Palermo Bite by Bite

Dining is to Palermo Hollywood what shopping is to Palermo Soho. In both areas—neighboring hubs of hip—young talent blooms (and wilts) at a dizzying pace. There are now more than two dozen restaurants in Palermo Hollywood (so called for the number of TV stations and film studios), yet you never know if today's kitchen du jour will be shuttered by next month. So how to separate the fabulous from the merely fly-by-night?

1 Almacen Secreto Beside an unmarked door lined with honeysuckle is a buzzer marked frente. Press it and María Morales Miy will show you into her seven-table restaurant, where she serves organic dishes like quinoa and locro stew from the province of Salta, in northwest Argentina. $ Dinner, $20. At 1626 Humboldt; 54-11/4775-1271.

2 Dashi Local TV hosts, starlets, and members of the city's Japanese community have made this modern restaurant the local sushi place. The fish is exquisitely fresh and the chic, convivial dining room is great for people watching. Lunch, $20; dinner, $40. At 1613 Fitz Roy; 54-11/4776-3500.

3 Barolo Bistro A Palermo pioneer, Barolo came with stylish decor and modern Mediterranean cuisine when the others were still serving beer and sandwiches. Dinner, $35. At 1621 Bompland; 54-11/4772-0841.

4 Olsen This is the neighborhood's biggest success, as popular after five years as it was on day one. Chef Germán Martitegui (who also cooks at another hot spot, Casa Cruz) has turned to Scandinavia for inspiration—lots of smoked fish, potatoes, dill, and more than 60 kinds of vodka—and the theme carries over to the wood and acid-green dining room. Dinner, $45. At 5870 Gorriti; 54-11/ 4776-7677.

5 Central The fashion crowd has already had its way with this six-year-old neighborhood stalwart—there was a time when you couldn't get a table. Now what's left is Guillermo Testón's confident nuevo argentino kitchen, which turns out such dishes as a warm fig-and-goat-cheese tart with arugula and prosciutto. The crowd is no less attractive, just far less frantic. Dinner, $60. At 5644 Costa Rica; 54-11/4776-7374.

6 Azema French-Creole chef Jean Paul Azema opened his third restaurant about a year ago, in a high-ceilinged old house with checkerboard floors and paintings of the former French colonies. His technique is appropriately old-world, blending the spicy flavors of the provinces with techniques from the motherland. Among the standout dishes: curried king prawns (not as spicy as you would expect) and salmon accompanied by leek custard and bathed in a leek–Champagne sauce. Dinner, $40. At 1875 A. J. Carranza; 54-11/4774-4191.

7 Sudestada One of the most successful additions to Palermo Hollywood, this windowed white space is where other chefs come to eat. The menu swings all over Southeast Asia: Vietnamese grills, fiery Cambodian soups, and Malaysian curries. Lunch has an easy pace, but night hustles and bustles. Dinner, $30. At 5602 Guatemala; 54-11/4776-3777.

8 Standard Designer Horacio Gallo's dining room may be mod, but co-owner and chef Santiago Garat's cooking is pure porteño. Resurrecting decades-old recipes, Garat faithfully prepares dishes that would be unthinkable in most neighborhood kitchens, like revuelto gramajo (thinly sliced potatoes layered with egg and bacon). Dinner, $30. At 2203 Fitz Roy; 54-11/4779-2774.

$ Establishment accepts no charge/credit cards or accepts cards other than the American Express Card.