Immediately surrounding the Recoleta Cemetery, there are any number of restaurants with conspicuous English-language signs and inflated prices. Do yourself a favor and resist the bait. Instead, take a short five-minute walk to Restaurante El Sanjuanino on Calle Posadas, a classic in the area, with incredible food and excellent prices.
We ate here shortly before visiting the cemetery, having done our research with the indispensable Guia Óleo: a popular restaurant guide for BsAs. I honestly doubt that better empanadas exist in the city. I doubt they could. There may be some just as good, but “better” isn’t possible. Emapanada-making, it seems, is an art that can be perfected.
In this well-bred, exclusive rincón of Buenos Aires, El Sanjuanino is an appreciated change of pace. It’s all wooden interiors, and you almost feel as though you’re visiting your grandparents out in the woods. There was a healthy mix of locals and tourists when we went, and the service was perfect: friendly but not hovering. Besides the flawless empanadas, freshly baked and enormous, we had homemade raviolis and matambre, a delicious rolled flank steak with vegetables and cheese. Locros and tamales are also favorites on the menu.
If you’re in the area and hungry for an excellent, filling and affordable lunch, El Sanjuanino has what you need.