TMR Easter travel insider recommendation: Black Book Buenos Aires

6 minute read

TMR's exclusive inside travel secrets from the country's best (and classiest) professional travel editor

Medical Republic’s sister publication is the country’s best professional travel media group – Travel Weekly. They talk to travel professionals, like we go talk to doctors.our editor, Tara Harrison has kindly agreed to provide us a few travel professsional inside tips on one of her favourite spots. Not for Public consumption

 This is the urban jetsetter guide to Argentina’s capital of cool. From restaurants to bars, boutiques to markets, this is a city known as the Paris of the south for good reason. 




One of Latin America’s best restaurants, and acknowledged as the best in Argentina, you’d be forgiven for walking straight past the metal rampart door in San Telmo. Like most cities, the fun lies in delving beyond the obvious. You have to buzz for entry and once inside its all brushed metal, glass onto a green strip and Scandinavian style minimalism. The open kitchen serves up small degustation dishes the likes of octopus with flowers, potato and black olive. There’s also a mushroom jus with quinoa wafer and slow cooked egg. There is no menu, the water recites the dish at your table to herald its arrival. 

Floreria Atlantico

rest2At street level, it’s a florist and wine shop. Now there’s a  combination of provisions that would lure most in. But as if it isn’t inviting enough, down a secreted staircase lies a narrow and long darkly lit bar and restaurant. This is the destination for cocktails and tapas. The seafood is renowned here, for good reason. It’s a welcome relief for any steak-weary Argentine travellers. Leave room for dessert – the rice pudding with dulce de leche is good enough to justify one less savoury dish.

 The cocktails are creative and quirky. The Joan of Arc cocktail is served with flame. Another is served in a thermos with tin army issue cups. The bloody mary is tagged as gazpacho, and is a blend of mango, roast tomatoes, ginger, cucumber, and the requisite Tabasco and salt and pepper. Negroni comes in a plugged apothecary jar with a eucalypt twig. It all synchronises with the entry and exit, through the botanical wonderland that is the florist above.



The Brick Hotel

hotel1 This M Gallery hotel in Recoleta has been recently redesigned to fit the design aesthetic of the neighbourhood. It takes its cues from local artists and the street art that is so much more than tag scrawls that are scattered throughout the city. The bar commissioned the cheery cartoon stylings of Pum Pum, whose trademark bobble head and bright colours are immediately recognizable. The rooms are well-appointed with oversized bathrooms and marble and brass trappings. Each floor of the hotel is dedicated to a local artist, whether they are a painter or sketcher. There’s accompanying hard cover coffee table books on the art found by every bedside. It’s a good alternative to the traditional Bible. Mind you, this is the hometown of the current Pope so reading it could be just as relevant.

 CasaSur Art Hotel

 This is a hotel that feels more like apartment living. Found in a historic terrace under ten floors high, it could be in Paris. But this is Buenos Aires and the most European of all the neighbourhoods is here, in Recoleta. The finishing on this hotel are high quality. In the reception area, suede couches meet book cases, black and wood accents as well as fresh white flowers in bubble fish bowl vases. The best rooms have black cast iron balconies with matching black metal chairs and table. Overlooking the street, it’s all Latin traffic and flurry against the copycat Paris town planning and architecture. The design is simple but has fresh flourishes with flowers found throughout the rooms and shared areas. There are bike rentals for guests, a local way to take in the must-sees of Recoleta Cemetary and the art galleries and museums nearby. The best empanadas in Buenos Aires are also found near this hotel – the concierge will point guests in the right direction.



 graffitiGraffitimundo is one of the best ways to see the city through the colour delineated street art. The walking tours are focused around the hipster enclave that is Palermo. There are walls that will appeal to all. Some are feminine and floral, with hummingbirds or muted tones of forest silhouetting a white deer. Others are cubist, cartoon-ish, bright. Some convey political messages, bulls fight and colonialists colonise. There are popular culture references and slogans that mirror advertising. Buenos Aires’ spirit is plastered all over the neighbourhood and it’s unnervingly talented, forthcoming and virulent.

 Casa Cavia

 casacaviaThis concept store is so on trend it hurts. It comprises courtyard dining in a zen space with greenery, flower walls and white tiles. To the back of the courtyard is a minimalist perfumery with glass bottles of scent that are perfectly aligned on a long wooden table. The indoor section of the restaurant is in the historic high ceilinged framework of the main building, and every wall is shelved with inspiring books on fashion, art and design. The food is edgy and delicious. Think ladies who lunch. Plenty of healthy salads and delicate dishes where aesthetics are as important as taste.  There’s also a florist and it also operates as a publishing house – just in case you thought there wasn’t enough creativity and dynamism happening.


 Salmon Tienda

 This is a find. At street level it is mannikins in the window dressings, decked out in retro finery. From hats to bags to shoes, the outfits on the plastic people are immaculate. Buzz to be let in by the effervescent staff, just as well-dressed as their faux counterparts, and walk down the stirs to a labyrinth of vintage clothing. There are skirts, dresses, blouses and men’s items too. The shoe, bag, belt and hat collection spills out of hard leather suitcases. It is pokey and intimate. We managed to find an embroidered 1950’s skirt that was Suzy Homemaker tp a tee. Even better, the packaging is a process in itself. The items are ironed, then all layers wrapped in tissue paper, placed in brown wrapping paper with a potpourri silk sachet, and then tied with ribbon and a label. It feels like a gift to yourself.

 El Ateneo

 This is a bookshop in a theatre. Reading nooks are held in the wings or balconies where the audience used to assemble. Given the scale of the auditorium, this is one of the world’s largest bookshops. Most of the tomes are in Spanish, but there is a small English section. It’s worth it just to explore the interior design and classic architecture, as well as say you’ve been to the world’s only bookshop in a theatre.


Air New Zealand flies to Buenos Aires from Sydney via Auckland three times a week.


End of content

No more pages to load

Log In Register ×