23 March 2011
Story by Claire Sullivan
Home to strapping polo players, intellectuals and grand Italian and French influenced architecture, what’s not to love?
With an economy that has taken a severe bashing over the past few decades one would think that the Argentinean city of Buenos Aires could be failing in the shadows of its troubled past. However, with the reputation of being home to “the most beautiful people in the world”, and the burgeoning art, architecture, fashion, food and wine scene, along with the continual strength of its new tourism based economy, Buenos Aires offers visitors an unsurpassed cultural extravaganza.
And with direct flights from Auckland to Buenos Aires several times per week on Argentina’s national airline Aerolineas, it’s a relatively painless journey getting there.
Once in Buenos Aires you are spoiled for choice. Here we expose the tip of the iceberg and give you a few places worth investigating on your next visit.
Where to Stay
Buenos Aires hotels have long had a reputation of being expensive, and while the whopping 21% room tax might be partly to blame, there is no doubt there are some hotels that will take you for a ride. B.A. does however do an excellent job of offering modern design savvy hotels at the affordable and the indulgent ends of the market.
Home, Honduras 5680, Palermo Hollywood, Buenos Aires
A boutique hotel on the cusp of the hip Palermo Hollywood district, Home is just that, a hotel that feels like home. The brainchild of English record producer Tom Rixton and his Argentinean wife Patricia, Home has everything you need to make your stay in BA enjoyable. Decent sized rooms, a cosy restaurant and bar, and a secluded garden complete with pool and cocktail bar.
Faena Hotel + Universe, Martha Salotti 45, Buenos Aires
Having long been on my hit list of places to stay since I published the first images of this Philippe Starck designed masterpiece back in 2004 when it first opened. Unlike many establishments of this ilk, the Faena still fulfills its objective of catering to the design savvy stylish crowd. Starck’s elaborate design is still awe-inspiring, and reason enough to justify the pricey room rates. And if you were in need of another excuse to stay here – the hot local action poolside should be enough to seal the deal.
Where to Indulge
With global record setting levels of beef consumption per capita, there is no doubt that steak houses are popular. Meat simply tastes better here, however we would caution you to choose your steak house wisely, not all deliver succulent delectable beef that the country is renowned for. This international city does however also offer up world class cuisine from other nations in keeping with its reputation as an exotic local.
Piegari, Posadas 1042, La Recova, Buenos Aires
In search of the perfect bovine experience we took the advice of a friend and headed to Piegari. Located just across the street from the Four Seasons Hotel, this is a serious establishment that caters to the very demanding tastes of the highfalutin tourists whom inhabit the nearby hotels. You will not be disappointed here, if it is quality, melt-in-your-mouth steak you are after Piegari delivers.
Osaka, Soler 5608, Palermo, Buenos Aires.
Whilst it may seem a little strange to rave about a Japanese restaurant in Argentina, Osaka is one place that deserves such attention. Considered by many to be one of the best restaurants in BA, Osaka is definitely worth a visit. And with a waiting list for a reservation we suggest you get in early. Osaka serves Peruvian Asian fusion food, which may take a little getting used to. On our visit we chose to let the waiter do the ordering, and he did not disappoint. With dishes like sea bass carpaccio topped with rows of pesto, chili, spicy mayo and olive oil, or salmon marinated in passion fruit syrup and lemon juice, sprinkled with watercress and wasabi it’s easy to see why the crowds flock here.
Green Bamboo, Costa Rica 5802, Palermo, Buenos Aires
Another Asian fusion restaurant that’s uber popular with stylish locals, Green Bamboo serves a tasty range of Asian/ Vietnamese fusion dishes such as dumplings, fresh spring rolls and a delicious duck curry. The bar has an excellent array of cocktails to accompany the spicy food – all the more reason why the locals love this place.
Oasis Clubhouse, Palermo, Buenos Aires
Designed as a venue for travelers who are renting luxury apartments from their vast selection, the Oasis Clubhouse is the perfect place to wile away an afternoon. Keep an eye out for their Sunday afternoon parties where the locals mix poolside with stylish visitors.