I was in Buenos Aires (BA) for a total of 4 weeks over my 2 visits in December of 2009 and 2012. Pretty much every day I was there I picked a neighborhood and walked/biked/jogged its streets. They say Buenos Aires is the Paris of South America. I say it’s more than that.
If you try to read reviews on Restaurants in BA or find a list of tourist attractions, you will be overwhelmed. Luckily I knew a local (Juan), which I met through online Poker, who I fully trusted to show me the best of BA…. The “gamble” paid off!
Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way: BA is a relatively cheap city with all the convinces of a well-developed modern city (or better: they have Wi-Fi on their subways now!), food is absolutely magnificent, weather is pretty awesome, and the city never dies. I am not going to talk about the famous sites, tango dancing, museums and etc. I'll just share one of my nights, and try to take you there with me! I will have my general tips/recommendation along with a photo gallery at the end.
Its around 11pm, as I am walking through streets of Palmero with Juan I notice there are so many people out and about. The weather is perfect, t-shirt and jeans, not cold, not hot. I notice the dense town-house like homes, the tiny Parks, and in general a vibrant city with younger population than I see in North American or some European cities. You really notice how green BA is when you walk through the residential streets. All of a sudden Juan says it’s here, and I am looking at this tiny adorable, hipster looking restaurant called Peron Peron, in a fairly quiet residential area. Now being a resident of North America when you are hungry, rule of thumb is to avoid hipster restaurants. They are either expensive or the portions are not so generous. Well this was opposite. Now, Argentina is known for its steak: Bife de chorizo, lomo, asados, all magnificent, you can get a streak in a bus terminal and it will be better than your favourite steakhouse at least in Canada (Personal experience). But very few appreciate how much Italian/French/German inspired restaurants there are in BA. I am looking at the menu and I don’t see steaks I see so many other delicious things…lamb stew with other Spanish words that I didn’t understand, fish, pasta dishes that I see on other tables that make my mouth water. Lets just say I was glad 2 other guys were joining us so I could manipulate people into getting 4 different things and sharing it all. Mission accomplished: we got 4 different things and everything was really really good. While waiting for food, I looked around; this place is cozy and very social. Peron Peron song comes on once in a while and everyone starts singing…. It’s a catchy tune that one, especially when you look around see most people in restaurant are singing a bit of it, smiling and laughing.
So its 1 am now and obviously it’s time for some after food drinks… Juan tells me of this place that’s like a residential house with 2 floors with a rooftop patio. How you get in is that you look up a password on their website, you buzz from the street and say the password and they let you in. We get there and no kidding, it’s like going to a random house, I don’t even think I saw a sign with name of the bar anywhere (I was a little tipsy at this point though). To our surprise the place was not that crowded, lounge music playing with 2 bars on 2 floors, few groups of friends just chatting and fairly tame in general. The rooftop patio was awesome, you overlook a street junction as you sip on your Capriosca, and just loving life. I am not at all a night time person. I dislike clubs, bars, pubs you name them. What I love about Argentina is that everywhere, that I went at least, it felt like a house party. Rooftop patios, gardens with no roofs, just being outdoor all the time makes it so much better. People in general are as warm and welcoming as the weather. They engage in your conversation as they pass by...as I said feels more like a house party.
Depending on what you like, you will have your own top things to do, but if you have some extra time to spare what I strongly recommend as a summary is:
PLACES I've BEEN
Here is a map of places I have visited, lived or worked for at least 2 days or more. Let me know which city you like to see on the next blog post!