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Between glamour and grit
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The Lowdown | Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires, An Energetic and Cultural Capital with Latin American Flair Words by Sorrel Moseley-Williams

Where Argentina

Quick Quote $650 per day (for 2 people including hotels)

Best Season Spring, late summer and autumn

Thinking of Culture, fun, food, dance

Best Portrayed in Focus (2015) with Will Smith (in English)

The Secret in Their Eyes (2009) with Ricardo Darín (in Spanish)

You’re probably heading to Buenos Aires to eat steak in the Paris of South America, catch some world-class polo and snap up leather goodies but there’s a lot more to Argentina’s capital than meets the eye. Harboring dozens of world-class museums, theaters and galleries, porteños (the city’s residents) are proud of their rich cultural heritage, love to eat out whether it’s for a rib-eye or a slice of pizza, and enjoy their city across parks, plazas and cafés. An array of colorful barrios (neighborhoods) with distinctive identities such as boho San Telmo or buzzy Palermo Hollywood mean it’s easy to fall for Buenos Aires’ ample charms, best discovered by foot.  

Where to Stay

For old-world glamour with top-notch service, La Mansión––built as a gift by an infatuated groom for his bride––at the Four Seasons in Recoleta transports guests back to the Belle Époque for a unique and historical stay. Palermo Hollywood’s captivating Home Hotel oozes style thanks to its carefully curated design details: book a garden suite for a green perspective. Fierro, in the same neighborhood, is known for great service, extremely comfy beds and top restaurant Uco. Business travelers should book into the Alvear Art located downtown, a soaring tower block with a fantastic cityscape from the swimming-pool.

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Words by Sorrel Moseley-Williams Buenos Aires Editor

Sorrel Moseley-Williams is a freelance journalist and sommelier based in Argentina since 2006. Specialising in South America, she covers travel, food and wine for the likes of Condé Nast Traveller, The Guardian, The Independent, CNN Travel, Monocle and Decanter. She runs a pop-up wine bar in Buenos Aires, Come Wine With Us, and loves Mendoza, Lima and BA in equal measures.

Where to Eat & Drink

A breath of fresh air on the parrilla (steakhouse) circuit, Asian-themed Niño Gordo draws inspiration from Taiwan, Korea and Japan; one tasty beef marinade is ssamjang (spicy Korean paste). However, no visit to Buenos Aires would be complete without dining at a classic, and Don Julio ticks that box to combine top-notch service with incredible grass-fed rib-eye and an excellent wine list; it also ranked in the top 100 of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in 2018.

“Exploring Buenos Aires by foot is the best way to soak up its ambience, stopping off at a museum or café, admiring vibrant street art or blooming jacaranda trees: it’s a fantastic city to get lost in.”

For some of the largest slabs of meat on the market that are perfect for sharing, order La Cabrera’s bife de chorizo that comes with array of complementary sides. All proteined out? Turn up the heat with authentic southeastern Asia flavors at Sunae Asian Cantina where Christina Sunae conjures up Filipino family recipes such as sizzling sisig as well as curries from Thailand and Indonesia. Buenos Aires is also home to a sizeable Peruvian community so for ceviches and fresh fish, La Mar Cebichería’s flavor-filled dishes are a taste that transport you direct to Lima. For tropical cocktails and beach vibes in a regenerated railway arches, check out Divisadero Parador, helmed by star bartender Tato Giovannoni who produces his own gin and beers.

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What to See

Fresh from hosting the first Art Basel Cities Week in September 2018, Buenos Aires is in a great space, culture wise. After refurbishing an early 20th-century power plant, the Usina del Arte is a focal point in La Boca, the city’s newly revamped arts neighborhood. One fantastic contemporary gallery worth visiting is Del Infinito, whose exhibits might include works by influential Argentine artists such as Clorindo Testa or Rogelio Polesello.  As for Argentina’s emblematic music and dance genre, take a private tango class with teacher Alejandro Puerta who will have you mastering basic steps in no time, an experience more enlightening than a tango-dinner show. Live another Argentine passion, soccer, by catching Boca Juniors playing a big stadium game at La Bombonera against bitter rival River Plate in the Súperclásico. And, while you can catch polo throughout the year at the Palermo grounds, the exciting Argentine Open kicks off in October, perfect timing to see top players in action and get in on the all-important after-polo partying.

What to Do

For a multitude of Buenos Aires sights in one hit, head to Plaza de Mayo: it’s home to the Pink House (where you can see the Eva ‘Evita’ Perón balcony) to the Metropolitan Cathedral where Pope Francis last worked, as well as Cabildo town hall. While it’s always a good idea to look up and admire BA’s array of architectural styles, do cross the Puente de la Mujer in Puerto Madero, an elegant steel and concrete footbridge that represents a woman. Many of BA’s best designers work behind closed doors: make an appointment at Maydi’s private showroom to check out fair-trade contemporary sweaters, wraps, dresses and throws made from sustainably sourced organic merino wool. For vibrant leather accessories, check out metallic and bubblegum hues at Juanita Jo. Her collection includes duotone satchels and clutches in orange and cerise, or aquamarine and turquoise, adding flair and fun to a wardrobe. Aesthetes should stop off at Mar Dulce gallery for a close-up of small-size contemporary works by Argentine artists. Owner and curator Linda Neilson changes up exhibits every few weeks, presenting the perfect opportunity for an artsy gathering.

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