Places to Rest Your Head…and Fill Your Bellyn
Buenos Aires, Argentina
You may want to have a place reserved before getting into town. There are several options for this ranging from luxury and apart hotels (the “apart” hotels are a bit cheaper and equipped with kitchens) to hostels and dormitories. Unfortunately, my experience only covers the latter option. It seems that most of the backpacker crowd wants to be back-packed into the Milhouse at Hipólitio Yrigoyen 959 in Montserrat. This is a colonial building with a great vibe – if crowded. The cost is around AR $60, but staying here will require an advance registration as all foreign peoples flock to this place. It is my opinion, though, that a better value can be had for the same price elsewhere. Check out Che Lulu Guest House in Palermo at Psje. Emilio Zola 5185 has brightly colored walls adorned with local artwork, well lit rooms, and a pleasant environment for socializing. It is a step above the regular hostel scene. For a more residential feel than downtown, there are several other hostel options in Palermo as well. Most of the hotels, since they are catering mainly to the high-budget tourists, have prices comparable to those back home. One thing I might add is if you are planning on visiting for more than a month, there are several rental properties that have cropped up around this type of tourist and business travel. Check out www.alojargentina.com.ar and www.bahouse.com.ar for photos of available rental properties around town.
If you want a gourmet meal, Buenos Aires happens to have more than a few options for you. Most important here, is to explore. You will definitely be rewarded with excellent food in this town. But just incase you want to go on someone’s experience, here are a few places I maintain great affection for. I already recommended the pasta at Gomez in San Telmo. Of course, this town is actually filled with fresh pasta joints. If you enjoy a nice fresh paparadelli, taglietelli, ravioli, or tortellini, this town will definitely have you declaring your amore – so take your pick. Now, Argentina is well known for its steak, so if you haven’t given up meat yet, this is a place for sinful indulgence. There are plenty of places to keep you busy with this, but if you want a non-glitzy, true Argentine place with traditional mozos serving up juicy steaks with crowds of locals, you must go to El Trapiche; it is located at Paraguay 5599 in Palermo Viejo. And across the street, I might add, is an Italian restaurant that serves the best pizza margarita in town. Do yourself a favor and try this brick-oven masterpiece as well (I’m sorry I can’t remember the name, but it truly is identifiably just across the street).
For an intimate dinner of local delicacies, also in Palermo, at Honduras 5298, you will find Desde el Alma. The seared meats and baked seafood I tasted in this unique restaurant were delectable. They have several rooms that meander around the space, creating many corners to tuck into for a romantic dinner. If you prefer something a little louder and stimulating for groups, try ordering off the scrumptious tapas menu at Spirit, located at Serrano 1550. The food here, though more Spanish in origin than Argentine, is great place to begin a night out. And last but not least, is Cumaná, a quaint and popular place for you to sample Argentina’s favorite snack food: empanadas. The weekends fill this Recoleta establishment around 10 p.m., so be prepared to wait a few minutes if you want in on the action. It is located at Rodriguez Pena 1149 and also serves up many of the traditional argentine dishes, like locro, a hearty stew and cazuela, a delightfully creamy casserole.
So there you have it. It is the Paris of South America, the one that Paris, France never could be. It is the tango capital of the world, the streets that seduce the most unsuspecting of tourists. What else should I tell you? This is just a place you must visit and these are just some things you should know about and experience once you get there.
Recently returned a few short months ago from his year-long adventure in South America, the author of this guide is currently living in San Diego, California, where he is saving up to begin his next writing/traveling adventure. During his year in Latin America, he volunteered in Ecuador, visited 10 South American countries, and spent three blissful months in the city of Buenos Aires. While in town he tutored English to university students and attempted to live in the city’s cafés and bars. In this way he was able to pass a season, make some great Argentine acquaintances, and learn much about the urban culture of his soon-to-be favorite city on the planet. He is presently working on a collection of essays from his Latin American travels, which he is extremely excited to have the time to do. An intimate secret: at night he dreams about finding a way to earn a decent wage in the Argentine city he’d rather be in than anywhere else. For now he’ll just have to put his dollars together back home and write from memory.