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Kavey Oct 24th, 2008 08:50 AM

Buenos Aires - Attractions/ Restaurants

My husband and I will be spending 3 nights in BA in mid December on the way back from Antarctica via Ushuaia.

We've booked our hotel, which is in Palermo Soho, the Miravida Soho Hotel.

I'd love to read your recommendations for restaurants either in this area or further afield (please specify).

I'm also interested in ideas for attractions, maybe some shopping too.

We're not into nightlife/bars at all, so in recommending restaurants, we'd prefer to avoid those that are more bar than restaurant or that have extremely loud music or where noise levels are very high. I'm not looking for silent mausoleums either though, just places with focus on food and where we can hear ourselves talk!

We love meat, so some grills etc would be good. So too some recommendations for particular specialities to look out for.

Although I adore seafood my husband doesn't like it, so I would also like a recommendation for somewhere where the meat and seafood are equally good.

In terms of attractions, we're the kind that like to meander and take it easy. We don't rush around ticking sights off.

For shopping, quirky stuff, inexpensive crafts, knick-knacks are of more interest than fashion. Neither of us is into fashion at all and I'm the atypical female, I don't like buying shoes or handbags!

Anyway, many thanks, looking forward to your suggestions!

avrooster Oct 24th, 2008 09:24 AM

Kavey & DH: do not take offense, but, since your visit is still well over a month away, I have to suggest you do some research on the subject, both here and in

I consider it part of the fun of travel.

Your request for "somewhere where the meat and seafood are equally good." is nearly impossible, but there is a new "parrilla" (grill), located in the heart of the Recoleta area, which serves BOTH fine meat and great grilled fish.

Have a great time in our town.

Lil1210 Oct 24th, 2008 09:30 AM

Hi Kavey,

My friends and I just returned last week from 5 days in BA. For one of those nights, we stayed at Miravida Soho's apartment, a block away from the hotel. The breakfast at Miravida Soho was seriously scrumptious, and we regret not having had a chance to eat dinner there (served only on Friday and Saturday nights, I believe.)

A lovely place for lunch an easy walk from Miravida Soho would be La Cupertina. Out of the dozen empanada places we tried throughout Argentina, these were the clear winner! Try the regular sized carne empanadas, as well as the double sized carrot, zucchini, or eggplant ones.

For steak, we tried La Cabrera in Palermo, Campo Bravo in Las Canitas, La Brigada in San Telmo, and Don Julio in Palermo. We thought Don Julio had both the tastiest meat and the warmest service, with a more laid-back, less mobbed vibe than La Cabrera or La Brigada. For other food recs, I'd suggest checking out Chowhounds' South America board:

We also enjoy meandering slowly. One of our favorite quirky places to meander off the beaten track was the Carlos Regazzoni sculpture park in Retiro. All of this eccentric genius's metal sculptures are made of old railway parts. We loved it, and afterwards, we enjoyed a lovely afternoon tea at nearby Maru Botana (Suipacha 1371), famous for their delicious cakes and pastries.

Even if you're not into nightlife/bars, you might enjoy going to hear some live tango music. Torquato Tasso in San Telmo was low-key, elegant, and populated mostly by locals. This is music only, NOT a tango dance show, though I think they do have a milonga some nights. Performances start around 10, and you need to make a reservation. There's no entrance fee for the show; just order a little something from the small menu.

One last rec for ice cream: We tried a lot of heladerias throughout BA, and our hands-down favorite was Cadore, on Avenida Corrientes, not far from the Congresso building. Their dulce de leche granizado, frutilla tropical, pomelo, and limon were out of this world. (You can tell we went back there several times!) It's a bit of a trek from Palermo, but if you're in the neighborhood, check it out!

Kavey Oct 24th, 2008 09:43 AM

Avrooster, I've done a whole lot of research both on this site, on several other sites, in books, in travel magazines, in newspaper travel supplements.

However, I didn't want to do a post that said "I've read/ been advised these are good. Are they?" as it tends to stifle new and fresh advice and turns into a discussion of what's already been recommended.

Instead I am looking for fresh recommendations that I can weigh up against the TONNE of research I've already done.


Kavey Oct 24th, 2008 09:47 AM

Lil, thank you, that's exactly the kind of recommendations I was hoping for.

Glad to hear the feedback on Miravida Soho breakfast. Haven't a clue what days of week we're there, will check.

