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Buenos Aires

argentina meatArgentina is well known for its cattle ranches, and carnivores will glory in the fresh, top-quality steaks available in restaurants around the city. (You'll quickly learn the word parrilla, or grill.) There are some meat-free options as well, but vegetarians should take care to ask whether dishes are prepared with meat stock. With the city's large Italian population, cuisine from the Boot is also quite popular here. Portenos dine late; many restaurants don't open for dinner until 8 p.m.

Cabana las Lilas, the best of the city's parrillas, is where steak lovers will discover why Argentina is famous for its beef. Thick steaks come sizzling from the charcoal grill. Thanks to the strong dollar, main courses are surprisingly affordable.

Cafe Tortoni, a favorite with the city's artists and writers since 1858, is the place for a light lunch amid Old World ambience and prime people watching. An Art Nouveau beauty, it has a stained-glass skylight, original artwork, caricatures, portraits and photos of great poets lining the walls.

Broccolino, a casual family-run trattoria, takes its name from New York City's Brooklyn, and boasts Brooklyn memorabilia and a mural of Manhattan's skyline. Pizzas, pastas and calamari sauteed in wine are among the favorite dishes.

La Bourgogne, located in the Alvear Palace Hotel, is generally considered the best restaurant in the city, and one of the best in all of South America. French and Continental dishes are served in an elegant formal dining room decorated in pastel hues. Reservations are required, as are jacket and tie for men.

Lola is a chic contemporary choice, bright and cheerful. A French-trained chef presides here in one of the city's best-known eateries.

Bice, a sibling of the well-known restaurant in Milan, has pleasing, understated decor and is a longtime favorite for Northern Italian dishes including risottos and interesting pasta combinations.

There aren't too many Asian restaurants in Buenos Aires, but travelers needing a fix can try the Thai fare at Lotus Neo Thai. The curries are excellent, and there are several menu options for vegetarians.

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