Brunch in Buenos Aires: A Plea…Heeded

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Sundays in Buenos Aires are sacred days reserved for food, family and fun. Locals linger at asados, drink mate in the park or stroll along the Costanera Sur.

Although just a few years ago ‘brunch’ was a foreign concept in Argentina, the meal where breakfast and lunch collide has finally made it to Buenos Aires — mostly thanks to the vast expat community who can’t live without their pancakes and eggs.

The word ‘brunch’ first appeared in print in a 1895 edition of the British magazine, Hunter’s Weekly, in an article entitled, ‘Brunch: A Plea’ by writer and trendsetter, Guy Beringer. He envisioned a Sunday afternoon meal designed for late-night revelers, which allowed them to skip church and sleep late. It was also his idea that brunch serve as one of the few instances when it is widely accepted – nay, encouraged – to begin drinking at the first meal of the day.

A brunch plate with waffles and fruit at Olsen Cafe in the Palermo neighborhood of Buenos Aires
Brunch at Olsen.

With the Argentine fondness for festivities, late-nights and a declining church attendance, Buenos Aires is a perfect match for the most decadent and drawn-out meal of the week.

Buenos Aires’ brunch menus typically include eggs in all shades of preparation such as huevos revueltos (scrambled) and eggs Benedict, carbs in all their glory including French toast, waffles and pancakes, and all sorts of sandwiches and salads. In Buenos Aires brunch can even include the ubiquitous cut of steak. It is also common to pair brunch with champagne, mimosas, or an extra picante bloody mary.

A handful of restaurants in the northern neighborhoods have jumped on the brunch bandwagon, providing ample choice for those whose asado invitation got lost in the mail. ‘Le grand petit déjeuner’ is typically served between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Here’s a round-up of some choices for those rolling out of bed in the afternoon hours of the weekend:

Buenos Aires Breakfast: Looking for a cure for the common hangover:

A brunch plate with waffles, toast and fruit at Novecento in Buenos Aires

Novecento, a restaurant first opened in New York by an Argentinean and later brought to Las Cañitas, has the same brunch ‘special’ every weekend. For a bit of a steep fee, diners are treated to multiple courses of culinary delight encapsulating the best of breakfast and lunch in Argentina.

The prix fixe brunch includes a mimosa and enough bounty to distract from the conspicuous absence of bloody marys. Taking the guess work out of ordering, plates of eggs benedict, waffles with figs, nachos in a chile concoction, fried egg and sausage, French toast and a plate of sandwiches are served and enjoyed at a leisurely pace.

Novecento — $$$
Báez 199
Las Cañitas
Tel: 4778-1900
Brunch hours: 12:00-4:00p.m.

• cash only

Healthy Easting for those in need of a Sunday cleanse

The eating bar at Olsen in Palermo, Buenos Aires

bBlue Deli & Natural Bar in Palermo Soho and Natural Deli in Barrio Norte both offer brunch options and a wide array of juices and smoothies to boost immunity and rehydrate the body after a long weekend of parties.

bBlue offers several brunch options such as the ‘b-Brunch’, which includes coffee, orange juice, scrambled eggs with salmon, bruschetta prosciutto, a medialuna (sweet croissant) and a muffin, but only until 12 p.m. They also offer a delicious bruschetta with scrambled eggs and smoked salmon and a large selection of salads and sandwiches all day.

A similar venue, Natural Deli doesn’t actually serve ‘brunch’ but any breakfast item can be ordered at all hours including scrambled egg bruschetta with ham, smoked salmon or veggies, fruits and granola, and French toast. Natural Deli also has small but well-stocked shelves filled with natural ingredients, juices and more, so you can attend to your brunching and Sunday grocery shopping all at the same time.

A brunch plate of fresh salmon and salad at B-blue Deli in Palermo, Buenos Aires

Bblue Deli & Natural Bar-$$-$$$
Armenia 1692
Tel: 4831-7024
Hours: 9:00 a.m.-9:00p.m.

•credit cards accepted

Natural Deli — $$
Laprida 1672
Barrio Norte

Tel: 4822-1228
Brunch hours: Sat 8:00-12:00/ Sun 9:00-12:00

•credit cards accepted

For extravagant brunchers:

Locals may not have many reasons to visit hotels in Buenos Aires, but brunch should be the exception. As a decidedly foreign meal, it makes sense that restaurants catering to visitors know how to do brunch right.

The Alvear Palace Hotel one of the most posh and upscale hotels in Buenos Aires, dishes out a large buffet-style brunch in their restaurant, L´Orangerie.

Strangely, champagne is complimentary but mimosas are priced for the five-star crowd. The ambiance is greatly affected by whether brunch is held upstairs or — in case of a special event — relegated to the bottom floor. Since most of the brunchers are hotel guests it should also be advised that buffet-style brunches are less impressive later in the day when the selection starts to wane.

Alvear Palace Hotel (L’Orangerie) — $$$$
Alvear, Av. 1891
Tel: 4808-2100
Brunch hours: Sun 12:00-4:00p.m.

• credit cards accepted

Home hotel, one of the premiere boutique hotels in Buenos Aires, is also celebrated for their brunch. Sitting outside and gawking at sunbathers by the pool is preferable to the indoor space, where housekeeping often walks by with their cleaning supplies.

The eggs benedict are a bit scant on eggs and large on benedict — or rather really fluffy bread which may or may not actually be shortcake. The huevos rancheros are delicious though, and the salads are substantial. Steak with eggs á la Buenos Aires is on the menu. In truth, the loaf of bread provided is enough incentive to give this restaurant a try.

Home – $$$
Honduras 5860
Palermo Viejo
Tel:(54-11) 4778-1008
Brunch Hours: Sat, Sun & Holidays 12:30-4:30 p.m

• credit cards accepted

— by Laura Reiman

• credit cards accepted