In May of 2013, Lucy packed her bags and moved to Buenos Aires in the pursuit of discovering a different life. Originally from Melbourne, Lucy was bored, burnt out, and tired of the corporate day-to-day grind that she was operating her life by, so she threw caution to the wind and moved to a country that she knew very little about.
That decision led to many things and she came into contact with a culture radically different from her own.
What do you love and hate about the city?
South America allowed me to discover, and re-discover parts of myself and see the world through different eyes.
I liken Buenos Aires to a woman – some days she will test, confuse and utterly confound you with her complexities and nuances, yet you cannot help but succumb to her beauty and madness.
Buenos Aires is social – people always have time to chat here. Time is taken to sit down and enjoy a coffee, or lunch or dinner. Eating and drinking on the go, like we have become so accustomed to in Western cultures, barely exists here.
While the city can seem like absolute chaos some days, in general, the pace of life here is slower. It’s a refreshing change from the constant ‘go-go’ mentality of many Western cultures nowadays. On the flip side, don’t expect anything to get done quickly. Services and any type of official process will test even the most patient of people.
What are your favourite neighbourhoods in BA? In each of them, can you tell us what it is that makes it your favourite.
I still remember my first time strolling around the elegant streets of Recoleta, with its French architecture and array of smart boutiques, cafes and hotels.
Oviedo (Antonio Beruti 2602) has the best and freshest seafood in BA and is a traditional and elegant dining experience.
If I’m in need of a sugar fix, I head to La Nueva San Agustin for the artisanal facturas (pastries). The Bola de Fraile con crema pastelera is worth every single calorie.
I also love the bar and restaurant at Hotel Club Frances –created in 1866 as a Club for French residents in Buenos Aires, it has hosted personalities from politics, science, culture and sport.
Buenos Aires Design, adjacent to the famous Recoleta Cemetery and overlooking Plaza Francia, has a great open air terrace to sit and kick back with a drink.
I love how each barrio in Buenos Aires is totally different, each with a character and personality all its own and San Telmo is one of the best. It’s touristy, especially on Sundays at the famous open-air street market, but head there any other day and you can simply wander, taking in the beauty of the cobbled streets, the history, (it’s the oldest barrio) and the buildings, which while many are old and decrepit, only seems to add to its beauty.
I love popping in to Chochan for a fat, bursting at the seams pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw and BBQ sauce. If I’m in the mood for something more traditional, La Poesia (sister café/bar to the well known El Federal) is a great place to pass the time over a glass of wine and a picada (Argentine’s answer to antipasto).
The best cocktails are at Doppelgänger – small in size, yet big on character, the interior is reminiscent of the 1930’s, and it’s a great place to relax and mix with a mainly local, low-key crowd.
Others restaurants worth checking out are ALDOS Vinoteca and La Brigada.
Pictured above: Oviedo (photo credit: andrewzimmern.com)
Pictured above: El Cuartito (photo credit: Lucy Owens)
Pictured above: Chochán (photo credit: viaresto.com)
Pictured above: La Poesía (photo credit: taringa.net)
Pictured above: El Cuartito (photo credit: Lucy Owens)
What are some museums that are worth visiting in BA?
Museo de Bellas Artes is a must do while in BA. The permanent collection houses some outstanding European and international pieces and admission is free. The last Thursday of each month is ‘Bellos Jueves’ when the museum features new artists and musicians throughout the various spaces.
In contrast, the uber modern MALBA always features exciting temporary exhibitions in addition to the permanent collection of 20th century Latin American art.
Are there any parks/open spaces in the city good for a weekend picnic or for the urbanite who wants some fresh air?
One of the most beautiful spaces to relax in is the Jardin Japones (Japanese Garden). Bathed in calmness and tranquility, it’s a haven in a big city. It also houses a restaurant if you need a change from all the meat.
Pictured above: Lucy in the Japanese Garden (photo credit: Lucy Owens)
Are there any slightly offbeat things you would recommend for a visitor to do in BA?
I have a bit of a penchant for Once, where I spent my very first month in Buenos Aires…many Porteños will tell you to avoid this part of town at all costs, and at night it can be somewhat salubrious.
It’s best during the day anyway when there are street stalls and vendors selling every type of product you can imagine. Many items are much cheaper than in other parts of Buenos Aires. But the best thing about Once is the vibe – this isn’t the European inspired Buenos Aires. Once is gritty, alive with the sounds and beat of the immigrants that have filled this area from neighbouring South American countries. Start at the corner of Avenida Pueyrredon and Corrientes and work your way through the streets up to Avenida Rivadavia.
What are some of the local foods you love, and where do you go for your fix?
In the space of almost two years, I think I’ve single-handedly enjoyed as many empanadas as if I had lived here my whole life. These pastries are something of a national pastime and come stuffed with a range of hot fillings – ham and cheese, Roquefort, meat, chicken…the list is endless. My favourite go to place is a simple and honest eatery that specialises in cuisine from Argentina’s northwest, including empanadas salteñas, stuffed full with a juicy meat, onion and potato filling. Na Serapia, Avenida Las Heras.
Stemming from the huge wave of immigrants that came to Argentina in the 19th and 20th centuries, Argentina gives Italy a damn good run for its money when it comes to helado (ice cream). Along with some popular chains, such as Freddo, Volta and Persicco, I rate Buffala in Recoleta as one of the best in the city.
Are there any useful local tips you can share?
Buenos Aires come alive at night, so try and get into the local timing of doing things. Eating dinner at 10pm or later is common, and the energy is totally different than if you eat at say 7pm. Same goes for drinking/socialising. Palermo really only comes alive after midnight when the Portenos finally start filling the bars and clubs.
Have you found any hidden gems/secrets of the city that you can share with us?
Fueguia 1833 declares itself a ‘scent laboratory, candle atelier and shop’. It’s a small, yet dark and sexy space, with an array of exquisitely crafted perfumes that use various floras and faunas from the abundant Patagonia region of Argentina. Or, if you prefer, have them create your own bespoke perfume.
El Boliche de Roberto is a tiny historical café/bar in Almagro where you can hear local tango performers singing songs of melancholy and passion every night of the week (performers start around 11pm) It’s a special place that is well worth visiting.
Yuki – hands down the best Japanese restaurant in the city. A heavenly oasis and the only truly authentic Japanese restaurant . No Philadephia cream cheese in site here; in fact, they’d probably ask you to leave if you requested it. (Philadephia cream cheese has somehow made its way into nearly every sushi variety and restaurant in the city. Strange but true).
Pictured above: Photographs of downtown BA (photo credit: Lucy Owens)
Pictured above: Bosques de Palermo (photo credit: Lucy Owens)
Pictured above: Recoleta Cemetary (photo credit: Lucy Owens)
Where to stay in Buenos Aires
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