This city definitely takes the biscuit for our favourite South American capital, I would move here in a heart beat if I could. The food is amazing, the people friendly, the bars unique and the laid back cool culture permeates everything.
We stayed in the area of San Telmo first and then moved to Palermo to get a feel for a different area. It was far to posh for us! San Telmo is much more down to earth, rustic and interesting. Less tiny dogs in handbags basically. It’s known as the place to stay if you like antiques, and is also home to the famous Sunday market that takes over the whole of Defensa street. It sells the usual tourist tat mixed in with artisan goods and antiques, but the best thing about it for me was the tiny plaza serving beers and cakes in the sunshine with a fantastic Argentinian band entertaining the crowd. They made everyone so happy, people were spontaneously getting up to dance, and even the waiters we bouncing as they cleared tables. Sitting there sipping my cold beer listening to the sweet sound of Argentinian music is a moment I’ll never forget.
During our 5 days in BA we mostly just walked around a different neighbourhood each day, it’s enough for us just to soak up the feel of a city on foot, stopping for coffee and steak along the way. San Telmo is a great place to do this if you’re into finding nice little nooks and crannies, Recoleta is also a good choice but had a very different feel. It’s the mega posh area of BA with tree lined streets and mega mansions to gawp at. We also visited the cemetery here which is a very popular activity, not as depressing as you might think, more like an episode of pimp my crypt, if such a show should ever exist.
We also spent an afternoon wandering around the Puerto Madero area, after seeing some of the government buildings in the centre of town nearby. We walked up to the nature reserve and then got a bit flummoxed by how to get in, so just chilled out by one of the many meat stands there, which I’m told offer up a decent meal. Sadly we’d just eaten a pretty rubbish sandwich.
Maybe one of the best things about BA. There’s so much steak everywhere, how do you choose?! Well we tried out both ends of the spectrum and enjoyed them both equally in different ways. We headed to our good friend Four Square to find a well rated steak restaurant, and picked La Brigada in San Telmo, a wonderful choice. The waiters are so attentive and help you pick the right meal. It’s a fancy setting so we freaked out at first that the price would be too much, and actually it was for our backpacker budget. I proceeded to have kittens because it’s was too late- we were already sitting down and this was not the kind of place you could quickly dash out of if the price was too high, like we had done so many times before. Luckily Mickaël put things back in perspective, and reminded me that half the fun of travelling is eating amazing food, and we were going to have a fancy steak and wine dinner in Buenos Aires whether I liked it or not. Well obviously I liked it very much indeed, and just to put it into perspective for you, the bill came to £52. Seriously.
On the other end of the spectrum you have the hole-in-the-wall eatery near the info or antiques market that has a huge grill going all evening, tempting everyone that walks by. You can find it near the corner of Defensa and Bolivia streets. Here you will find the best Choripan in BA (chorizo sausage in yummy white baguette), for a mere 30 pesos, or a huge piece of steak and if you’re feeling adventurous, even a black sausage that is not a sausage at all, make no mistake. It will burst into a pile of black goo when you poke it. Obviously I did not order this, the people sitting next to enjoyed this as their dinner as I looked on, horrified.
There is plenty of this here but unfortunately I came down with a nasty cold here and didn’t much feel like partying. We made it to a tango lesson before I got ill, this was a surreal experience. We opted for a dance hall that got going later in the evening after all the classes had finished, but this wasn’t well timed being on a Sunday night. Saturday would have been more lively. We had a great lesson and hung around waiting for the music to start until about midnight, at which point they brought out an old guy on an untuned piano playing pieces well above his ability. Poor guy. Poor us for having to listen to him actually, we left pretty promptly.
There’s plenty of clubs for hard dance music or Latin music in BA so indulge yourself until your heart’s content!