2012-02-17

My Favourite Sights & Sites of Buenos Aires

Written by Andrew Furness
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Restaurants

For me the food and dining culture in Buenos Aires is among the best in the world. Many volunteers have told me the food is better across South America but it’s the atmosphere of the restaurants and the fact that dining out is a regular part of an Argentine’s lifestyle that makes 3-hour meals fly by and leave you looking forward to the late hours of the day. Guía Oleo (http://www.guiaoleo.com.ar/) is a fantastic guide to all the restaurants in town and gives you all the information you need. Below are some suggestions and my thoughts on the experiences of them: La Pasiva- CorrientesA casual Uruguayan diner on the busy street of Corrientes. Very nice atmosphere with inside or outside dining available. The food is very filling and comes in big portions; very typical of Uraguay- try the Chivito or the metro de pizza.La Cabrera- José Antonio Cabrero, Palermo Renowned as one of the best Steak houses/Parillas in Buenos Aires. Quite pricy but worth every penny as the Steaks are incredibly juicy and large. They also have good sharing options which makes it easy to go in a small group. Go early(ish) as there can be a long wait.  

La Cholita- Rodriguez Peña A Voluntario Global favourite! This parilla is not too far from the Casa de Voluntarios and is effectively a cheaper alternative to La Cabrera (above). But that do esn’t mean you lose any flavour, the steaks are large and served on a hot platter, the restaurant also has a very good wine list.

Campo de Asadores- Puerto Madero (near Puente de la Mujer) An excellent and traditional Argentine restaurant. It has a campo theme meaning the food and the decor imitates the field-life of the country’s estancias. Based in a beautiful location, you can sit by the water or inside and enjoy the suede table-cloths and Gaucho-dressed waiters.

Hard Rock Café- Pueyrredón An international classic. I’m sure you’ll all have visited a Hard Rock at some point and this lives up to expectations! Great food, American style BBQs are the favourite and then you’re free to enjoy the various rock memorabilia spread around the walls (heavily Beatles themed in this case)

Iberia- Avenida de Mayo This is very near the volunteer house and is quite a modern restaurant with a wide range of food. Drinks are expensive but the food is very reasonably priced and even comes with flags on top to tell you where the recipe is from! You can eat at a bar, at a table or outside and I would strongly recommend the empanadas or any of the “Spanish” menu. Night-Life As you may already know the night-life out here is a booming experience and very different to what I would be used to coming from Europe! ‘Pubs’ aren’t so common over here and bars will usually also serve food; what I would recommend is taking advantage of the cheap ‘litro’ bottles and finding a place to gather until you want to properly go out.  Clubs will never normally open until about midnight and even then you will find yourself very alone if you arrive before 2am. The Argentines are not massive drinkers which at least does mean you’ll rarely have to find yourself in a long queue for the next drink! Clubs/Bars

Gibraltar- Perú Great British style pub in the heart of San Telmo. They serve phenomenal Thai food as well as traditional British pub food. Also, it’s one of the few bars I’ve seen that will serve your beer in a pint glass and not a bottle.  

Skybar- Hotel Pulitzer (Maipú) Relatively pricey but an amazing view with a unique atmosphere. Champagne and cocktails are flowing while a DJ plays on the patio balcony.

Cruzat- Sarmiento A Celtic-style pub that boasts over 50 types of beer (light and dark) based in a small tropical garden; quite near the VG house.

Amerika- Palermo Fridays and Saturdays offer an all you can drink bar for between AR$65-85 and on alternative weeks has foam parties!

Terrazas del Este – Palermo With 3 different rooms playing different styles of music (Latin, Rock, Hip-hop) this club will please the majority of your group. The large balcony/terrace that gives the club it’s name is also great in the summer time.

Le Click- Rivadavia This is somewhere I was taken frequently when I first arrived in Buenos Aires. Again, a very large club with 2 floors that plays modern music. 5 minutes from the VG house so always good for an impromptu night out.

La Bomba de Tiempo Featured in BBC’s travel log as an “unmissable experience”. This is a Brazilian drumming event that takes place in an outdoor arena every Monday. Perhaps the most unique, South American and fun event I’ve been to in the city. TourismBuenos Aires is a historical and passionate city with tourist hot-spots to match. There is an ‘architectural bus-tour’ that will show you some of the best points but I think it is much better to take the time to truly explore each spot, and as a volunteer, this will be an easily taken advantage of opportunity. Many travellers have said to me that they think of Buenos Aires as their “home in South America” which is a fantastic way of describing how good a hub this city is for many of your travelling desires.  Something fantastic about living in Buenos Aires is the ease at which you can explore surrounding areas. The bus/coach system inside the country means you can sip wine in Mendoza one weekend and scale the glaciers of Patagonia the following! As well as that there’s a one hour ferry to the beautiful old village of Colonia del Sacramento in Uruguay where many people go to turn the lugubrious task of extending a visa into a frivolous weekend. 

(https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=oa.329618700413821&type=1) And of course there are many amazing things to see in Buenos Aires. The Casa Rosada is an amazing structure and on Thursdays you can see the ever-present ‘Madres de Plaza de Mayo’ walking around the square which is not to be missed. La Boca is a beautiful and impoverished area that is always good for a trip to a bar or souvenir haggling. Similarly make sure you head to the San Telmo market on a Sunday afternoon.   Relaxation Points In the vast yet homely metropolises that is Buenos Aires it is not uncommon for travellers to seek pastures new for some open space and relaxation. Of course the bus services and ferry terminals mentioned above can transport you to something a bit different but what about comforting opportunities in the capital itself?  Parks Palermo is about a 15 minute SUBTE ride away and has many glorious parks and plazas. Many long term volunteers choose to find an apartment in Palermo for this very reason. If I had to recommend one in particular I would say the Jardines Botanicos,but I think that ma y just be due to my (un)healthy obsession with the cats that roam there. Closer to the centre the Plaza de Congreso is a nice place to go for a run or a stroll but is still largely concrete. CafésBuenos Aires has a good tradition of Cafés, perhaps coming from the French and Italian immigrants. All tend to serve lunch style food (sandwiches, small pasta dishes etc) and have a vast range of coffee that was certainly unfamiliar but very pleasant to me! You will be able to find a small shop on almost any street (and inevitably Starbucks) but here’s some of my favourite frequents: El Gato Negro- Corrientes One of the oldest cafés in the city, this is a very small café that has over 100 types of coffee from all over South America (which is arguably the greatest coffee growing region!) You can also buy bags of your favourite beans to take home.  Café Tortoni- Avenida de Mayo Home to Argentina’s first Tango Academy, this café is quite large and very beautiful. Occasionally there are tango shows so look out for events. The food and table service is top class at this famous tourist attraction. MatéFor anyone who hasn’t been to Argentina (or Paraguay/Uraguay) before, prepare for maté to become a large part of your life. It’s a very traditional drink drunk out of a special maté cup and bombilla, all the staff at the projects will more than likely offer you some each day and although some consider it an acquired taste, it’s the perfect way to relax and stay alert while in South America.    http://www.voluntarioglobal.org/      

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