Where to stay and eat in Buenos Aires
The complete guide to the best hotels and restaurants of "Paris of South America"...
Fierro Hotel, Palermo Hollywood
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Located in the trendy Palermo Hollywood district abuzz with bars, cafes and charming independent shops, is the cool and refined Fierro Hotel. With its striking modern design consisting of provocative red accents and sleek glass elements, it’s a building full of character and flair.
The rooms are incredibly spacious, tastefully decorated and thoughtfully equipped with everything you might need, including—our favourite—little wine coolers in case you find yourself in need of a glass of chilled wine without leaving the comfort of your room.
When you have a moment, you can enjoy the heated rooftop pool with scenic views as well as a cosy sauna and a nearby gym in case you feel like stretching your muscles in the morning.
But one of the most amazing things about Fierro Hotel is their dedicated emphasis on exceptional food. The cooked-to-order breakfast selection is exciting and inspired, be it an Irish breakfast with a twist or fantastically fluffy pancakes, with the chef’s special changing on a daily basis. Everything is homemade here, whether it’s the light-as-air croissants or the succulent meat, cured on the premises. On a warm day, take your breakfast in Fierro’s idyllic little garden among their patches of home-grown herbs and enjoy the sunshine—it doesn’t get better than this.
Best for: holidaying in style, exceptional cooking, sultry atmosphere
Mine Hotel, Palermo Soho
A little slice of chic luxury in the stylish bohemian district of Palermo, Mine Hotel is a decadent delight. Featuring quirky designer furniture, elaborate textiles, natural materials and glorious aromas, this place is a feast for all senses, that’s nevertheless not devoid of a homey, welcoming feeling.
With only 20 rooms in this charming boutique hotel, you can expect highly personalised, exceptional service and great attention to detail. And though the actual rooms might be a tad humbler than the striking, take-your-breath-away reception and garden/swimming pool area, it remains a cosy, comfortable and stylish place that’s perfect for a quirky, avant-garde getaway. Make sure you try the traditional Argentinian mate for breakfast—they’re more than happy to instruct you on how to enjoy it if you’re new to this classic South American drink.
Best for: arty getaways, Instagrammable interiors and cocktails by the swimming pool
Algodon Mansion, Recoleta
A lavish little jewel hidden within the lush, green streets of the upscale Recoleta district, Algodon Mansion is dream accommodation awash in elegance and class, just a stone’s throw away of the iconic Recoleta Cemetery and the National Gallery of Fine Arts.
From the moment you step through the grand gate and into the white marble foyer, you know you’re in good hands. You’ll be welcomed by the incredibly professional, kind and attentive staff who will go out of their way to help you get the most out of your stay, whether it’s directing you to the nearest bureau de exchange or pointing you to the best choripan in town, their finger is always placed firmly on the pulse of the city.
After you’re done sightseeing for the day, you can relax in one of their luxuriously spacious suites boasting state-of-the-art bathrooms and ridiculously comfy beds, enjoy a moment of self indulgence with a facial or a massage at the spa or just wind down with a glass of sumptuous Bonarda (produced in their very own vineyards!) in the elegant downstairs lounge to the sounds of Miles Davis. Pure bliss!
Best for: special occasions, a touch of self-indulgence and fantastic wine
Hilton Buenos Aires, Puerto Madero
If you’re after an unforgettable holiday experience at one of the grandest hotels imaginable, Hilton Buenos Aires is the place to be. State of the art architecture, the finest, most original décor, as well as amazing food and wine make staying here incomparable to anywhere else.
The hotel is an entire universe of its own, where everything just screams “big”. Several futuristic glass lifts whizz up and down in between the massive hanging wicker basket-like decorations, lit by the flickering light of the central cocktail bar.
The rooms are spacious and high-ceilinged, featuring enormous king-sized beds, and offering skyline views of the upscale harborside of Puerto Madero as well as nearby swimming pools and greenery which look stunning at night-time. There’s also an extensive, well-equipped gym and a swimming pool with a handy cocktail bar where you can sip on a killer caipirinha while lounging in the sun.
