Tango and Flash


Arguably one of the most picturesque flea markets in the world, this Sunday trash-and-treasure, in a cobblestoned historic area dotted with cafés and antiques shops, is a favorite of bargain hunters and the culturally curious. The wares of the street stalls skew touristy, but the detritus sold inside the main hall—vintage records and posters, commercial signage, Perón-era collectibles (and ­lamentables)—offers a fascinating glimpse into the country’s graphics culture. The impressionistic look of the market has inspired the cabinet-of-wonders aesthetic of many of the city’s trendy restaurants. (Defensa 961 or Bolívar 998)


The regnant beauty queen of hospitality, the Philippe Starck–designed Faena Hotel + Universe in Puerto Madero has helped transform a Dios-forsaken wasteland into the city’s glamorous new high-rent district. The recent opening of Alan Faena’s namesake arts complex, located in a former grain mill two blocks from the hotel, will surely add to the area’s allure. From May 15 to July 15 there will be an installation by Los Carpinteros, a feted Cuban art collective. (Aimé Paine 1169;;


Fine dining in Buenos Aires has certainly evolved—there are even good vegetarian restaurants sprouting up all over the city. But for the most part it’s still all meat, all the time. Everyone has an opinion on the best protein-heavy restaurant, but it’s hard to beat La Brigada in San Telmo. The carefully curated miscellany on the walls (most of it soccer-related) dazzles the eye, but it’s the Flintstones-worthy servings of meat of every stripe that have punters eating it up with a spoon—literally. The meat is so tender at this famed eatery that the waiters carve and serve it with spoons. (Estados Unidos 465;


Shopping in Buenos Aires can be tricky. There is no shortage of luxury houses selling globalized merchandise, and as the writer V.S. Naipaul once remarked, Argentina can be one big “gaucho curio shop.” Still, for devotees of contemporary design, Tienda Palacio is a must-see. Billed as a purveyor of “cool stuff,” this recent addition to the retail arena speaks in a thick, modernist-inflected accent. The only sign of nostalgia? Gift-wrapping tape imprinted with Shepard Fairey–like portraits of Evita Perón. (Defensa 926;;


The ubiquitous soccer fields aren’t the only places where one can score. Buenos Aires has an impressive number of late-night bars, including Isabel, a temple to newfangled design and old-school libations in the trendy Palermo. Owned by nightlife guru Juan Santa Cruz, Isabel stands out for its high-impact faux-rococo interiors. But in truth, most of the watering holes in this perennially popular district are fairly indistinguishable from any on the international singles map (read: regulation pickup-friendly decor and lighting). Nevertheless, it’s a fun, easily navigable neighborhood for cocktail-fueled people watching. (Uriarte 1664;


Despite the proliferation of private restaurants, or puertas cerradas (“closed doors”), and the attempts of internationalist-fusion food to crash the party, the soul of Argentine cuisine can still be found in the neighborhood restaurants known as bodegones. These lo-fi, family-run places are ideal for whiling away an entire afternoon gorging on comfort food and drinking copious amounts of Malbec—or Quilmes, a popular local beer. The most loyal fan base is for El Obrero, a parrilla (barbecue joint) in La Boca district. (Agustín R. Caffarena 64;;