Buenos Aires Survival Guide by Tania Ku

Words to know:

Agua de canilla – tap water

Cubierto – cover charge

Bife de chorizo (sirloin, popular)

Bife de lomo (tenderloin)

Bife de castilla (T-bone)

Ojo de bife (ribeye, smaller)

Lomitos – steak sandwich

Empanada horno (baked) or frito (fried)

Buy Aguila candy bars from supermarket

Dulce de leche



Queso y dulce (w/ memrillo…quince)

Coffee w/ milk



Details to consider:

    • Exchange money at Banco de la Nacion Argentina. Calculate it so that you get 90 pesos/centavos so that you have some coins. (1 USD ≈ 4 ARS)
    • Get a BsAs map, have someone mark unsafe areas to avoid.

Things to do:

  • Walk to Costa Rica St./Godoy Cruz. Check in at Abode B&B, pay $85 USD per night for Blue Room.
    • Ask about bike rental, book bus (make sure to go with the bed (cama ejecutiva)and hostel to/from Iguazu Falls…
  • Head to San Telmo(colonial-style houses along narrow cobblestone lanes)
    • Street fair down Av. Defensa
      • Known for its street performers, antiques and various other random goods that are sold there. Negotiate on anything you are trying to purchase. The area around Plaza Dorrego and Defensa streets is the center of the action.
    • Molecular / Modern: El Baqueano, la vineria de gualterio bolivar
    • Parrillas: La Brigada
    • Ice cream: Dylon
  • Saturday and Sundays you will find a flea market in Honduras and Borges intersection.
    • Leather goods:  jackets, shoes, purses. Clothing: designers selections, leather Jackets.
  • Brunch at Olsen (the maracuya, or passion fruit, and mint vodka smoothie is incredible) or Bar Seis in Palermo
  • Head to La Boca(considered Buenos Aires’s most controversial neighborhood with an explosive personality. Picturesque district for its rich history and vibrant colors)
    • Steakhouse: Bar Obrero
    • Patagonia Sur (Argentine Chef Francis Malman) is supposed to be good.
    • La Boca: Boca Juniors is the most famed soccer club in Buenos Aires (although Ines and I are River Plate fans!), and you can tour the stadium called the Bombanera.  El Caminito is the more touristed area in La Boca, with multicolored rows of houses.  In general, La Boca is a little rough around the edges, so best to go during daytime to visit.
  • Head to Puerto Madero(the antique port of Buenos Aires has been renewed and now represents the latest architectural trends of the city)
    • Steakhouse: Cabaña Las Lilas
  • Microcentro — The area around the Plaza de Mayo is worth walking around, especially during the weekday, as it is the financial and political center of the city.  Calle Florida is a pedestrian only street in this area with lots of stores, many of which cater to tourists.
  • Palermo– drinks at circular plaza place in the middle of Palermo that’s open really really late, you won’t miss it once you’re there, Plaza Serrano?
    • Parrillas: Don Julio, Minga, El Bondpland, Anastasia (Lonely Planet: homemade ravioli, steaks, house lomo, mate)
    • Lunch at El 22 Parrilla (Lonely Planet: unpretentious, order half portions)
    • Traditional Homemade Argentinean Food (Granny’s receipes): Enfundá la Mandolina
    • Bars/clubs (these three places are one next to the other and are great!):
      • Congo in Palermo Soho has a great Patio.
      • Belushi Martini Bar, Honduras 5333 (entre godoy cruz y la via), Bar + Dance + Terrace (Next to CONGO)
      • Kika Dance Club, Next to Belushi
    • Other great bars close in Palermo:
      • BarUriarte
      • Godoy Bar, great ambience and pretty good food
      • Carnal
      • Mute (Las Cañitas) good for Thursday night!

