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buenos aires

Argentina, Blog, Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires: Where to find good coffee.

January 11, 2016

In a country where coffee is not the drink of choice (it’s all about Mate – a traditional tea), Buenos Aires has done well on the cafe front.  A lot of places are now actually serving really good coffee, and Argentines are starting to take their ‘coffee culture’ more seriously.  Palermo stays on the forefront of the cool cafes, but Recoleta and Barrio Central are not far behind.

These were my favourites:

  • Hub Porteno, Recoleta

    I know it’s a hotel, but I had my best coffee here in Buenos Aires, for breakfast.  Their restaurant Tarquino, which is meant to be really good, is open to the public.  So grab your chance and have lunch here, and finish off with one of their excellent coffees.  It helps that the china is oh so pretty.

Hub POrteno, Buenos Aires

  • Delicious Cafe, Recoleta.

    Simple, local, friendly.  There’s nothing fancy about this Recoleta favourite, where an expat told me that they served the best coffee in town.  Their Illy coffee was good, and their media lunes (‘half moons’ – similar to croissants) were brilliant too.  It’s super affordable and a good place to start the day if you’ve got limited time.

Delicious Cafe, BUenos Aires

  • Birkin.

    Palermo Botanico’s trendy hangout, which serves a delightful Flat White, even though they need to work on their service.  Brunch is meant to be good here too.

Birkin, Buenos Aires

  • Negro, Centro.

    With a coffee machine called ‘Aurelia’, it was hard not to like this place.  It has a very local vibe, with people coming in for casual business meetings, others grabbing a coffee and a sandwich on the go during their lunch break, friends enjoying an espresso and a pastry.  Service was good here for once, and they also do some great fresh mint and ginger lemonades.

Negro, Buenos Aires

  • Barrio Cafetero, Centro.

    This place is so tiny, and if you didn’t know about it, you’d completely miss it.  It’s not in the most touristy of areas, but those who value their coffee will be glad they found it.  The range of coffee on offer is wonderful, and the barista was very friendly and helpful.  Worth the de-tour and ideal for a take away.

Bario Cafetero, Buenos Aires

  • Natural Deli, Palermo.

    Buenos Aires is yet to fully catch on to the whole health craze which is taking Western Europe and America by storm, but the Natural Deli is one of those places which health junkies would appreciate.  Apart from nice interiors (don’t be put off from the outside) and a good buzz (though again, the service was lacking here), the menu has some really good options, including some lovely organic coffees.

Natural Deli. Buenos Aires

Other cafes apparently worth checking out are Felix Felices & Co and Full City Coffee House, both in Palermo (of course), and I walked past Luba Coffee Store which looked lovely too.

Argentina, Blog, Buenos Aires

Floreria Atlantico, Buenos Aires – DRINK

January 2, 2016

Before going to Argentina I asked a few friends who had spent a lot of time there for some tips.  I had a full schedule while in Buenos Aires (one highlight was definitely the Rojo Tango show at the fabulous Faena Hotel), but I knew I would have a few hours here and there to do some exploring.

I was sent a number of recommendations for BA, but one bar was recommended by all: Floreria Atlantico.  When I looked it up I saw it was voted 38th best bar in the world, and best bar in South America.  Curious, I went.  And loved it.

Floreria Atlantico, Buenos AiresFloreria Atlantico, BUenos Aires

If you didn’t know it was there, you’d walk straight past it.  The beauty is that it is hidden underneath a fully functioning flower shop (which is worth visiting too – absolutely stunning).  The bar contrasts hugely to the colourful shop above; its dimly lit, stark basement interiors give it an edge I love.  It is a narrow space, and the focal point is a long bar which runs the whole length of the bar, and where we grabbed two stools.  On the other side of the bar is an open kitchen, and we regretted not being able to stay for dinner, because for the food looked amazing.
Floreria Atlantico, Buenos Aires

I was pleased that despite my non-Latino friends recommending the bar (to be fair, they are not your standard ‘tourists’), the bar was mainly filled with locals.  I’d recommend going early (for Latino standards) because it’s a popular place and we were lucky to get a seat when we arrived at around 8ish.

Floreria Atlantico, Buenos AiresFloreria Atlantico, BUenos Aires

We enjoyed our glasses of house wine and wished we could have stayed for a cocktail, but there was more to discover of beautiful Buenos Aires…

Floreria Atlantico

Arroyo 872, Cdad.