If you need help finding the best tango show in town or make a dinner reservation at a trendy restaurant, the friendly staff here is ready to assist you in any way you need.
Best for: the "wow" factor, stunning views, poolside cocktails in the sun
Palo Santo Hotel, Palermo
It’s easy to forget that you’re at a hotel when you’re staying at Palo Santo. Though it’s situated in the bustling Palermo Hollywood neighbourhood, this impressive building is overflowing with gorgeous greenery wherever you look.
Perhaps one of the most unique hotels in Buenos Aires, Palo Santo combines urban structures with natural accents such as water features and plants that densely populate the entire building.
One of Palo Santo’s most impressive features, however, is its strong stance on protecting the environment. From energy-efficient light bulbs to drip irrigation via the 900 perennial plants ensuring CO2 absorption, these guys take their green action seriously.
And then there’s the stunning design. Whether you’re having a glass of wine in the magical, jungle-like garden by the central water wall, or just relaxing on the balcony with a morning cup of coffee, you won’t want to leave this little garden of Eden.
Best for: special occasions, eco-friendly holidays, couple’s holidays
Eat & drink at...
Ask anyone in Buenos Aires what the best parrilla (a traditional “grill” restaurant) is and they’ll undoubtedly point you towards Don Julio. This meat-eater Mecca is somewhat legendary, with people from all around the world flocking to Argentina just to try Don Julio’s fabled steak. Therefore, it’s advised to book a table weeks in advance or come and queue at least half an hour before the restaurant opens (though you’ll be treated to a free glass of sparkling wine and an empanada while you wait to sweeten the deal).
So what’s the big fuss about? Well, it’s only the best steak you’ll try in your life. Sample the juicy T-bone or the tender sirloin, order it medium rare, splash out on a nice bottle of Malbec, pile on the chimichurri (a traditional Argentine sauce made of parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, oregano and red wine vinegar) and dig in. The hype is justified; the cuts are massive, cooked to perfection, crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside—you're in for a feast.
Best for: breath-taking steak, special occasions, traditional Argentine cuisine
While steak might be the signature dish of Buenos Aires, there are several other delectable meat staples that the city has to offer. One of them is a burger at the hip and colourful eatery called Burger Joint located in the heart of the trendy Palermo district. With reggae music blasting out of speakers, friendly and laid back service cracking jokes and talking all things burgers, and the colourful graffiti covering every inch of every wall, it’s one cool and relaxed hangout.
The portions are incredibly generous and there’s a wide range of burger variations to choose from on the menu. Our favourites were the "Spicy Mexican" for a bit of heat or the indulgent "420" with brie and pancetta. Don’t forget to wash it all down with a crisp blonde beer.
Best for: dirty burgers, relaxed atmosphere, friendly service
Going to Buenos Aires and not trying a traditional choripan would be like going to Italy without trying the pizza or France without sampling the cheese and wine. And if there’s one place that does it right in the city, it’s Nuestra Parrilla. The famous spicy chorizo sandwich they pride themselves in is the closest to the culinary equivalent of a religious experience you'll ever get. Comfortably tucked in a fresh, soft baguette is the tender and flavoursome sausage dripping with juicy fat—a complete show-stopper.
Make sure you pile on lashings of chimichurri and red sauce, and tuck in—you’ll remember this meal for years!
Best for: cheap eats, authentic flavours, street food
UCO is one of those restaurants where, as soon as you take the first bite, you know that whoever designed it is obsessed with food. The dishes in this stylish but low-key joint are crafted with imagination and flair, pairing vastly different flavours and textures that’ll thrill and surprise your palate.
It's hard to play favourites when the menu is as consistently excellent as this one, but if we had to pick, we'd go with the piquant ceviche which marries the pungent flavours of leche de tigre with the sweetness of fried plantains; or the exciting charcuterie tasting board which includes such delicacies as veal tongue with chimichurri, rabbit pate with sliced almonds or pork terrine with homemade mustard.
