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I can best explain my question with an example. I am eating a delicious beefsteak (el bistec) at a friend´s house. I want to express how good it is, so without saying ´beefsteak´ I say,

Está muy bueno.

However, the beefsteak is also a type of food (la comida). I could have said,

Está muy buena.

Is either response acceptable, and can I, as the speaker freely choose which to say without a native listener looking at me strangely?

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In regard to the context given by your example, it depends on what you or the other speakers where discussing.

You know that the pronouns are used to refer to something that has already been named, so what was named just before you answered? Is that pronoun going to stand for la comida or for el bistec? Depending on that you choose the gender of your pronoun.

A: Te gusta la comida/cena?

B: Está muy buena

A: Te gusta el filete/bistec

B: Está muy bueno

If instead of having something being named beforehand you were, for example, pointing at something, it would depend on that context to match the gender.

Again in your example, you can't use feminine with "filete/bistec" just because is a type of food and "comida" is feminine. Your pronouns' or adjetives' genders must match the noun.

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