Word of Mouth: Buenos Aires

Tango, coffee and an ecological reserve in our guide to Argentina's wondrous capital city

An undeniable magnificence envelops Buenos Aires, Argentina. Beyond the amiable weather, there’s an energy buzzing through the South American city and its residents. Modern, cosmopolitan neighborhoods yield to historic pockets—announcing the many periods where the port city was a global trade destination. There’s an array of world-class architecture stretched across BA that calls attention to its diverse influences and periods. And, of course, the food is some of the best in the world. Both indoor and outdoor, day and night—from tango to a European-like nightlife scene—there’s something for everyone. A visit is generally only inhibited by its sheer distance from the Northern Hemisphere, but its merits are many. While in Argentina to tour the vineyards of Cheval des Andes, we spent time exploring the city under the guidance of Clément Le Coz who runs a cultural and social concierge service aimed at acclimating ex-pats. The following eight locations reflect the broad range of wonders the sexy city has to offer.

Bar Sur

No trip to Argentina is complete without immersion into the world of tango. Bar Sur is a standout destination for such an experience. It’s intimate, the hours extend beyond more traditional tango shows and it carries 45 years of history. This is a place where memories are made—and the food and drink delivers in the midst of it all. Estados Unidos 299

La Librería de Avila

La Librería de Avila has stood in the historic Monserrat neighborhood of Buenos Aires since 1785 (though the building itself was demolished and rebuilt in 1926). It’s the city’s oldest bookstore and a walk inside reveals the depths of influence Argentina has had on culture for centuries. It’s a charming place to shop or just browse the various oddities on hand. Adolfo Alsina 500

Coffee Town

More than a cafe featuring organic coffee, Coffee Town is a world-class parlor nestled inside of San Telmo’s historic market. A smattering of seating plays hosts to an international audience—and many locals who buy items from the surrounding stalls. All of the beans are fair trade, the baristas are experts and the vibe is welcoming and exciting. Bolívar 976


Of course, the meat in Buenos Aires might be among the best in the world. A perfect example of this can be found at Happening in Puerto Madero, where the menu consists of traditional Argentine fare and international cuisine. This is a gastronomic haven, and everything from the beef tenderloin to the burger delivers. Happening has a second (and original) location, dubbed Constanera Norte, with an even more diverse menu (including superb empanadas) but the Puerto Madero restaurant makes for a wonderful dinner spot thanks to a view of the river. Av Alicia Moreau de Justo 310

Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve

Sprawling across 350 hectares, the Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve plays host to the vast biodiversity present in South American wetlands. It’s a quick walk from the Puerto Madero neighborhood and falls along the Río de la Plata riverbank. Inside, visitors find a reprieve from the city, with winding trails and pauses for quiet moments. Birdwatchers can expect surprises, but anyone with an appreciation for nature will relish in the lagoon-laden reserve. Entrance in Puerto Madero

Faena Hotel+Universe

Long before the Faena Hotel made its grand debut in Miami, it was a staple in Buenos Aires. The Faena Hotel+Universe is housed in a 25,000 meter-squared brick grain warehouse from the early 1900s, reimagined by designer Philippe Starck as a chic, sexy destination. In addition to the 105 hotel rooms, the structure plays host to a somewhat iconic pool and a series of worthy cocktail bars and restaurants. Even if you aren’t planning on staying at the Faena, it’s worth a visit to catch the decor of the Library Bar or sip a cocktail outside. Martha Salotti 445

Restaurante Hierbabuena

On the charming, tree-laden Caseros street Hierbabuena is one of many delightful restaurant options. It’s set apart, however, by its impressive vegetarian menu (though, they also offer chicken and fish). The ingredients utilized are fresh and local and the dishes are modernized international classics. Best of all is their brunch, where sweet and savory meals (as well as the coffee) impress. There’s also outdoor seating and it’s only a few blocks from Lezama Park. Caseros 454

Paul French Gallery

In the rather posh neighborhood of Palermo Soho, Paul French Gallery—accessible down a long plant-adorned corridor—plays host to international art and design objects. Teas and wines are also sold on site. It’s a sensory wonderland filled with many beautiful interior design items, though everything from bikes to stationery can be found there. Gorriti 4865

Paul French Palermo image courtesy of Paul French Gallery, Happening image courtesy of Happening, all other images by David Graver