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5 Weird Things to Expect When Dining Out in Argentina

The inability to travel overseas during the pandemic often leads me to look at old travel photos and reminisce about our time in Argentina, my native country.

While browsing some photos during our stay in Buenos Aires, in particular food ones, I started to recall some of the dining customs that I’m sure foreigners would find a bit odd (I know my husband and his family found them peculiar when they visited).

Here are 5 weird things to expect when dining out in traditional restaurants in Argentina

Weird Dining Customs Argentina

1 – You’re expected to dress your own salad

If you order a salad at a traditional restaurant, chances are it will be presented to you as layers of cut vegetables. The waiter will then hand you olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper for you to dress the salad yourself. And yes, for the most part those are the only ingredients offered. Plain and simple!

2 – Waiters operate at their own pace

Dining out is a leisure and as such, the pace at restaurants reflect that. Just manage your expectations that the waiters will take their time to serve you – on the flip side, they won’t rush you out like other quick-service eateries.

3- Don’t expect free water upon arrival

In most countries I’ve visited, a free glass of drinkable water is offered upon arrival. That custom simply doesn’t exist in Argentina. If you ask for water, you’ll get a bottle and be charged for it. Hard to explain why since Argentina has decent tap water!

4- Coffee always comes with a glass of soda water

Having said that, when you order a local-style coffee (we call it ‘cafecito’), you’ll be surprised that a tiny glass of soda water will come with it. I’ve never seen such custom anywhere else but if you ask me, it totally makes sense to cool the palate with some fizzy water after a hot cup of coffee.

5 – Steaks and fries are served with no salt

Weird, I know! But in recent years with growing concerns about public health, restaurants opt to let the customers handle the amount of salt on their food. I personally like this custom – there’s no way to fix over-salted food!

How many of these customs did you find weird or made sense to you? Let me know in the comment section below!

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5 Weird Dining Customs Argentina