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Bar (Notable) Hopping

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The city tourism board’s initiative to honor a set of sixty bars and cafés as bares notables provided us with a cheat sheet of places to hit up. Buenos Aires has a historically strong café scene, so the competition to end up on the list must have been fierce, and those who won a spot should be the crême de la crême. Every once in awhile, we would just randomly pick out a few and go “bar notable” hopping.

Clásica y Moderna, Recoleta
Clasica y Moderna

Argentinians love reading almost as much as coffee, and the restaurant/bar Clásica y Moderna has decided to capitalize on both. Past the main salon, patrons of the bar can visit a small but well-stocked bookshop. Sounds weird, but somehow it fits perfectly. With its huge glass windows, the book store blends in seamlessly with the rest of the bar’s decor.
Clásica y Moderna
Av. Callao 892
Location on our Buenos Aires Map

La Giralda, San Nicolás
La Giralda

More a chocolatería than a bar, La Giralda is heralded for having the best churros in the city. Found between bookshops on Calle Corrientes, this relaxed, brightly lit café has been a favorite hangout of intellectuals since it opened in 1970. We loved its tiled floors and marble tables, and the fact that six waiters were running around taking care of guests, where one would have done quite nicely. We were on our way to dinner, and weren’t in the mood for churros and chocolate, but we did try one of their heavenly alfajors. A neat place.

La Giralda
Av. Corrientes 1453
Location on our Buenos Aires Map

Bar Oviedo, Mataderos
Bar Oviedo

Of course we were gonna go to Bar Oviedo! After all, we initiated our For 91 Days travel project in Oviedo, Spain. We were there on a rainy Sunday when the Feria de Mataderos had been cancelled, so no one was in the best spirits. I asked the waitress about the connection to the Spanish city. “I don’t know. It’s just the bar’s name”. And when it came time to order, I tried about twenty things on the menu. “Out of that. Sorry. Nope, none of that either”. I settled on a sandwich of dry bread with a single piece of cured ham inside. Oviedo has some charm, but you really have to search for it.

Bar Oviedo
Av. Lisandro de la Torre 2407
Location on our Buenos Aires Map

Cool Gang
Notable Buenos Aires
Book Bar Buenos Aires
Milk Bar Buenos aires
Bar Notable
Sidra Argentina
Bares Notables
Beer Bar
Sandwich Buenos Aiers
Alfajores
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May 6, 2011 at 12:17 pm Comments (0)

Kentucky Pizza

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Pizza Stones – Do you really need them?

It took us awhile, but we finally made it to Kentucky Pizza, one of the most famous pizzerias in the city. People seem to either love or hate this place. One acquaintance told us it was absolutely the worst pizza around. Meh, we don’t agree. But the main reason I wanted to go had nothing to do with pizza. My parents live in Kentucky, and I thought it would be funny to get a picture for them.

Kentucky Pizzeria

Kentucky is known for a lot of things: bluegrass music, horse racing, whiskey, tobacco fields. But pizza is not among them. I’m not sure why the founders chose the name “Kentucky” for their restaurant. Possibly, they hailed from the States, or it could have been an attempt to evoke the idea of the USA. Back in 1946 when Kentucky Pizza was established, the US was still the really cool country everyone else wanted to be!

Their logo is a racehorse, but it should be a fat man clutching his heart. Kentucky serves up classic Argentine pizza at its greasiest, cheesiest best. We ordered a fugazza and spinach pizzas, and left happy and full. Kentucky is famous for being open all night long, and is a favorite spot for hungry party kids looking for cheap drunk-food at 4am. But at any hour, if you’re looking for a good porteño-style pizza that’s easy on the wallet, don’t hesitate to go in.

Kentucky Pizza
Santa Fe, Av. 4602
The Art of Making Pizza

Location on our Buenos Aires Map
Tel: 4773-7869

Pizza Menu
Pizza Oven
Pizzeria Buenos Aires
Free Pizza
Kentucky Buenos Aires
Kentucky Pizza
Horse Whiskey
Kentucky Buenos Aires
Pizza Boys
Pizza Addiction
Pizza Buenos Aires
Fugazzetta
Classic Pizzeria
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May 3, 2011 at 9:33 pm Comment (1)

Going to the Movies – Buenos Aires Cinema Guide

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Buenos Aires has a booming film industry, so it’s unsurprising that there are a number of awesome cinemas in the city. Here are a few that we’ve visited during our time in the capital.