Buenos Aires

Photo credit: Floreria Atlantico

Argentina, Blog, Buenos Aires

Birkin, Buenos Aires – For a trendy breakfast in Palermo Botanico

December 27, 2015
Birkin, Buenos Aires
Palermo is known as Buenos Aires’ trendiest area.  But it’s quite vast, and divided into sub areas within it: Palermo Soho, Palermo Hollywood, Palermo Viejo – but it seems like the quieter and less touristic Palermo Botanico (on the edge and close to the zoo and the botanical gardens) is now very much on the up.  Birkin is a recommended cafe here, which is very popular with the locals but not yet with tourists.  Ideal.
But let’s start with what I didn’t like: the service. I was pretty much ignored for the first 10 minutes I was there. I found a table close to the front, and admired the interiors: the geometrical pattern on the floor, the designer lighting by the bar, the well used newspaper stand. There are tables outside too.  But this didn’t take away from the fact that I had to do my utmost to order a flat white (and later to get the bill – no tip for them!).
Birkin, Buenos Aires
Which quickly leads me on to the positives. The coffee was delicious. And the rest of the menu looked right up my street (though I’d just had a huge brunch at L’Orangerie at the Alvear Palace, so I couldn’t eat anymore food).  As mentioned previously, I also loved the interiors, and there was a lovely vibe – lots of locals; families, friends and couples all enjoying a relaxing Sunday morning.
Birkin, Buenos Aires
So if you’re in the area, be sure to stop by for a coffee. Or scrambled eggs with spinach.  And hopefully the staff will be more helpful than they were to me.
Birkin Coffee Bar
República Arabe Siria 3061
Palermo Botanico
Buenos Aires
Argentina, Blog, Buenos Aires

L’Orangerie, Buenos Aires – For the ultimate Sunday Brunch

December 27, 2015
L'Orangerie, Alvear Palace

You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to brunch in Buenos Aires. Palermo Soho and Hollywood are often seen as the trendiest areas to be for brunch, though Palermo Botanico has had a sudden surge in popularity (with places like Birkin heaving on the weekend).

If you’re in Recoleta however, there’s one place you must go for the brunch of all brunches.  L’Orangerie in the five star Alvear Palace (the ‘Grand Dame’ of Buenos Aires) offers both guests and non-guest the ultimate Sunday feast.  I’ve seen quite a few buffet breakfasts in my life, but none quite as opulent and mouthwatering as the one at L’Orangerie.

L'Orangerie, Alvear Palace

After a late Saturday night out in BA – which is usually unavoidable – the buffet is a table of your dreams.  It has everything and anything you may want.  All kinds of eggs, bacon, sausages, smoked salmon.  The cappuccino will help cure the worst of hangovers, as will the constant topping up of freshly squeezed orange juice.

L'Orangerie, Alvear Palace

I am a sucker for anything sweet, so the rows of cakes, trays of pastries and delicate puddings, meant that I found myself just staring at the vast array of choice for quite some time.  They were all so beautifully presented you didn’t want to touch a thing.  But I made sure I tried a selection, which certainly did not disappoint.

L'Orangerie, Alvear Palace

The Alvear Palace itself is somewhat of an institution in Buenos Aires.  It is the iconic five star hotel, one of the original five star hotels where all the royals,presidents and celebrities used to (and some still do) stay.  While newer, and more contemporary five star hotels are cropping up in the city (Park Hyatt, Four Seasons), and while the grand and traditional style may not be to everyone’s tastes (it can be seen as a bit stuffy), I would still highly recommend it for its Sunday Brunch or Afternoon Tea.

L'Orangerie, Alvear Palace Having said that the bed I slept in was one of the most comfortable I slept in during my travels in Argentina.  And the service was impeccable.  So, if you’ve got the budget – try staying here on the Saturday night, so you can enjoy a luxurious night here as well as an unforgettable brunch the next day.

L’Orangerie

Alvear Palace

Avenue Alvear 1891

Buenos Aires

Photo credit: Alvear Palace

Argentina, Blog

Negro. Cueva de Cafe, Buenos Aires – DRINK

November 11, 2015
Negro, Buenos Aires

Argentina is not known for its coffee, and during my trip through the country I did observe that the coffee was not quite up to the European standard. But Buenos Aires is different.  Apparently especially in the past few years the cafe scene has changed quite substantially, with lots of independent, quirky cafes cropping up which – most importantly – serve good coffee.

Negro, Buenos Aires
Negro is one of them, a caffeine triumph.  Located in central Buenos Aires, close to the famous Obelisk on Plaza de la República and the charming Plaza San Martin, this is slightly away from the touristy areas and as local as it gets. The interiors are all exposed brickwork, a bustling bar, and industrial-style lighting.  Locals come in to grab a take away coffee, others come in for their lunch break or even for a business meeting, and many just have a quick espresso and a croissant and then depart.  The coffee is excellent – and their coffee machine was branded Aurelia – so I liked it instantly. It’s a place you could easily expect in Soho (London).

Negro, Buenos AiresNegro, Buenos Aires
But almost the best thing were the people. Having stopped by quite a few cafes, I had found some staff to be quite unfriendly, or indifferent. Here it was the contrary, the staff were wonderful.  Helpful, curious, patient. As a solo blogger-tourist, I felt completely at ease here.

