurt.
Oui Oui. Nicaragua 6068, Palermo Hollywood. +54 11 4778 9614. Brunch daily.
This is a classic brunching spot that never dies down. Don’t miss the huge smoked salmon sandwich and my favorite roast potato wedges in town, cooked with a surprising combination of rosemary and lime.
Sirop & Folie. Vicente Lopez 1661, Locale 12, Recoleta, +54 11 4813 5900. Weekend brunch.
Backed up by chef Liliana Numer’s renowned knack for all things baked, this beautiful Recoleta spot is a great weekend brunch option in the area. Grab a table outside in the little alleyway that houses Sirop & Folie and breathe in that delicious sunshine as you sip your morning sparkler.
Malvón. Serrano 789, Villa Crespo, +54 11 4774 2563. Weekend brunch.
A great deli and bakery in the newest neighborhood on the food lover’s radar, Villa Crespo, Malvón is set in a beautiful space with tables throughout a redecorated old house. The baked goods from their ovens are superb and on weekends they serve up a cracking selection of classic brunch options like a popover noruego (with smoked salmon) or classy eggs Benedict.