Bars around Plaza Costa Rica in Palermo Soho:

  • Podestá
  • Buda Bar
  • Sugar

Bars around Plaza Cortazar for the early evening in Palermo Soho:

  • Cronico
  • Sullivans (Irish Pub)

Bars in Palermo Hollywood

  • Carnal Bar
  • Unico (open everyday till late)
  • Sonoman
  • Freak Roy
  • Campo Bravo (Grill)

Dance Clubs and After Office
You should try Museum on Wednesday after office (from 7 PM to midnight). I don’t know if it is going to be open in January (2000 people in suits dancing after office). The place was constructed by Eiffel.
If you want to try a Dance Club go to Cro Bar in Palermo (Ask for a Taxi from the Hotel). Dance Clubs in Buenos Aires starts at 2AM (take a nap first!).

Jet Lounge is great for Thursday Night (after 1AM)

Wine bar: Bar Uriarte

Las Canitas:

    • Parrillas: El Primo
    • BEST BAKERY EVER: Chantilly Confiteria tiny place near Las Cañitas that have the best alfajores, not the gross Havana kind
    • Báez y Arrévalo cross streets is the place to be. Great
      restaurants and cool bar scene:
      – Campo Bravo — on Baez y Arrevalo. awesome fresh take on comida típica de las pampas, parrilla, bife de chorizo
      – Las Cholas — on Arce y Arrevalo. delicious food from Northwest
      (Salta, Jujuy, Tucuman, etc.)
      – Van Konning’s — cool dutch bar
  • Recoleta — one of the finest and most expensive areas of the city. It boasts many French style buildings, large green spaces and first class restaurants. The famous Recoleta Cemetery is well worth a visit.
  • Belgrano — a residential and peaceful neighborhood with silent streets that lead to different shops, restaurants, architectural relics and large green spaces. Belgrano’s one of the most distinguished districts, and it’s ideal for day walks along the wooded tile sidewalks.
  • Almagro/Barrio Norte — an original middle-class neighborhood, unspoiled by tourists, Almagro is a calm barrio located in the very center of the capital, with cheap empanadas, chinese supermarkets, and greengrocer’s, the smell of grilled meat from plentiful parillas, and a very big circular park that transforms into a market on Sundays. Milion is a great bar here, there’s also a vintage shopping building on the perpendicular main street
  • Boedo — one of the main Tango and historical spots in the city, the streets of Boedo offer to native and tourist public a huge variety of cafes in the best “porteño” style, cultural centers , Tango houses, libraries, theaters and nice pubs and restaurants. Places that please people from all ages and tastes.
  • Caballito — an average, middle-class neighborhood, the barrio has both plentiful amenities, spacious parks and a good selection of shops. On the other hand, there are dirty, noisy and unsafe areas of Caballito that should be avoided. Overall, it is a pleasant residential and commercial hub.

Congreso — a dense downtown area that houses the legislative branch of government at the opposite end of Avenida de Mayo from the “pink house” seat of the executive branch.

Once — a large immigrant population, mainly from Argentina’s neighbors Bolivia and Paraguay, call Once home. The streets are always busy with people, markets and outdoor sellers.

  • Retiro — hosting the main train station in the city, a busy area filled with commuters, but also home to some of the most luxurious restaurants, shopping, and partying, in the expat-friendly border of Microcentro, Retiro still hasn’t really decided what its definitive identity will be.
  • Tribunales — this part of town has many theater shows, especially on Avenida Corrientes. On Libertad street there is the astounding, huge Colon Theatre; one of the most prestigious in the world.

If you are returning to Ezeiza from downtown, be sure to ride the 8 bus that says “AEROPUERTO” as there are several 8 buses that go to other places. The bus stops all along Mayo Avenue and then Rivadavia Avenue. It can take more than two hours to get to the airport from downtown (longer than the trip in from the airport), and the bus can get extremely crowded. If you are pressed for time or short on patience, it is highly recommended that you skip this bus and take a taxi or remise.

Money: if you have the time, shop around for the best rate at the zone known as “La city”. This zone is the banking district of Buenos Aires, and numerous exchange places are located right near one another. This mean fierce competition and options to check the best rates.

-La Cupertina is pretty delicious with the empanadas (near Cabrera), they’re baked not fried.