Best for: date nights, adventurous flavours, wine tasting
Boca a Boca
This grungy cerveceria may not look like much at first glance with its stark industrial design and dimly-lit rooms, but just wait till you get upstairs and discover the rooftop terrace. Looking out onto the iconic Recoleta Cemetery with its gorgeous mausoleums, embellished with grand sculptures of angels, saints and cherubs, Boca offers one spectacular panorama to enjoy your tipple to.
Come in before dinner to catch the happy hour, order a cold beer from their jaw-droppingly extensive menu and admire the view in the warm sunshine of the golden hour to the sound of rock staples from the Stones and Led Zeppelin.
Best for: great beer, lively atmosphere, a rocking soundtrack
Sick and tired of traditional sushi flavours that seem exactly the same wherever you go? The trendy Asian fusion restaurant Namida might just be the place for you. Blending traditional Japanese flavours with Argentine cuisine influences, it's sushi like you’ve never had it before. Big flavours come here in dainty forms, including such unusual sushi ingredients as quail eggs, bone marrow and Philadelphia cheese.
Our personal favourites include the fiercely pungent ceviche and the dreamy Shoganai—a heavenly sweet and savoury mix of Philadelphia cheese, jalapeno jam and fresh salmon wrapped tightly in a crunchy fried coating—inspired to say the least.
Best for: special occasions, unusual dishes, romantic dinners
Once you feel like you’ve eaten all the meat Buenos Aires has to offer and are looking for something a bit different to mix it up, Guerrin is the perfect option. This no-frills, Italian-style diner with pictures of celebrity guests proudly hanging on the wall, serves traditional Argentine pizza and is a somewhat iconic hangout among the locals.
A distant cousin of a New York deep pan slice, it’s an incredibly generous, satisfyingly cheesy and hearty meal that costs pennies. The two or three toppings of your choice come piled on in copious amounts on top of the deep, pillow-soft dough enveloped in a scrumptious crust.
And if you still have room for dessert afterwards, their pies are simply to die for.
Best for: cheap eats, filling meals, great desserts
Stepping into Recoleta’s Oviedo restaurant, you might feel like you’ve travelled back in time. Featuring an austere but elegant décor consisting of walls lined with artwork, pristine-white tablecloths and a highly conspicuous lack of music, Oviedo might seem a tad serious and daunting, but don’t be fooled.
It’s fine dining at its most unpretentious, where the friendly waiters are happy to navigate you through the enormous wine list, and prices are more than reasonable for the quality you get.
While our mains were beautifully presented and generously portioned (a toothsome Patagonia lamb and a hearty spaghetti Bolognese) it was our entrees that stole the show. Make sure you try the rich and deliciously fresh ceviche or the decadent baked camembert with sweet tomato marmalade.
Best for: fine dining, wine tasting, fresh seafood
Whether you’re looking to make some new friends during your holiday, or just a reason to wear an outrageous dress, Bar Isabel is the place to be.
Known for its killer cocktails and flashy crowd, it’s certainly a place to see and be seen in. Make sure you put on your best outfit (the bouncers can be picky), order your favourite cocktail (we were particularly fond of the creamy coffee Martini!) and mingle with the eclectic but highly approachable clientele.
Best for: partying till the early hours, great cocktails, dancing
And if you’re feeling a bit rough the morning after, why not take a stroll to Tea Connection? A homey café with several locations around Buenos Aires, it’s the perfect place for a late, lazy breakfast that’ll set a great tone for the rest of your day. Tea Connection put an emphasis on healthy, vegetarian dishes as well as an extensive selection of teas, coffees and fruit-infused water—perfect if you’re in need of a bit of a detox.
We tried the dreamy waffles with fresh fruit and chocolate mousse followed by a rich macha cake that’s the perfect combination of sweetness and umami—don’t leave without trying it.
Best for: healthy smoothies, hangover breakfast, great cakes