Walking with a Local Through Buenos Aires’s Historic Recoleta Neighborhood
“Living in Recoleta is like living in a history book of Buenos Aires. I love walking around here. Architecturally, it’s beautiful. It’s eclectic. Recoleta is reminiscent of Paris, with Art Deco influences. And it’s in the middle of city, so it feels kind-of downtown, but it’s not the business center. It’s the elegant center of the city.” This is how Yanina Faour, an artist and fourth generation jeweler who has her own signature Oleana jewelry line, describes her beloved neighborhood. Most tourists know Recoleta only as the home of a striking cemetery where rests Argentina luminaries like Eva Perone but I want an insider’s look at the enclave. A true porteña (local of Buenos Aires) and knowledgeable guide to the city that inspires her art, Yanina’s offered to take me on a tour of her favorite spots.
First it’s off to fill our bellies at El Sanjuanino (Posadas 1515), a restaurant that’s been around some eighty years. Their main dishes are homemade empanadas, either oven-baked or deep-fried, all different sorts, and they are amazing. “They also serve the traditional locro,” Yanina tells me, “a delicious thick stew, which is our patriotic meal for the 9th of July, our independence day.”
It’s clear from our next stop, La Boutique de Jean Paul (Ayacucho 2027), that my new friend knows how to enjoy more decadent food as well. Here Chef Jean Paul Bondoux sells his famous pastries and tartes to go. “If you have a fancy dinner and need to buy a little something to put on the table, this is the place to go,” says Yanina. “I normally get the macaroons and the pan chocolate.”
From here our Recoleta outing only gets more extravagant.
If you’ve got the means I highly recommend staying at the Palacio Duhau at the Park Hyatt Hotel (Avenida Alvear 1661) but for those, like me, on a tighter budget, opt for a sweet treat on a patio overlooking the beautiful gardens.“The architecture is French, “says Yanina. “It reminds me of the Buenos Aires of the twenties, when there was such opulence. It’s a reminder of the golden years of Argentina.”
Now for a little history lesson. Pasaje Del Correo is the location of the first Argentine post. Down the alley are all sorts of hidden treasures: designers, a famous dance studio, and Yanina’s favorite restaurant and tea room. “The restaurant is called Sirop and right across from it is Sirop Folie, Resto and Tea Corner (Vicente Lopez 1661 – Local 12) owned by the same woman, who works with her two daughters. The pear sorbet here is to die for.
To get our shopping fix, we meander over to Rue Des Artisans, home of the famous Comme Il Faut (Arenales 1239 – Rue Des Artisans – Apt. M) tango shoe store. All the colorful designs here are over the top. These are shoes to wear if your goal is to be noticed. “They have basically one model and all different colors,” says Yanina. “On the other side of Rue Des Artesans, in Pasaje Libertad, L’Academie (Libertad 1240 – Pasaje Libertad – Local 10) is my favorite vintage store. It’s very affordable and there are so many brands. It really has something special.”
Argentineans love their sweets and ice cream is no exception. We stop at Un’ Altra Volta (Quintana and Ayucucho) in the heart of Recoleta to sample their famous dulce de leche classics, though you can choose from any other imaginable flavor. Yanina and I clink our cones together, an ice cream toast to the end of a lovely day in this historic Buenos Aires neighborhood.
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