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San Telmo’s Market Hall

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Occupying a good chunk of the block sketched out by Estados Unidos, Defensa, Carlos Calvo and Bolivar, the Mercado de San Telmo is a place which locals and tourists visit in almost equal numbers. The latter to buy antiques and souvenirs, the former for their day-to-day groceries.

Telmo Dome

Since we precariously straddle the line between tourist and local, we use the mercado for both purposes. A number of veggie and meat stands compete for business in the center of the market, surrounded by antique shops that extend down long hallways. Prices for cool souvenirs, second-hand clothing and random trinkets are noticeably cheaper than at the Sunday antiques market. I picked up an old Carlos Gardel album for twelve pesos, and on that very day, saw the same album being sold for 60 outside.

The souvenir shops are a somewhat newer addition, capitalizing on San Telmo’s reputation as the best antiques hunting ground in the city, but the market has a history stretching back to 1897. It was inaugurated a couple decades after the Yellow Fever epidemic which devastated San Telmo, and the new center of commerce was greeted enthusiastically by residents. Ever since, the mercado has been an integral part of the neighborhood. In 2001, it was even declared a national historic monument.

When you go, take your wallet and take your time. It’s almost inconceivable that you’ll walk out without buying something. If you’re in the mood for meat, check out our favorite stand: Puesto 54. With incredible prices and friendly cleaver-wielding butchers always willing to explain the various cuts, it quickly became our go-to place for beef.

Mercado de San Telmo
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April 25, 2011 at 10:33 pm Comments (4)

Bellagamba – Rustic Eating in Caballito

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Buenos Aires is the kind of city with hidden treasures on every street. We were walking down Calle Gaona in Caballito, both of us grumpy with hunger, when we happened to pass by Bellagamba. Stepping inside, we discovered one of the coolest bodegas we’ve yet seen in the city.

Bodega Argentina

Hundreds of old photographs line the walls, along with bookshelves and ancient paintings. The interior was huge, and filled with dining booths and tables. In the back, a small terrace allowed for open air munching. A craftsman was occupying one of the terrace tables, refurbishing an old suitcase. But we hardly blinked: Bellagamba feels like the kind of place where there might be craftsmen around while you eat, refurbishing old suitcases.

The food is extremely casero: simple, cheap, and no-frills. We picked a couple plates from the ready-to-serve buffet, though you can also order things from the kitchen like milanesas and hamburgers. While we filled our bellies, and soaked in the atmosphere of the atmospheric bodega, our mutual grumpiness vanished. If you’re in the area, don’t hesitate to go in, even if just to have a look around.

Bellagamba
Gaona, Av. 1327
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April 20, 2011 at 10:20 pm Comments (0)
San Telmo's Market Hall
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