Images taken and owned by Mademoiselle Meme.
by Editor | Mademoiselle Meme
Back in August, I planned a trip to South America for the first time. There were two places I wanted to see: Buenos Aires, Argentina and Iguaçu Falls, the largest waterfall in the world. In this two-part travel series, I will dive into all you should know, see, and eat when visiting each destination. See Part 1: Brazil here.
PART 2: ARGENTINA
Buenos Aires, Argentina has been on my bucket list for ages. The South American city on the water is a mix of Argentine and European influences, from its strong presence of Italian food (60% of Argentines are of Italian decent) to its streets reminiscent of Parisian architecture. With just 72 hours to see the city, we set out to see the most popular attractions B.A. had to offer.
We visited in August, a chilly winter month in Argentina, with a daily high of 50 degrees, not to mention a strong wind chill. After extensive research, we selected the neighborhood of Recoleta for our stay, an upscale area lined with embassies, former palaces, and high-end hotels like the Four Seasons. Recoleta is central to main areas of sightseeing, old town and new town, with renowned restaurants and malls within walking distance. The Sofitel, an international French boutique hotel located in Recoleta, is situated across from the luxury mall Patio Bullrich. Just minutes in any direction and you can find great coffee and specialty shops. Neighborhoods we found to be equally as chic were Palermo Soho and Palermo Hollywood. These areas are known for shopping, trendy restaurants and art galleries.
- Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
- MALBA – The Latin American Art Museum of Buenos Aires
- Casa Cavia – a former private home, this space includes a restaurant, garden, flower shop, library and concept shop. very chic, great food and people watching
- Buenos Aires Botanical Garden
- Grand Splendid Bookstore – an old Italian opera house turned bookstore, has been named the most beautiful bookstore in the world by many.
- San Telmo Market – 120-year-old historic covered market with speciality shops, butchers and food stalls. Don’t miss out on the empanada stand, Merci patisserie, the churro shop, the Spanish tapas/paella stall as well as the dulce de leche gourmet shops.
- La Boca – a colorful neighborhood with an outdoor market
- Tango – the hub for tango is in Buenos Aires. we happened to be in town for the international tango festival and got to see performances from world-class champions for free! unlike other activities in the city, attending a tango performance is expensive. it usually includes dinner and alcohol as a set itinerary. average cost is $250. the best places to see tango are at Café de los Angelitos and El Viejo Almacén.
Eating out in Buenos Aires is quite cheap as the American dollar goes very far. Food and desserts were priced similar to prices we came across in Istanbul. A fine dining, multi-course meal cost us $25. A latte at an upscale coffee shop was $2.
- La Carnicería – a very small Argentine barbecue spot with only two reservation times slots so book ahead! each meat dish is massive, so order accordingly. we tried the ribs (to die for) and bife de lomo aka tenderloin as it is a very popular cut in Buenos Aires
- flat & white – one of the best coffee shops we went to, there is not much of a coffee scene in the city so this place is a major win.
- The Shelter Coffee – coffee shop by day, bar by night. very chic seating inside with a great pastry and small bites menu for breakfast
- Bis Restaurante – the best place we dined at, get the set menu!
- Aramburubis – the sister restaurant of Bis, located directly across from it, a Michelin-starred restaurant and 50 World’s Best Restaurants list
- Rapa nui – a must, chocolate shop with housemade chocolates, truffles and gelatos filled with all sorts of decadent treats. great place for gifts. try the hot drinking chocolate!
- dulce de leche – the sweet condensed milk caramel treat is the star dessert in Buenos Aires. you can find upscale boutiques selling all varieties, some made with goats milk, some that taste like burnt caramel. try it at restaurants or bakeries, and don’t leave the city without taking a jar home!
- alfajores -it is essentially a dulce de leche stuffed cookie sandwich. the cookie is a crumbly, buttery cookie similar to an Arabic maamoul. it is sometimes covered in shredded coconut and sometimes dipped in chocolate. they are sold in stores and at bakeries. find the national award-winning alfajores at dulce de leche shops!
- parrilla – Argentine barbecue. this differs from Brazilian barbecue as it is cooked on a grill with charcoal.
- Franco Parma – a local shop to sample Argentine cheeses, olives and more
There were many places we read about before our trip. For a place to be considered, we did thorough research, asked the concierge and locals as well as consulted many blogs to see that the name was a repeated spot and had been vetted. Here are a few places that were misleading in quality, taste, and had the atmosphere of a quintessential tourist trap:
- Pizzería Güerrin
- Coffee Town
- Cafe Tortoni (an especially terrible experience)