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Jan 19, 2009 03:02 PM

First Trip to Buenos Aires

My husband and I are going to Buenos Aires in a couple of weeks, staying for 10 days. We will be in Palermo Viejo, but plan to explore all around the city and possibly make a couple of day trips. What restaurants and local specialties can we not miss out on? What markets are worth visiting (we'll have a small kitchen in our apartment and look forward to cooking with local ingredients)?

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  1. Its been awhile since I've been to BA, Palermo was the up and coming area of BA. Very
    posh. Stay away from the public parks or you will get robbed. The cementario de Recoleta is beautiful - really, and you will be amazed if you stroll around. Evita's tomb
    is there, sort of hard to find - ask.

    My wife and I ate in the Recoletta area, there are some great Italian places, BBQ places, etc.

    One thing I particularly remember are the Empanada places around Florida st, which is the ritzy shopping street. Cheap, delicious, food is everywhere. Food was so cheap, that it would be hard to justify cooking for yourself, plus there's no way you can replicate what they can do on a wood fire. Argentine wine is cheap. A good bottle of Malbec is $3 - 10.

    You will enjoy yourself. Its all walking distance, but in 10 days you will get bored. Sign up for a Tango trip at one of the hotels. We did Sr Tango, which was totally touristy, and totally enjoyable. All you can eat and drink and a really good Tango show. Tango is unbelievably sexy when done well. And Argentines are extremely proud, so they generally do very well. The Argentine attitude is a bit uppity, and snobbish, but you will enjoy.

    2 Replies
    1. re: GDunnells

      Thanks for the Tango trip recommendations. Do we have to sign up at a hotel?

      1. re: NolaGirlie

        Yes. We were staying in a B&B several miles from the døwntown area, and were recommended to go to one of the big tourist hotels where they pick up. We signed up at
        the Alvear Palace hotel - I think with the Concierge. Then we just showed up and took a shuttle bus. The taxis are really, really cheap, and generally honest. I saw a note about someone recommending the parks........... There are a bunch of what they call "mustard artists" the scam is that one of them squirts you with a smelly mix of mustard and oil, and their partner notices it (conveniently having a roll of paper towels) and insists on helping you and wiping you off, while liberating your wallet, or watch. Again, we were a few miles from downtown, but in a very nice looking park. The Recolleta park is probably pretty safe, but still........

    2. I'm here for my first time too, and just had a really wonderful walk through the beautiful neighborhood of Chacarita where I had a great dinner at Santa Gula on Jorge Newberry / Guevara. Way off the beaten tourist path and well worth a visit. Very inexpensive, heaping portions, good wine, lovely service, outdoor dining. True love. A radio taxi can take your there from Palermo for less than five dollars. The sun doesn't set here until 9:30 or so, so its also a nice walk-- very cool, dynamic architecture and vegetation. Other than that I'd enjoy a beer or two in San Telmo around Plaza Dorrego where you can watch tango performers but I'd eat away from there... Tons of great spots around Palermo. Good coffee is hard to find though.

      1. definetly go to the parks, but dont bring anything of value if you are worried about being robbed. the parks are the only salvation from the unbearable heat and they are where all the people trapped in the city its great people watching.

        empanadas are fantastic, pizza is fantastic, milanesa is fantastic, the mashed potatoes are to die for, so are the french fries. coca cola comes in glass bottles. ice cream ice cream ice cream. i dont know if there are any markets in palermo. however, argentina is very much a place where you shop at many different small shops that specialize in certain things, the butcher, the veggie stand, etc. just walk around your neighborhood and stop at a veggie stand that looks good. i dont recommend buying vegetables in large supermarkets. one look at the tomatoes and you will know why.

        try and think out of the steak box as well. there is a fairly large armenian population here and there are some amazing armenian restaurants, sarkis is my favorite. there are also a lot of places for great ceviche from peru and some delicious brazilian restaurants. you are in one of the restaurant hotspots. dont let the dark mood lighting and sexy waiters convince you that these are the best restaurants. they are more expensive and have mediocre food. if you want to find really great food look for places with soccer jerseys on the walls, bright lights and tons of old people and families....and waiters with bowties are another clue....seriously.

        4 Replies
        1. re: lizzzie

          We've just returned from a lovely holiday in Argentina.There are lots of nice places in BA (many of which have been described here) but let me give you a few places to avoid! and I've eaten in all of them...Club 647. We were there on New Year's Eve,admittedly not the best test of a restaurant. Expensive,pretentious and mediocre. Cabana las Lilas-I have eaten here several times. The beef is good but not better than many other choices. Lots of tourists with prices to match.Tomo 1- I took my husband here for a birthday dinner and was so disappointed. The decor was lackluster,the service indifferent and the food not memorable at all. I'm not usually such a downer, but BA is one of my favorite places with lots of wonderful restaurants. Enjoy! it is a delightful city..

          1. re: pammi

            Thanks! Knowing the places to avoid is just as helpful as knowing where to go.
            What would be your FAVORITE restaurants? Best places to grab a quick bite?

            1. re: NolaGirlie

              my favorite beef experience was La Brigada in San Telmo. The beef was excellent with lots of diverse cuts. Very crowded with a high energy, good sides too. I see there is a long discussion about the best beef,so you might want to study that. If you are spending the afternoon shopping in Palermo Viejo, a nice lunch stop is Cluny. Eat in the garden,weather permitting. The food is not amazing but very pleasant overall and right in the middle of lots of shops. We recently had a pleasant dinner at the sister restaurant Sottovove- called Fervor. Both of these restaurants have solid food (Sottovoce-Italian Fervor- Argentinian) are in the Recoleta.My favorite meal this time was at Resto, a small restaurant in the Society of Arhitects building. The food was Continental,every course was tasty and only 6-7 tables and very intimate. Our first night was at La Vineria de Gualtiero Balthazar (not 100% sure about the name) in San Telmo. This place opened 9ish, chef studied at I Bulli and using their techniques for food preparation. At midnight we were still eating, I felt like a needed a massage,it was so long. That's my Amrerican sensibility no doubt! I recommend it but take a good nap before you go there.

              1. re: NolaGirlie

                Be sure to go to the Puerta Madera area where you'll find some excellent steakhouses. There's also a charming Italian restaurant called Brocolino (something like that). B.A. is a fabulous city. Enjoy yourself!

          2. I was in BA in December with my family and we visited the following restaurants:
            Cabana las lilas ( on the marina) - very touristy and over priced
            La Cabrera (Palermo soho) - amazing - morcilla, sweetbreads and steaks were amazing
            Osaka - really great atmosphere - wonderful staff and fantastic food - mainly japanese influenced. sadly a lot of BA restaurants serving sushi are very limited on their types of fish - but the skills of the chefs really made up for lack of choice with lots of inventive dishes
            Dominga - Japanese - again very good sushi, and nice setting
            We went to some lunch places sadly i cannot remember the names. One was a pizza place in San Telmo behind the main streets where the Sunday antiques markets are held. The pizza is pretty good in San Telmo as i went to 2 different places, both great. I just wish i could remember the name of the great one!

            1. we stayed for 10 days too. perfect amount of time for the city. loved it!

              in your neighborhood i really liked the locro at BAR TALLER.

              for the big night out steak meal we loved LA CABANA:

              after the saturday san telmo market, DESNIVEL is a great place to get your parillada.

              a must do excursion is to take the ferry for a day trip to montevideo.

              have fun and report back!