Every year Carl heads to Argentina for a week of guy bonding and fishing. This year on a quick change of plans from visiting Brazil, my friend, Yu Sian and I had to switch to a visit to Buenos Aires which crossed over two days with Carl.
We all arrive in BA in the early morning and proceeded to The Alvear Palace Hotel on Alvear Street. The hotel is the old grand Dame of famous hotels. They had rooms ready for us so we got unpacked and ready to head out. When the other fishing guys arrived we walked 2 blocks to Fervor Restaurant. Fervor is a white table cloth restaurant like when working people use to lunch. They serve a couple of fish choices and meat of a every kind, shishka bobs with 3 different types of meat. We had a fried cheese to start with a side of roasted red peppers drizzled with just the right amount of olive oil.and of course a nice bottle of wine.
The men went back to the hotel and we headed out to tour the famous cemetery where Evita is buried. On the way back to the hotel we stopped for amazing ice cream at Volta across the park from the cemetery. We needed a rest to get ready for the big steak dinner. The men wanted to have the big steaks that Argentina is famous for, so off we went to Don Julio, donjulio.com.ar, the steaks are big enough to share along with a wonderful plate of heirloom tomatoes. When you do not have a reservation for dinner until after 8:30pm it is hard to go to bed at 1 am.
We went to the Soho area the next morning to walk, explore, and shop, this area is a young energized group of streets still in transition. There were fun restaurants and stores of every kind. One thing you realize is the trend that fringe and platform shoes are in, covered with a poncho of some kind. After wandering the streets and a stop for coffee it was already time for lunch. We grabbed a cab and headed across town to The San Telmo area and “La Brigada” the meat centric restaurant famous for all the soccer memoribilia. The walls and even the ceiling are covered with photos and signed jerseys. The servers all love to cut your meat with a spoon to show how tender their meat is. We shared a beet salad, octopus starter, filet with a blood sausage side. We had no room for dessert but watch others around us share wonderful looking dishes.
We had to do a little shopping before going back to the hotel for a well deserved rest. First stop was for a pair of lizard shoes from Rossi and Caruso, they have several stores in the city and this one is behind our hotel so an easy stop. The next stop was “Arandu”, Ayacucho 1920 street. This store is 3 floors of beautiful leather goods, polo clothes and paraphernalia for the sport, old rugs and saddles. Worth the visit.
If you want a light lunch there is a very good local empanadas restaurant behind the hotel called, El Sanjuanino. This is a funky place with $2.00 empanadas while you sit in old booths and drink a beer.
Dinner was a change of pace with reservations at a small French restaurant called “Roux”, Pena 2300, Mrebaudino@rouxrest.com. The place seats about 36 guests upstairs with a small private room downstairs. The menu is simple, but every dish is cooked to perfection. I had the roast goat, one of the other guests had the pork belly and someone had the duck breast. We had a excellent waitress,she spoke perfect English that helped us order the sides and of course a couple of desserts to share. Love the dulce de leche! This restaurant has 2 seating so you can come at 8:30 or 10:30pm but be sure to make reservations this is a great choice for lunch or dinner.
Each day we would just start walking and explore each unique area of Buenos Aires. You can take the yellow tour bus that allows you to get off anytime wander the area and then catch the next bus 15 minutes later, you can use the pass for 24 hours. We toured the Latin American art, MALBA, then walked on to the Japanese Gardens, not worth the visit.
Dinner this evening is at “Tegui”, Costa Rica 5852, behind the plain graffiti painted door. I love the feeling of this space from the moment you enter the door you are handed a glass of champagne and taken to your table. The kitchen is in the back of the space and the open concept allows you to watch the magic take place. The 10 courses offer all the food groups, starting with tomatoe, scallop, sweetbreads, veal cheeks, and several other courses before the fresh cherries and ending with chocolate 4 ways. We did not do the pairing of wine with each course, but ordered a couple of glasses of wine for the diverse meal.
We really became tourists when we took the yellow bus and got off at the El Boco area with the bright painted houses and buildings. There are several antique stores, dancers doing the Tango with music blasting in the street.
We jumped back on the next bus and rode to the area where the Sunday Antique fair was in full swing, in San Pedro Telmo area, a must do on any Sunday. We headed back to the hotel for a well deserved rest, since we had reservations at Faena hotel for the fun Tango show and dinner, expensive, but well done.
After a busy week-end we took it easy the next day with a simple tour of the Opera house, wish we could he seen music on the stage or a ballet. If you are there during the season be sure to get tickets anything you see will be memorible.
Dinner was at a Peruvian fusion restaurant back in the Palermo area. Osaka, Soler 5608, was a nice space with a good bar and open sushi counter. The menu was huge and trying to make a choice was difficult so our waiter helped us order. It was not one of our better meals, but the ceviche tasting was interesting.
It was our last day so we wanted to visit a couple of places on our list. The first was a kitchen store called Enseres, El Salvador 5986, a small space with interesting tools and aprons. You have to ring the bell by the front door to enter. Then we walked 2 blocks to a great new spot called La Mar, El Salvador 5986. This restaurant is part of a chain with several franchise owners around the world. The menu is also a Peruvian fusion concept, but much less expensive than the other concept. We met the owner Milias Rosenberg, he is young and has great energy for this beautiful restaurant. Eating lunch outside could not have been better. We shared several dishes, but the best was dessert, a suggestion of Milias, CACHANGA!! Fresh fruit on top of a crisp is so good but, be sure to plan on sharing.
There is a new hotel in the neighborhood worth checking out. Casasur, Costa Rica 6032, this boutique hotel has a nice restaurant in the lobby and looked to have fun restaurant in the adjoining lobby, called “6”. This area is up and coming and will be a fun place to stay.
Go to Buenos Aires, it is a city with great energy!