Argentina · Dining · Uncategorized

Two Days in Buenos Aires

We are back from our 10 day vacation in Argentina and have tons of photos to share.  We started the trip with an overnight flight from Dallas, Texas to Buenos Aires on American Airlines.  We used miles for business class tickets and it was worth it for the 11 hour flight.  We arrived at the International airport, which is about an hour outside of the city center and the local agency had someone meet us at the airport for our transfer to our hotel, Legado Mitico, which is located in the very chic Palermo Soho neighborhood.

Looooong flight from Dallas to BA

We really loved the small boutique hotel (less than 15 rooms) and the Palermo Soho neighborhood is full of shops, restaurants, cafes and bars.  We spent our first day walking around the neighborhood and getting our bearings and then took an afternoon nap as we were wiped out from the long flight.  Palermo Soho also has lots of street art and murals decorating the buildings and there are many outdoor bars and cafes so it has a young, urban feel.

Palermo Murals
Graffiti in Palermo

We had a wonderful steak dinner at Don Julio, which is also located in Palermo and was only a 5 minute walk from our hotel but that’s described in more detail below.  Our second (and last) day in Buenos Aires, we took an uber to the famous Recoleta Cemetery and walked around it for an hour or so.  It’s a very unusual cemetery as all of the graves are above ground crypts and some are very ornately decorated.  The weirdest part is that you can see inside almost all of the crypts so you can actually see the coffins and urns containing ashes, which is a little macabre.  Also, some even had photos of the people sitting on top of the coffins so you know “who’s inside.”  There are many famous Argentines buried here, including Eva “Evita” Peron and many past presidents and military generals.

Recoleta Cemetery – like a mini city of the dead
Statues in Cemetery
Ornate Crypts
Crypt of Evita (Eva Peron)
So creepy that you can see inside all of the crypts and see the coffins

After Recoleta we walked over to the Retiro neighborhood, which is mostly a business district but has some beautiful buildings.  We then popped into the Four Seasons Hotel for lunch, which was lovely.  To be honest, we weren’t blown away by Buenos Aires and it just seemed like your average big city to us and was very crowded.  I’ll also note that traffic in Buenos Aires is really bad because most of the streets are one-way so drivers frequently have to make the block or drive out the way and circle back to get to places.  It’s very inefficient and it takes forever to go short distances.  On the plus side, taxis and ubers are prevalent and dirt cheap.  Our 30 minute uber ride from our hotel to Recoleta was pnly $2.50 USD.  We couldn’t believe that.  To be fair, we didn’t have enough time to make it to some of the “cool” neighborhoods like La Boca or San Telmo so perhaps we just didn’t give ourselves enough time to really appreciate Buenos Aires.  I did love that they have large trees planted all along every street so there is lots of greenery everywhere you go and all the sidewalks are shaded.

One of my favorite meals of the trip was our first night dinner at Don Julio in Palermo.  Don Julio is one of the most parillas, or steakhouses, in Buenos Aires and it did not disappoint.  I made a reservation about 45 days in advance on their website for dinner at 8:00pm, which is pretty early by Buenos Aires time.  However, the restaurant was packed when we arrived and there was a line out the door.  If you don’t have a reservation, you can put your name on the list and they give you free champagne and mini empanadas while you wait.

Exterior of Don Julio

We started with their meat empanadas and don’t come here without ordering these!  They were incredible and had the most delicious, savory meat filling.  I’ll go ahead and say spoiler alert because these ended up being the best empanadas that we had the entire trip and I ate a lot of empanadas during the 10 days.

Empanadas at Don Julio
I was in heaven with these empanadas

We then ordered a small pork sausage just to try it and I had the smallest size ribeye that I could get and Steve tried the beef ribs.  We also got a side of their herbed mashed potatoes.  Everything was delicious and perfectly cooked.  Coming from Texas, we get fantastic steak where we live and I will say that the steak at Don Julio’s was just as good.

This is the “small” ribeye.  I barely made a dent in it
Chefs downstairs at the open kitchen and grill – look at the size of the steaks
Super busy dining room at Don Julio – I could barely get a picture b/c it was so crowded
We tried but could barely finish half our food
Yes, that is butter on top.  So good

So, my overall impressions of Buenos Aires?  Meh.  It’s a nice, cosmopolitan city with lots of parks and green spaces and some fun neighborhoods but it just wasn’t all that compelling to me in the way that Paris, Rome, London or Madrid are.  Maybe my expectations were too high.  That being said, we did enjoy our time here and I highly recommend staying in the Palermo Soho neighborhood at a boutique hotel like we did.  Some of the larger chain hotels (Park Hyatt and Four Seasons) are lovely but they are located in more antispetic business areas of the city, which I think is kind of boring.

After our 2 days in Buenos Aires, we hopped a short 1.5 hour flight to Iguazu to see the world’s largest waterfalls and experience the rainforest.  Stay tuned for some incredible pictures of that next!

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