Our Half-Assed Guide to Buenos Aires

I spent just 9 days here, but I'm still going to tell you what to do.

We hadn’t planned on Visiting Buenos Aires anytime soon.

But Topher got a job that’s headquarted there and just one week later, we were landing in South America. I’m telling you this because frankly, we weren’t that impressed by Buenos Aires, and it might be because we didn’t plan anything or do any research beforehand. Before we went, the only thing we had to go on were grossly incorrect travel blogs (the shame!) and Madi’s super-biased stereotypes that she learned while living in Brazil.

But something that did impress us was the food! Oh the food. Let’s begin our guide there.

Where to Eat

La Carniceria

What to Order: The Smoked Ribs, a bottle of wine, a stuffed baked potato, and the Parrilla.

This was one of the best meals of my life. I would return to Buenos Aires just to eat here again. Growing up in Austin, Texas (the place that Anthony Bourdain says has the best barbeque in the entire world), I have strong opinions about barbecued meats. This place had, hands down, the best ribs I’ve ever eaten. EVER. There is no close second place. The steak was also out-of-this world, and we shared a delicious bottle of wine and pondered how altered our existences were now that we’d eaten a meal this fabulous. Wow. If you’re in BA, you must go here.

Artemisia Cocina Natural

What to Order: the plato del dia

I’m not a hippie, and I’d take a steak over anything labeled “cocina natural” any day. I only came here because the receptionist at our hotel urged me to and told me she’d ask how it was.

Turns out I need to eat hippie food more often! I was blown away by how flavorful everything was and came back many times. If these guys can make a tofu empanada taste delicious, rest assured you’re in good hands. Plus, the decor was adorable and made me feel like I was in Gwyneth Paltrow’s breakfast nook.

El Manto

What to Order: the daily menu

Armenian food. In Buenos Aires. Are you sure? Yes, we are! This place was a true gem and for $30/person we shared a bottle of wine and a four course meal that blew us away with it’s fresh, sumptuous flavors. There were some middle-eastern dishes we’ve tried in the past that we’ve both disliked but when had here stood out and were quite delicious.

Cachito Premium

What to Order: the choripan, the sanguche de lomo, or the cheddar fries

This place is a simple dive that serves up hot, delicious food and has friendly waitstaff. Expect no-frills and just enjoy an inexpensive, delicious lunch. Definitely try all three sauces they give you (there’s a chimichurri, a pico-de-gallo like sauce, and some yellow sauce that I have no idea what it was).

Sushi Dashi

ceviche mixto

What to Order: the ceviche mixto

Their ceviche mixto is out of this world. Enough said.

What to Do

“Is there anything you’d recommend that people do in Buenos Aires?” -Madi
“Eat the meat. And go to the restaurants. And get the wine.” -Topher
“So I have a section on what to eat. But I have another one on what to do. And I can’t think of anything to recommend.” -Madi
“Hahaha. Yeah…” -Topher

As far as the food goes, we were amazed. But when it comes to actual things to do in this city, we were bored and thought most of it was unremarkable. That being said, it was winter, it was freezing cold, we were bundled up in coats and scarves, and I’m sure there is an energy that we missed that is much more prominent in the summer. Everywhere we went was underwhelming, including the famous Obelisque, the Casa Rosada (SO underwhelming), their parks, and the national reserve by the ocean. There is only one thing I can recommend for you to do here (other than eat).

Cementerio de La Chacarita

I was out running when I ran into this cemetery and ended up walking through its gorgeous mausoleums for almost two hours. While it’s not the most famous cemetery in Buenos Aires, the architecture is just as beautiful, without the crowds of tourists and the folks selling to them. My morning in this cemetery was tranquil and a wondrous, with a new statue or building just around the corner, with a few meandering cats adding to the ambiance.

Where to Stay

We stayed in the Pallermo Hollywood district, which was clean, safe, and had nice bars and restaurants on every corner. We had a blast here and would recommend it to others. We were there on business and stayed at the Ilum Hotel and really enjoyed their friendly staff, the free breakfast, and the nice, tastefully decorated rooms. We would stay in this neighborhood again, and seeing as this is a half-assed guide, I’m going to recommend it and forsake all other neighborhoods except for Palermo Viejo, because it has La Carniceria and a bunch of other good restaurants as well.

Things to Pass Up

The Zoo

So funny story. We were trying to get to the Botanical Gardens and we accidentaly entered the zoo instead, because google maps lied and #foreignlanguageproblems. It wasn’t terrible, but nothing stood out and some of the exhibits made us worry for the animal’s welfare.

Anything Pizza

First off, they don’t put sauce on their pizza pretty much anywhere (I’ve noticed this all over South America as well). That being said, while in Brazil I still had some great pizza despite the no sauce thing. But here? Nope. The place we went to didn’t even use dough, instead putting their “pizza” (cheese, shredded egg like you’d find at a salad buffet, and sliced deli ham) on a giant cracker that was soggy and gross. I was surprised, as BA is supposed to have a very large concentration of Italian immigrants, and the pasta I had there was homemade and delicious.

That’s all I got, Folks!

Until the next half-assed guide from a girl who has no clue what is really going on in the country she visits, this is Madi signing off.