Click through for our Google map. Our high-level takeaway: the city was charming, food was good but not great, safety concerns were overhyped, and friends make everything better.
1. Ninina Bakery: In Buenos Aires, there will inevitably come a point when you will need a juice and some raw greens after meat-filled days, and this is the perfect spot. In Faryn’s words, “I can’t believe this place isn’t owned by Israelis.” We’re a little unclear about what she meant exactly, but we’re assuming Israelis love light-filled spaces and expensive salads. Sit at the communal table in the kitchen and order this cake:
2. Cementerio de la Recoleta: Cemeteries usually aren’t top of our must-see lists—dead people are the worst, amiright?—but this one delivers. The tombs are above ground à la New Orleans, and most are super impressive with styles ranging from classical to gothic to deco. Recoleta houses many of Argentina’s most famous corpses, but unless you’re well schooled in South American history and culture, Evita is probably the only name you’ll recognize.
3. Casa Felix: “Closed door restaurants” are a bit of a thing in BA. They’re supper clubs run by people who know their way around the kitchen but aren’t interested in that restaurant life. Casa Felix seems to be the one that the press and people we know talked about most. It was in the chef’s house. It was solid. The dishes had the best seasoning of anywhere we went in the city, and that counts for a lot in our book.
4. Comité: We had coffees and pastry here while waiting for a table at Ølsen, and as a group we had a major…croivelation? The croissants at Comité appear normie from the outside with the flaky exterior that one should expect from laminated dough. But the inside is purposefully under-baked, yielding a doughy center that is almost the texture of marzipan.
5. Ølsen: Most of our meals are planned by scouring choice blogs or gleaning tips from local chef acquaintances. This place we saw in a Madewell catalog. It’s beautiful, open and airy, and the Scandi brunch options are fine. Come because your boyfriend jeans will photograph nicely against the blonde wood, not because Argentina is a leader in gravlax.
6. Don Julio: Steak and malbec, malbec and steak. The tablecloths are cowhides just in case you were confused about what type of restaurant this is. People are totally obsessed with this place and we’re not totally sure why. It was good, but (blasphemy!), not better than, say, Ox in Portland.
7. Felix Felicis: Harry Potter + a great latte = good luck all day.
8. Casa Cavia: This recently opened restaurant slash lifestyle compound is housed in a gorgeous manse dating from the 1920s. Aside from the restaurant itself, which is very good, there is a perfumerie, a flower shop, and a tightly curated bookshop. Are you handsome? You probably either lunch here or work here.
9. La Fabrica del Taco: The inexpensive and tasty taco spot that every person should have in their neighborhood.
10. San Telmo Market: The truth about San Telmo Market is that it’s a city block full of cheap and used crap, but you’ll probably go anyhow.
11. Jauja’s: In a city where we didn’t have any bad gelato, Jauja’s was the best.
12. Parilla de Freddy: MacKenzie’s favorite thing in Buenos Aires was the choripán from Freddy’s.
13. El Banco Rojo: Your vegetarian friend can get decent felafel here while you go to Freddy’s. True story.
14. Bar Soria: Cool kids in Palermo sipping their fernet and Cokes.
15. Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve: A riverside park area perfect for a jog, if you’re into that kind of thing, though it under-delivers as far as what the Argentinean ecological reserve of your dreams might have looked like.
16. Florería Atlantico: You enter this basement bar/restaurant through a street level flower shop. The cocktail list is imaginative and exhaustive (Natalie’s drink was served in a tiny bottle with a tiny cork, as if she were Alice in Wonderland) and the food is not bad, if a little dependent on the fryolator. The vibe is sexy speakeasy meets fire hazard in a not unpleasant way.
17. Niceto Club: Faryn’s top pick, specifically Thursday nights when it transforms into Club 69.
18. Astor: This resto serves a good value tasting menu (maybe not for locals—see our previous post about the blue market—which could explain why the restaurant was empty except for one other table). Everything was tasty, but almost everything needed salt.
19. La Catedral: Natalie’s fave BA thing. This cavernous tango club drips atmosphere. Also sweaty sensual sweat. It’s a great mix of hardcore…tangis?, American co-eds doing their semesters abroad, and locals just there to have fun. Three of us arrived a little before the other two. We were loitering outside waiting, and the doorman told us we were missing the live music set. “Don’t worry; I’ll look out for the other gringas.”
20. Via Mola: On point ice cream-to-cone ratio:
21. El Ateneo Grand Splendid: An opera house turned bookstore very much worth the visit.
22. MALBA: Blake’s top spot in Buenos Aires; a beautiful and manageable art-viewing experience. Maybe you’ll walk right by these painters preparing a gallery for the next installation before realizing it’s performance art.