Movie Theater Buenos Aires
Teatro Premier

Showing a wide range of films from Europe, the US and Argentina, the Premier Theatre is one of the most classic cinemas in Buenos Aires. Found in the theater district on Av. Corrientes, the concave art-deco facade from 1944 is definitely a standout, with its laurel-bearing statues standing guard. When we visited, the facade was unfortunately covered by scaffolding and advertising, but no bother: the cheap tickets made up it.

Location on our Buenos Aires Map
We saw: Baarìa

Cine Gaumont

Found on Plaza del Congreso, the Cine Gaumont is run by INCAA — the National Institute of Cinema and Audiovisual Arts — and only shows newer Argentine movies. It was built just a couple years after the Premier, and enjoys a similar, classic feel. If you’re in the mood for a little Spanish practice, this is a great place to see the best films that Argentine cinema has to offer.

Location on our Buenos Aires Map
We saw: Sin Retorno

Cinemark – Puerto Madero

Art-house, schmart-house, give me some Hollywood blockbusters! When you’re in that mood, you can head down to Puerto Madero for the modern Cinemark theater. Here, eight screens (including 3D) show brand new films in original language, with Spanish subtitles. They run a lot of specials; we took advantage of a 2 for 1 summer special, making the cost of entry about US $3.50 apiece. Not bad.

Location on our Buenos Aires Map
We saw: True Grit

Lorca

Smack dab in the middle of the theater district on Corrientes, the Lorca feels like the kind of cinema your groovy parents probably went to back in the 70s. Everything about this place screams retro, from the crazy brown color scheme to the carpets, and the somewhat outdated projector. Right next to the Uruguay Subte stop, the Lorca is easy to reach, and features new releases. Though, classic films like Shaft would feel more appropriate.

Location on our Buenos Aires Map
We saw: Winter’s Bone

La Ventana Indiscreta

La Ventana Indiscreta Bar Cultural — named after the Spanish translation for Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window — is a cool little club which plays a single film a week, always something classic; always something that you should have seen as a self-respecting cinema geek, but haven’t yet. Even when movies aren’t being shown, it’s a cool bar to hang out in and, with the University of Cinema so nearby, always populated with hip young porteños.

Location on our Buenos Aires Map
We saw: Le Beau Serge

Cine Lorca
Tetro Premier
Fancy Movie
Cine Art
Old Movie Theater
Movie Knights
Criticker Buenos Aires
Movie Kino
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May 1, 2011 at 8:32 pm Comments (2)

Café Tortoni

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Buenos Aires Travel Guides

Buenos Aires’ oldest and most famous coffee shop is Café Tortoni, just a few blocks west of the Plaza de Mayo. A gorgeous space which has been serving porteños since 1858, the café is usually toward the top of everyone’s “must-see” list. For good reason.

Reading the Menu

The oft-photographed Parisian-font logo above the front door betrays the café’s origins. Tortoni was founded in 1857 by a French immigrant, who named it after his favorite coffee shop in Paris. It quickly gained a foothold among the people of Buenos Aires, and was the first of many cafés that would sprout up around the city toward the end of the 19th century. A host of famous people have been patrons, from Borges and Federico García Lorca, to Albert Einstein and Hillary Clinton.

Inside, Tortoni is spacious and beautifully decorated with stained glass windows, wooden furniture and old pictures on the walls. There’s a billiards room, and a couple smaller salons used for concerts and tango performances, as well. The cafe has done a splendid job maintaining its spirit of authenticity, despite the crowds and camera flashes. If possible, try and go on a weekday; there are still a few hours when Tortoni calms down, and you can fully immerse yourself in its charm.

Café Tortoni
Av. de Mayo 825/29
Location on our Buenos Aires Map
Tel: 4342 4328

Everything we have done in Buenos Aires

Tortoni
Tea Time Buenos Aires
Cafe Tortoni
Tortoni Waiters
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April 30, 2011 at 7:08 pm Comments (0)

Pizzería Banchero in La Boca

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Another great pizza place in Buenos Aires: El Cuartito

“Hey, what do you feel like eating?” Every time I’ve been asked that, every single time during the course of my entire life, the answer has been “pizza”. Even when it was 8am. Even when I was 18 months old. It’s the only honest response: there are other things I should eat, things which might even taste better. But pizza is what I want to eat. Always.

