Argentina, Buenos Aires, Destinations, Featured Places, South America

If…Then – THITW Buenos Aires

March 28, 2012

Quintessential Buenos Aires Experiences:
Popular for a reason, but potentially overdone like a dried out steak.

In true semi-hipster, Portlandia fashion, we were pleased to discover a great number of alternatives to common Buenos Aires hotspots during our month long stint in the city, and we share them below for your amusement and someday-trip-planning-pleasure (perhaps?).

A Trendy “Hole in the Wall” Photo – Taken Especially for my Brothers during our sneaky tour of Majestic Hotel in Buenos Aires.

My brothers and I have an inside joke that I’m about to make public (and probably perplexing, but bear with me): they mock me for seeking out – as we Portlanders are wont to do – lesser known, smaller activities, places, and events that (arguably) posses more character and substance than the overdone alternatives.

“Trendy Hole in the Wall” is their dig; THITW for short.

The Quick Backstory:

In what could only grow to epic proportions between six siblings, we’ve taken to ranking experiences or scoring each other’s reports (often in Facebook comments) with +/- amounts to denote just how much indie cred we’ve earned for recent THITW activity.

For example, a status update about an art gallery visit to see my friend Wes’ paintings would probably garner a THITW ranking of +2 from whichever brother read it first.

A trip to the movie theater to see something with subtitles: +1.

In Portland, a visit to a Starbucks might set me back -5.

But a blog post about alternative brownies and a visit to the raw milk farm could possibly regain a bit of THITW respect and earn another +1 or +2.

Clear as mud? Great!

Without further ado, true to the spirit of Buck Sibling THITW scoring, here is a preview of coming posts about our Trendy-Hole-in-the-Wall discoveries in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Arts & Dance
If La Bomba del Tiempo is full of tourists and you’d rather see another scene…
Then head for Hombre Vertiente hidden away on the backside of Centro Cultural in Recoleta. (+4)

If a Tango Show on a flashy stage has lost its luster…
Then try a Private Milonga Tour with a local dancer from Ilusion Tango (+3)

If you’ve taken in the beautiful art at Malba or Museo Nacional de Bella Artes and wonder how it can possibly get any better…
Then try Ojos Cerrados for a sensory experience rivaling a visit to the finest galleries in the world. Your imagination is a beautiful artist.

If you’ve tried one, you’ve tried them all, in a sense: they’re around every corner and across every street in the city…
Then, though, if you want your baker to learn your name and slip you samples and smiles and friends and family discounts, go frequently to Cosas Ricas on Peru, and be sure to tell Diego hi from Ted and Bethany (+5).

If you’ve flipped through pages and admired the visual show at El Aetena Bookstore but want a bit more…
Then try Walrus Books (+2)

Cafe Culture
If you’ve smiled your way past the doorman at Tortoni’s and tried their submarino amidst walls clad in art and history…
Then try the same chocolate and milk at Hotel Zorzal Mane’s charmingly restored cafe on Humberto Primo in San Telmo.

If you’ve tried burnt coffee at Plaza Dorrego Bar on the square…
Then walk a few blocks down to Cafe Origen for an outdoor seat to drink a hot beverage and people watch under the tall street trees (+0, but not negative!).

Other spots to try: Las Violetas for the most convincingly cheerful White Waist-coated Waiters we’ve ever encountered.

If you’ve wandered the shops in Palermo Soho or ducked into designer showrooms along San Telmo streets, and you’re left looking for something a little different…
Then try a trip up the Mitre Train line from Retire Station and hop off at Martínez: Mercado is the place for trendy (hole in the wall!) forward-thinking Argentinian clothing design (+5).

Ice Cream
If you’ve visited Volta or fancied something from Freddos…
Then try the THITW Version: B.N. in San Telmo (+1) (Our two favorite flavor combos: Bethany: Banana Split, Chocolate Semiamarga, and Dulce de Leche; Ted: Coconut and Peach)

If you’ve visited the San Telmo Market and filled a bag with brightly colored veggies but would rather know your goods are green…
Then head to El Galpón Organic Market in Chacarita near Lacroze Station, or Sabe la Tierra at Estación San Fernando off the Tren de la Costa.

