Two days in Buenos Aires

Meat is big business in Argentina. Head to one of Buenos Aires' many 'parrilla steakhouses' for a sumptuous grilled feast. Photo / Thinkstock
Meat is big business in Argentina. Head to one of Buenos Aires' many 'parrilla steakhouses' for a sumptuous grilled feast. Photo / Thinkstock

Got 48 hours to explore Buenos Aires? Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help visitors make the most of the city.

FRIDAY

6pm: - Kick off your stay by tasting the city's famous ice cream at sleek heladeria (Spanish for ice cream parlour) Un'Altra Volta. Be sure at least one scoop has dulce de leche, the gooey, caramel-like ice cream flavour that is a favourite in Argentina.

8pm: - Dig in at one of countless "parrilla" steakhouses. Steak, pork, chicken, and cow parts you'd probably rather not identify are grilled right in front of you, sometimes even at the table. Upscale favourites include Palermo's La Cabrera (Cabrera 5099, 4831-7002) and Puerto Madero's Cabana Las Lilas, which takes its beef so seriously it gets it all from its own farm. La Brigada in San Telmo also gets high marks, with more modest charm.

10.30pm: - Take advantage of a tango scene in the midst of a renaissance. Young aficionados add electronic beats at hip clubs, while old venues like Club Gricel in Boedo (La Rioja 1180, 4957-7157) conjure tango's famously sultry nostalgia. Those with two left feet can also catch a dinner show at Bar Sur or El Viejo Almacen, or listen to a tango orchestra at bars throughout San Telmo.

SATURDAY

9am: - Have a cup of coffee at Cafe Tortoni (Avenida de Mayo 825, 4342-4328, where the movers and shakers of Argentine intellectual history have gathered since 1858, or opt for a submarino, a cup of hot milk swirled with a rich melted chocolate bar.

10am: - Catch the charmingly antique Subte Line A down to the Casa Rosada, the bright pink government palace where political figures have addressed adoring - and sometimes angry - crowds gathered below in the Plaza de Mayo.

10.30am: 45; See the ornate tombs of Argentina's rich and famous at Recoleta Cemetery, where Argentine icon Evita Peron is buried. Just outside in Plaza Francia you can catch the weekly crafts fair and street performers and then shop in ritzy Barrio Norte's boutiques.

12.30pm: - Grab lunch downtown at Dada, a jazzy bistro with scrumptious food and a well-tended bar (San Martin 941, 4314-4787). A more cost-effective option would be to sample some of the city's best empanadas at El Sanjuanino (Posadas 1515, 4804-2909).

1.30pm: - Take a peek at the country's Latin American art collection at MALBA, which includes the work of Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Fernando Botero and Argentina's own Jorge de la Vega (Figuero Alcorta 3415, 4808-6500).

3.00pm: - Take a mid-afternoon stroll or siesta. Walk a few blocks up to the Palermo gardens, a sprawling parks complex complete with a planetarium, zoo and Japanese gardens. There's also plenty of space to have a picnic.

6.00pm: - Catch some grooves at record store, bar, and jazz club Notorious, also in Palermo (Callao 966, 4813-6888). Sets often start at 6 and last into the wee hours, featuring tango, classical, samba, and swing, in addition to traditional jazz.

9.30pm: - Enjoy fine dining at one of Palermo's restaurants. Favorites for international cuisine with touches of Argentine flair include Bereber, Olsen, Bangalore, Xalapa, and Green Bamboo.

1.30am: - Nightlife gets going in the early morning hours and the most fashionable of club goers won't arrive until 3 a.m. Club Niceto in Palermo is a good bet with a lively mix of musical styles, frequent live performances and trendy patrons (Niceto Vega 5510, 4779-9396).

SUNDAY

11.00am: - Stroll along the Caminito in La Boca, a dockside neighborhood where poor immigrants once used ships' bright leftover paint to dress up their tenements. Street dancers pay homage to tango, first born in La Boca's seedy brothels. Visit renowned parrilla El Obrero to enjoy two other great Argentine loves: steak and soccer (Caffarena 64, 4362-9912).

2.00pm: - Experience a Boca Juniors soccer game. Fireworks soar and drums sound as thousands of painted fans proclaim their devotion. If riotous soccer isn't your thing, pass a more refined afternoon at the outdoor antiques market in nearby San Telmo, also home to art galleries, boutiques and restaurants.

6.00pm: - Wind down by watching yachts cruise past over a relaxing dinner in recently restored dockside area Puerto Madero.

- REUTERS

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