Don Julio's laid back vibe sounds appealing.

The slightly eccentric Carlos Regazzoni sculpture Park sounds right up our alley as does the afternoon tea afterwards! Absolutely great tip, thank you and not on my existing list!

And thanks too for the music recommendation. I know many people opt for tango shows in BA but they simply don't appeal to us. Music only may be a great alternative. What kind of music do they play?

THANKS AGAIN, I so appreciate it.

Lil1210 Oct 24th, 2008 11:40 AM

Hi Kavey,

I think Torquato Tasso is all tango music, but I could be wrong. The night we were there, we heard the stunning Gabriel Menendez accompanied by the Cabuleros, a tango quartet of violin, accordion, acoustic guitar, and electric guitar. You can find a calendar here under Cartelera, Agenda:

We also preferred not to attend an expensive, glitzy tango show but felt we shouldn't leave BA without seeing any tango dancing. Laura Murias at our first hotel, 1890 in San Telmo, suggested that we go to Confiteria Ideal for their milonga. We went late on a Saturday night, but the rain kept the crowds away and the milonga ended early. They suggested that we return the next afternoon for their big anniversary event, which turned out to be wonderful. We were riveted by the skill and intensity of the older dancers, and we were fascinated by the tiny gestures the men used to signal to the women. (Note: the crowd at Confiteria Ideal is definitely on the older side.) As far as we could tell, we were the only tourists in the entire place, but everyone was cordial and friendly to us. (We did try very hard to be as discreet and unobtrusive as possible, so as not to disturb the regulars. ) In short, this might be a good place to experience an afternoon milonga without feeling awkward and unwelcome, as we had worried might be the case.

avrooster Oct 24th, 2008 01:57 PM

My idea for a "fresh recommendation" was "Fervor" and it was not acknowledged.

Kavey Oct 24th, 2008 02:42 PM

Sorry, I hadn't looked at the link yet, so didn't comment yet. I didn't mean to suggest I hadn't noticed it.

saltshaker Oct 25th, 2008 12:27 PM

For really creative takes on Argentine cuisine, and a good selection of fish, poultry, and red meat dishes, check out Pura Tierra in Belgrano -

Easily some of the best meals I've had over the four years I've been living here.

Another choice, also a bit "out of the way", would be Urondo, which is a personal fave for very laid back, casual ambiance, and creative multicultural cooking -

Scarlett Oct 25th, 2008 05:09 PM

Hi Kavey ... is a good website for reviews as well as an interesting blog.
Sat and Sun go to Recoleta and enjoy the Hippie Feria where you will be able to enjoy quite a bit of shopping with all the hand-made items, knitted, silver , glass, leather and everything else. I did a lot of my Christmas shopping there last year..
On Sunday there is also the flea market in San Telmo..
you will be in Soho so go to the market at Plaza Serrano.. not to mention the shops in the neighborhood.
No shortage of shopping opportunities in BA. ( you know me lol )

For music..
look at these websites and see if anything appeals to you.. the great thing is that they are all Free.. although La Scala charges a tiny bit for tickets..

Bibliotech Nacional is the big wacky looking library, google it, you will love it. They have a room just for music, acoustics are fabulous.. we have seen a few things and enjoyed every one of them..

The Colon Opera House is still being renovated so the venues are scattered around town. If you are interested in Classical music, you can attend free concerts with the National Symphony Orchestra .. we go almost every week.. just wonderful. Look for the word Conciertos..

La Cabrera is one of the most famous steak places in town and close to where you will be staying.. on Thames and Cabrera in Palermo Soho
For fish, Oviedo in Recoleta ... wonderful atmosphere, food and service.
Just about everywhere you go, you can get good grilled seafood as well as steak.. we don't eat meat and there are no restaurants that we don't find something good in .. salmon here is excellent !

There is a wonderful place in San Telmo, called Amici Miei .. on Defensa.. upstairs, wonderful seafood, pasta and meat dishes.. beautiful rooms and great service.

Fervor is very trendy and expensive ...

Since you will no doubt be in Recoleta at some point, you can go to Maru Botana on Ayacucho .. a tiny lovely tea room with wonderful pastries ..
If you get homesick, the Alvear Hotel does a High Tea !

avrooster Oct 26th, 2008 03:23 AM

FERVOR was recommended to me by an American TA destination expert who has lived in BA for YEARS and is married to an Argentine lady. That is why he knows his stuff.

