The Argentine adventure started off on the wrong foot. Our fridge died the morning we were scheduled to leave, and then the flight from DC to Toronto was so delayed by snow that we would likely have missed our connecting flights to Buenos Aires (who books a flight through Canada in the dead of winter? lesson learned). So, we went back home and spent Christmas morning back home with no food and no stores open. In retrospect, it may have been good to have almost no food since the following week was so indulgent…but I digress.
Once we finally made it to Buenos Aires, our AirBnB was late to let us in. Just par for the course so far! It can only go up from here, right?
Once we finally made it in the apartment, it was super cute with a little patio.
Thankfully it was conveniently located in Palermo Soho, a short walk from restaurants and cafes. Hunger was definitely hitting hard at this point. First up: lunch and coffee.
WHERE TO EAT:
Oui Oui: Casual cafe for brunch or lunch with some outdoor seating
Cafe Registrado: Hip, modern coffee shop with cold brew that hit the spot in 90 degree heat! They have comfy furniture inside, and plenty of sidewalk table seating.
Ser y Tiempo: We had a wonderful dinner here with small plates and good wine. It was very laid back, with couches as well as regular tables. They had some outdoor seating,too. Very dog friendly! A cute little guy wandered over from his humans to greet us (this was before the dog bite incident).
Mishiguene: This Jewish spot had an AMAZING brisket perched atop a loaf of latkes and caramelized onions. It was way too much food for one person, and thankfully our waiter clued us in. If you’re looking for bread overload, you’ll enjoy the massive bread basket that incuded a bagel, fresh butter, and homemade pickles.
I spotted this wine bottle displayed in the restaurant and it explained a curiosity I saw in the park on our walk to the restaurant.
I saw something that looked like a pack of scrawny dogs crossed with a kangaroo. Very strange. They resemble the critter shown on these wine bottles, called a mara. I’m not sure they even live in Buenos Aires, but I cannot explain what animal it was otherwise.
Alice’s Tea House: Located a block off the San Telmo strip, this cute little tea house looked very inviting. Sadly, it was closed on New Years Eve when we tried to go. It had good reviews and looked charming from the outside.
Pain et Vin: If we had more time, this little wine bar was at the top of my list!
B. Blue Deli: Healthy pick with smoothies, soup, etc.
Chori: Trendy sausage. Need I say more?
Ol’ Days: Instagrammable coffee shop with lunch menu in Puerto Madero, along the water. I wish we had made it that far East, but we ran out of time.
LOLEA: Healthy fast-casual food
Estilo Barista Cafe: Cute looking coffee shop in bustling district
Floreria Atlantico: Speakeasy hidden inside a flower shop!
SIGHTS TO SEE:
Recoleta Cemetery: This is the final resting place for over 4,600 people, all in mausoleums. Some are opulent and well maintained, while others are in shambles with wooden coffins exposed to the environment. A bit unsettling, don’t you think? One of the most famous is Eva Perón, aka Evita. Cue ‘Don’t cry for me, Argentina!’.
What would a cemetery be without a ghost story? According to the cemetery’s website, a longstanding cemetery grave-digger saved his money for a vault and statue of himself over the course of his 30 year career. As soon as statue was completed, the grave-digger went home and killed himself. Legend has it that the sound of his keys echoes through the cemetery at dawn.
We stumbled upon this young lady in her wedding dress and her cute dog. Turns out, she died on her honeymoon and her parents reconstructed her bedroom inside her tomb.
If this hasn’t creeped you, out go visit any day between 8am-6pm, with free English tours at 11am on Tues/Thurs.
Teatro Colón: This came highly recommended by friends who visited, but we didn’t have time. It is one of the premier opera houses in the world, and they offer regular tours for about $15USD.
MALBA: Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires. Admission is only about $6USD. Note that they are closed on Tuesdays.
El Zanjon Museum is located underground in a series of tunnels.
San Telmo Market: Honestly, I would skip this. It was basically a flea market. The only thing that looked worth it was some really pretty and delicate-looking glassware, but that wouldn’t survive the trip home. There’s also a Sunday Fair, but it was the same kind of junk.
Walk! We stumbled upon some really cool street art while wandering the city. If you need to go a longer distance, cabs were aplenty, and Taxi Premium has an app similar to Uber (which didn’t work for us when we tried to call one). From the airport, you can secure a ride before exiting the premise. There is a subway system and bus system, but we didn’t try that out.
Dinner reservations and communications with restaurants were mostly linked to Facebook messenger. However, they have something similar to OpenTable, called Restorando, that some restaurants used.
I found it somewhat odd that we did not come across a lot of shopping in the city. It was hard to find a souvenir to remember our time there, but I settled on a vintage postcard. I normally have no problems finding a way to spend money…Perhaps we didn’t hit the right parts of town, or maybe it was due to the holiday, which brings me to my next point.
On New Years Eve Day, we found that a lot of places, including restaurants, were closed. Maybe it was for the best that our flight was delayed a day on the way down- otherwise, we would have landed on Christmas when literally nothing would have been open. Keep that in mind when vacation planning around holidays!
The water is safe to drink! No food poisoning here either, hooray!
A general trip planning tip: Pin all the places you might want to see/do/eat on Google Maps, and download the map for offline use. That way, you can access all the information from your phone if you don’t have cell service or WiFi. You can track your taxi ride to make sure they aren’t scamming you by taking the long way. No need to get hangry while perusing Recoleta Cemetery. Just check the map to see what recommended restaurants and cafes are within walking distance! I like having multiple options pinned, in the event that a place is unexpectedly closed, too busy, etc. Yes, I plan most of my life around food, but I would hate to settle for so-so food because I didn’t have a plan B. Life’s too short to eat blah food!
Here is a handy dandy map I made covering what to eat, coffee to drink, and things to see! I have so many more spots pinned here that we didn’t have time to see (and aren’t listed above), but all were highly recommended.
I hate to sound like a Debbie Downer on Buenos Aires, but it wasn’t my favorite city. It might have been a fluke, with all the extenuating circumstances souring the experience. Either way, I hope this information is helpful if you do plan to make a trip to Buenos Aires. It served as a good starting point for us before flying to Mendoza and visiting Aconcagua. Recap on that to come next!