Serving Pizza

So you’re asking me what I want to eat? Well, I know we just had pizza last night, but there’s another famous pizzeria right across the road, there. We really should try it out. Everyone says we should try it out. Don’t look at me like that; it’s totally coincidence that we happened to end up in front of Pizzería Banchero at lunch time. I totally didn’t plan that.

Banchero is a classic spot in La Boca, established in 1932 by Juan Banchero, the son of a Genoese baker who had emigrated here at the turn of the century, along with thousands of his countrymen. The restaurant quickly became a hit, and a couple branches have even opened elsewhere in the city. It’s immediately apparent why Banchero is so loved among porteños — the prices are great, the atmosphere is casual and comfortable, and the pizzas are astounding. We ordered a fugazza, made with a crunchy, airy crust and topped with onions and mountains of cheese. Delicious. Plus, the service was great; our impeccably-dressed Paraguayan waiter was as friendly as could be, taking time to explain the pizzas to us and make recommendations.

If you’re in La Boca, and have survived the tourist hordes of El Caminito, treat yourself to a great pizza in a time-honored joint that locals love: Pizzería Banchero. And don’t worry about all that cheese. Diets are for later, and firm bellies are over-rated, anyway. That’s what I keep telling myself, as we continue to tick Buenos Aires’ “must-eat” pizzerías off our list.

Pizzería Banchero
Suárez 396 y Brown
Tel: 4301-1406
Location on our BA Map
The Art of Making Pizza

Pizzzaria Banchero
Pizza La Boca
Pizza Waiter
Fanta Buenos Aires
Beer Snack
Fugazza Pizza
Fugazza
Cheesy Pizza
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March 3, 2011 at 11:14 pm Comments (0)

Buenos Aires’ Notable Bars – El Federal

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Coffee Culture

One of the best parts of moving to a new city is deciding upon your favorite new bar, the place you plan on haunting with a disturbingly constant presence. Buenos Aires has assisted newcomers on this all-important quest by honoring 60 bars and cafés with the distinction of Bar Notable.

Bar Federal

These places have been chosen for their long years of service, architectural flair, or famous patrons, and can officially advertise themselves as “Notable”. Most of them are found near the center of the sprawling city, and we’ve yet to visit one we haven’t been impressed by. That goes particularly for El Federal, on the corner of Peru and Carlos Calvo in San Telmo, which immediately established itself as a front-runner for the glorious title of my favorite bar.

Stepping inside El Federal is like stepping into back into the early 20th century, when Buenos Aires was in its golden age. The decoration is ornate, and well-stocked shelves hold antique soda bottles. The gorgeous wooden bar is over a hundred years old, and supports a large, fluidly carved arch, in which a defunct clock and stained glass are encased.

For being such a famous establishment in prime touristic real estate like San Telmo, the prices are amazingly reasonable. El Federal has a full menu, and we enjoyed everything we’ve tried; the plate of picadas (slices of meats and cheese) is an especially good choice. There’s both a smoking room and outdoor seating, but I always choose a table close to the bar, so that I can spend my time thirstily admiring the bottles of whiskey.

El Federal is the kind of place in which you’ll want to spend hours, and they don’t mind if you do. In fact, a small shelf of reading material is available in the corner. Digging into a well-worn copy of Borges’ Ficciones, with a strong cup of coffee on the wooden table in front of you, while the bustle of city life passes by in the window… that’s about as “bonarense” as you can get.

Location on our BA Map
List of Hostels in San Telmo

Entrada Bar Notable
Bar Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires Cafe
Bar Notable San Telmo
Jugendstil Bar Notable
Alcohol
Soda Buenos Aires
Soda Bar
Peanut Basket
Medialunas
Breakfast Buenos Aires
Bar Notable Mirror
Bar Notable Lamp
Bares Notables
Bar Notable
San Telmo Bar Notable
Bar Notable Moderno
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February 22, 2011 at 6:35 pm Comments (7)
Bar (Notable) Hopping
For 91 Days