I tried it recently and found you get a pretty good cost/quality ratio, which is why I would call it comparatively inexpensive.

Yes it is a little trendy, but it offers great grilled meat AND fish, which is why I recommended it to the OP, who asked for "somewhere where the meat and seafood are equally good."

Furthermore, unless you are a big eater, I'd say you can share the portions served.

avrooster Oct 26th, 2008 04:55 AM

I'm afraid I have gone a little "ballistic" on this restaurant subject, so please excuse me, but I'll go on.

The OP clearly asked for places "where we can hear ourselves talk!".

While "La Cabrera" certainly offers great steaks, it is also very crowded, the tables are very close to each other, it is so touristy you almost hear only English spoken and it is quite hard to hear yourself talk!

Oviedo is a fine place for Spanish cuisine, predominantly seafood, but also great "cochinillo" (pork). However, it is far more expensive than Fervor.

Kavey Oct 26th, 2008 06:36 AM

Thanks for these recommendations for restaurants and also the discussions about them. It's really helping me to get a feel for some of the places too and I'll visit the websites provided as well and of course google myself as well.

Thanks too for the shopping recos, Scarlett, what were your best buys?

I also have a few articles from travel mags on BA restaurants so, when I have more time, I'll grab those, see what crossover there is between the suggestions here and in those publications and also ask for your further input, if that's OK.

Thanks again, to all of you, I really appreciate it.

PS about that hearing ourselves talk thing, it's also partly because, whilst my husband doesn't have a diagnosed hearing problem, like all his family, he finds it extremely hard, harder than I and most people, to distinguish conversation when there's a lot of background noise, especially when that noise is also conversation. :)

Scarlett Oct 26th, 2008 07:23 AM

Hi Kavey...
Here are some other restaurants that we like, prices are reasonable and they are definitely comfortable for a nice meal without a din around you.. ( I tried to think of places that are not all in the tour guides or talked to death on forums.. but that is difficult!)

in Barrio Norte/Recoleta
<b>Erin </b>
French 2929
I love this place, seafood, steak etc ..

In Palermo Viejo
El Salvador 4618 / 22
I like it best for lunch but dinner is good too..

Palermo Viejo
<b>Meridiano 58 </b>
Jorge L. Borges 1689
Wonderful brunches and very good dinners..

In Recoleta
<b>Olinda Bistr&oacute; </b>
Jose Le&oacute;n Pagano 2697
candlelight and whispers across the table :)
Very nice, inventive and tasty food and great service.
Most restaurants you can eat outdoors too, which can be very pleasant.

I can't think of what my best shopping buys are ... I guess the best was our home lol... we have a wonderful apartment in Recoleta ...Imagine a large flat in Belgravia ? lol ... or Knightsbridge maybe..
anyway, shoes and handbags are nice , the leather here is so good.. but handmade jewelry is great also.. I have spent so much time shopping for home things, decorating and clothes, that it is all a blur.
Your money will go far, wherever you shop, you will most likely really enjoy it.
Hope this helps..

yestravel Oct 26th, 2008 07:48 AM

Great thread, thank u Kavey for starting it and thanks everyone for all the restaurant suggestions. I've been collecting restaurant to try for our upcoming trip and was interested in hearing about some different ones than the usuals that get mentinoed. Now the problem will be trying to choose among all the great recommendations!

Kavey Oct 26th, 2008 08:10 AM

Scarlett, I knew you enjoyed BA but had somehow missed that you bought an apartment there, how wonderful!

yestravel, when are you visiting?

crzn1 Oct 26th, 2008 08:41 AM

bookmarking ( Scarlett
Date: 10/25/2008,)

yestravel Oct 26th, 2008 08:41 AM

Kavey, we leave for BA on Nov 14 -- can't wait! We're also spending 3 nights at the end of our trip at Miravida Soho.

Scarlett Oct 26th, 2008 08:50 AM

Kavey, we moved to Buenos Aires a year and a half ago.. we are very happy with this move. Beware, it all happened as a result of a visit :)

Our son stayed in Palermo Soho when he first arrived here ( he visited us for 2 months) and he liked an Italian place called Art de Mafia .. lol.. he likes to find delicious bargains so that restaurant is in his reco list..

This might make you laugh.. here is the Youtube of the restaurant..

iamq Oct 26th, 2008 09:14 AM


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