Parks and Open Space
If you’ve paid a visit to Parque tres de Febrero but would rather not wear roller skates…
Then try bicycle rentals at the city’s Reserva Ecologica on the outskirts of the city, along the shores of the Rio de la Plata (+2)

If watching a futball match on the pub screen, the apartment TV, or from commonly expensive seats at La Boca Statdium isn’t going to do it for you…
Then try tickets to a local match personally accompanied by two Guardian UK sports writers/British expats who will meet you for a beer at a local pub, lead the way on the local bus system, and explain the stories behind the stadiums and fans while you cheer for local stars (+3).

If you’ve enjoyed sizzling Chorizo de Roquefort at La Cabrera but want to check out a lesser known dining experience and a steak at an easy-to-swallow price – or rabbit, salmon, trout, and delicious ravioli for that matter…
Then visit the unassuming side street restaurant on Peru: Las Mazorcas Bistro, where the waitstaff are kind and attentive and the back dining room makes a perfect spot for a dinner party (+3).

If you’ve tried the terrible Argentinian salads made of 2/3 shredded carrots and 1/3 odd veggie bits and wondered if there’s hope for find vegetarian food in this city…
Then try Jueves a la Mesa for a closed door dinner featuring color and plants on the plate, bottomless bottles of wine, and divine homemade chocolate (+7).

If you love it…
Then cheers to you! You’ve survived it all, and so have we, and you can find a bottle at any price to celebrate and clink salud to the good life in Buenos Aires.

[Please note: This post is being shared automatically while we’re crossing the Atlantic by ship. Following entries will include details on many of the destinations and visits listed above, and once we’re safely on shore on the other side of the ocean, we’ll come back through and link the recommendations to their corresponding blog posts. Hope you enjoy the preview of coming attractions!]

You Might Also Like


  • Reply jane March 28, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Remarkable rundown!!!! I love this vicarious traveling.

    Hope you are having a grand time on the love boat,
    Jane ooxx

    • Reply twoOregonians April 10, 2012 at 4:04 pm

      Ha, Jane! : ) The love boat was grand, and the stories keep piling up to tell… Can’t wait to fill you in on all the details someday in person!

  • Reply Stephanie - The Travel Chica March 29, 2012 at 6:30 am

    Nice job finding the cool stuff to see and do in BA. You guys managed to fit in a lot and get around the city in a short time.

    By the way, every time I hear someone tell a tourist they must go to La Bomba de Tiempo, I want to scream.

    • Reply twoOregonians April 10, 2012 at 4:47 pm

      I’ll join you in that scream. UGH.

      We had some seriously lazy days in the city, but when all was said and done, we were pleased with how much we were able to see and do. Great memories : )

  • Reply Andrew Buck March 29, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    I was happy to see that bottomless wine and chocolate got a high “+7”

    It was awfully kind of you to set up these automatic posts so we wouldn’t miss you too much. : )


    • Reply twoOregonians April 10, 2012 at 4:48 pm

      I’ve never asked, do I get to redeem these points someday? Like, at a THITW version of Chuck E. Cheese or something?

      • Reply Andrew Buck April 11, 2012 at 12:44 am

        I’m sure I could throw together a little shop where one could redeem said points. But if we used Chuck E Cheese’s exchange rate, you’d have to travel half a life time to accumulate enough points to buy a plastic toy that will break in three days.

  • Reply Mercado: On the Hunt for Local Fashion in Buenos Aires | twoOregonians April 2, 2012 at 7:16 am

    […] Post is Part of If…Then Buenos Aires: Trendy Hole in the Wall adventures around […]

  • Reply Art and Dance in Buenos Aires | twoOregonians April 10, 2012 at 3:16 pm

    […] Genuinely Interesting Recommendations for Visits to Buenos Aires. This piece is part of our series If…Then Buenos Aires: Trendy Hole in the Wall Adventures Around Town. Share/Bookmark This entry was posted in […]

  • Reply Vitrum Buenos Aires Hotel May 11, 2012 at 6:56 am

    Excellent recommendation of places to visit in Buenos Aires. One of the best experiences in Buenos Aires is attending a tango show or taking tango lessons.

  • Reply Cosas Ricas: The Best Little Bakery in San Telmo - twoOregonians November 21, 2013 at 9:29 am

    […] ← Previous Next → […]

  • What say you?