La Cabrera (DON’T go to its sister restaurant, wait for a table at the main one and ‘champagne’ given to those who wait, also you have to get the scrambled eggs on potatoes.. it’s delicious), El Disnivel, La Cabaña des Lilas in Puerto Madero, you’ll just have to do research on your own and figure it out 😉

In any cafe (you’ll probs want to go to Tortoni) make sure to try a ‘Lagrima’ – it means ‘tear/teardrop’ but it’s SO delicious and authentically Argentine. It’s usually never on the menu but everyone will know it. It’s mainly warm milk with a splash of coffee and it’s SO delicious. ❤

Ice Cream

    • Ar-kakao – 2 guys straight from Italy – high end, best in the city.  In Recoleta, corner of Recoleta and Quintana
    • Volta: Go to the one in Av del Libertador (in front of the Japanesse Garden)
    • Persicco (go to the one in “La Imprenta” a very nice neighborhood to take a walk in the afternoon) www.lavineriadegualteriobolivar.com/>
    • Freddo is good, my favorite is Altra Volta (if they still have it, the American Cookies is TDF) – there’s a great one in Belgrano by the park.


  • Argentines eat late – most places won’t open until 8pm, probably be dead until 10pm.  brunch will open at 11am or 12pm, lunch time is usually 1pm – 3pm.
  • Steakhouse and Italian are the most popular cuisines, though there are some good finds of other places (Spanish, Peruvian).  The Asian food is passable, but not fantastic in comparison to other places, even in Latam.
  • Make reservations for most of the restaurants, esp the fancier ones
  • Tip 10% of total food bill
  • A great Wine and food experience in a private home of 2 sommeliers: Casa Coupage http://www.guiaoleo.com.ar/detail.php?ID=3099>
  • Steakhouse: El Mirasol de la Recova (Recoleta), La Tranquera (Nuñez). El Mangrullo (Close to Ezeiza airport),

Wine Bars
Gran Danzón Bar (Downtown / Barrio Norte)

You can either go to a touristy show where you watch tango (quality is high, includes dinner) or go to a local milonga, to see how the locals do it and take a class.

Best touristy tango show is Señor Tango
Vieytes 1655 Barracas
Capital Federal , 1275
+54 11 43030231
Another good place is Esquina Homero Manzi (more traditional)

If you want to see a real milonga where young (and not so young) people go to dance tango:
La Viruta
La Catedral

Neighborhoods to hang out at Night:
Palermo Soho
Palermo Hollywood
Las Cañitas
San Telmo
Puerto Madero

Sights to see:
Casa Rosada: Argentine equivalent of the White House, except for the fact that for some reason it is pink.  Plaza de Mayo in front of the Casa Rosada is known for having large political rallies, and for the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, who congregate there on Thursday in remembrance of their ‘disappeared’ children (during the era of the military dictatorship in the 70s).

Obelisco and Av. Nueve de Julio: Worth snapping a shot of the obelisk, which stands in the middle of the widest boulevard in the world.

Teatro Colon: Is located on Nueve de Julio, and is one of the most famous opera houses in the world. It had been closed for the past two years, but reopened in May 2010 to celebrate Argentina’s bicentennial.

Getting out of the city:

You can spend a Country Day at the traditional “Estancia” (Ranch) Don Silvano. Reception in the typical building of the gaucho (we call it ¨rancho de adobe¨) with Empanadas (meat pies), wine and juice. Folkloric show of song and dance during the lunch (Traditional Argentine Grill, Of course). Rides in carriage, tractor and horse ridings. Show of Creole skills: Ring-races, horse mildness and troops Retail-trade. Tea Time with cooked mate; (boiled water) and sweet cakes with quince jelly.

You can take a boat to Colonia (in Uruguay) it is a great trip for one day you can find very affordable options here.
Also you should go to Caminito (in la Boca) this is good for the morning or the afternoon.

Half day trip to Tigre

train (50 min ride) or hotels have tours.

Day trip to Colonia in Uruguay (overnight camabus), in which case you must go to 1884 and Azafran.

Cortesy of Tania Ku, who recently traveled to Argentina in February of 2011


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