Negro, Buenos AiresNegro, Buenos Aires

Apart from a strong shot of espresso, I opted for their ginger lemonade and it was delicious. Refreshing and not too sweet – just what I needed after a morning of walking through the streets of Buenos Aires in the sun.

If you’re hungry then try 180 Burger Bar down the road, meant to be pretty good too.

Negro

Suipacha 637

Buenos Aires

Photo Credit: Negro

Argentina, Blog

Pony Line Lounge at the Four Seasons, Buenos Aires – DRINK

November 10, 2015
Pony Line Lounge, Four Seasons

If you’re looking for the hang out to see and be seen, then make a bee line for the Pony Line Lounge at the newly renovated Four Seasons.

Expect the style to be clearly reflecting its name: yes, the horsey theme is apparent, but no, it’s not naff.  And anyway, this is Argentina, where horses and Polo are a big deal. A big, glamorous deal.  And so I love the booths which are meant to be old stables, and the tan chests doubling as tables.  Yet it has a modern, polished feel, and it’s understandable that this hotel bar attracts all the trendy locals.

Pony Line Lounge, Four SeasonsPony Line Lounge, Four Seasons

The drinks menu varies from my favourite vodka drinks to more elaborate, original cocktails.  If you get peckish they also offer a casual dining menu – apparently their burgers are fantastic.  If you’re looking for more serious food however, try Elena next door.  I had one of the best steaks ever there (and their cheese soufflé and truffle mash was incredible too).

Pony Line Lounge, Four Seasons

Apart from their F&B, the Four Seasons was one of the best hotels I saw in BA.  The horse theme continues throughout (apart from the in Mansion, which maintains its more traditional interiors).  But all the rooms are wonderfully light and spacious. And the outdoor pool is a real (rare) treat considering it can get well over 30 degrees in the summer months.

Pony Line Lounge, Four SeasonsPony Line Lounge, Four SeasonsPony Line Lounge, Four Seasons

Yes, chain hotels are perhaps not where you want to hang out a lot in a new city, but the Four Seasons offers a very special, Argentine experience – well worth your time.

Pony Line Lounge

Four Seasons

Posadas 1086/88,

C1011ABB Buenos Aires

Argentina, Blog

Hub Porteno, Buenos Aires – STAY

November 10, 2015
Hub Porteno, Buenos Aires

The Recoleta district in Buenos Aires is where you’ll find the majority of the city’s top hotels.  One of the wealthiest areas of Buenes Aires and a big tourist hub (mainly because of the famous Recoleta Cemetry), it’s where you’ll see many ‘chateaux’ built in the late 19th Century, imitating the French palaces.  Many of these palaces have been turned into five star hotels like the Park Hyatt (Palacio Duhau) and the Four Seasons.  But amongst the five star chains, you’ll also find the smaller, more characterful boutique hotels, like Hub Porteno.

Located round the corner from the Park Hyatt, and walking distance to Recoleta cemetery, you’ll find the 10-room Hub Porteno.

All the rooms are remarkably spacious – the Queen Twin room we had was massive, and the two ‘twin’ beds were actually like small doubles.  The complimentary amenities are worth mentioning: Nespresso machines in the room, snacks, lovely bath products and afternoon tea served at 4pm with apple cake.   What really stood out for me was the bathrooms – practically the size of the bedrooms, you can expect a lot of glass, marble and metal.  I had the best power shower ever there.

Hub Porteno, Buenos AiresHub Porteno, Buenos AiresHub Porteno, Buenos AiresHub Porteno, Buenos Aires

I found the ‘living room’ (which also doubles up as a library) a little bland, it’s strange since while the interiors are all creams and whites, it felt quite dark dark due to a lack of natural light.  Still, all is forgiven when you reach their 4th floor roof terrace; an expansive green space, with comfortable seating and it does feel, as they say, like an oasis in the middle of the city.

Hub Porteno, Buenos AiresHub Porteno, Buenos Aires

For those looking for a bit more action, then their small gym is actually perfect for a quick work out, and they also have a spa and sauna if you want some pampering.

I didn’t get to try their restaurant, but I did have a (rushed – sadly) breakfast there, and it was truly superb.  The coffee was the best I had in Argentina, and their china so beautiful.  The croissants were freshly made, and I managed to enjoy some eggs and bacon too (if you put your mind to it it’s amazing what you can eat in 10 minutes!).

Hub Porteno, Buenos AiresHub Porteno, Buenos Aires

And finally, the service was wonderful – so helpful, so personal and very warm and welcoming.  It definitely made my experience in Buenos Aires.

Hub Porteno

Rodríguez Peña 1967,

Buenos Aires

Photo credit: Hub Porteno

Instagram shot: mine

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