DISCOVERING THE TUCKED AWAY NEIGHBORHOOD OF CHACARITA

Cemetery original
Kevin Vaughn

As you slowly inch your way up the congested Avenida Corrientes — the wide avenue that cuts through the middle of the small neighborhood of Chacarita — it is hard to imagine that this ‘barrio’ derived its name for the quechua for ‘farm’. In the 18th century the area was used by the Jesuits as a vast farmland to feed the children and staff that attended their schools. Although the neighborhood bustles with activity, open green spaces are still the main theme of the zona’s personality, with the long Parque Los Andes and Chacarita Cemetery taking up nearly half of the hood.

Chacarita is largely overlooked for its popular neighbors like Palermo Hollywood to the north or Villa Crespo to the south. Here is a list of favorites, both old and new, of the best of history, art, food and drink that Chacarita has to offer.

Chacarita Cemetery – Av. Guzmán 680

Built in the late 1880s during the yellow fever epidemic, the 240 acres of land dwarfs the more well-known Recoleta Cemetery and easily is the largest in the nation. Architecture buffs must visit as a stroll through the Chacarita Cemetery recounts the entire history of architecture design in Buenos Aires. Spread throughout the large open air space, neo-classical, art deco, surrealist and modern designed mausoleums all sit side by side. Juan Perón was once buried here, and an agreement with the government allots special space for members of the artistic community. Walk around long enough and you might spot the tombs of Carlos Gardel, Gustavo Cerati or Antonio Berni.

El Galpón Mercado – Av. Federico Lacroze 4171

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Veggie meals at El Galón. Photo by Kevin Vaughn

Hidden away at the end of a cobblestone road on the side of the General Urquiza train station is a quiet hippie oasis waiting to be discovered. El Galpón is a co-operative farmer’s market that opens to the public every Wednesday and Saturday afternoon. Shoppers can choose from a selection of produce, meat, dairy products, teas, soaps, and baked goods, or lounge outside in the sun to enjoy the vegan and vegetarian dishes made fresh with food from the market.

Yeite – Humboldt 298

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Fresh food at Yeite, next to Jessica Trosman design studio. PH by Kevin Vaughn

Wedged between two mechanic shops in front of the Atlanta football stadium is the last place you would expect to brunch with celebrated local pastry chef Pamela Villar. The design fits in to the space – green tiles, exposed ceiling and weathered mirrors – with modern touches like open terrariums on each table and the clothing store and studio of high end designer Jessica Trosman just next door. Menu’s are fresh with lots of emphasis on fish, chicken and veggie based dishes, home baked breads, inventive salads, and of course, Villar’s signature pastries.

OCCO Helados – Av. Dorrego 1581

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Creative new flavors of owner Franco Savino at OCCO icecreams. Photo by Kevin Vaughn

Sitting on the very edge of the neighborhood across the street from the Colegiales Flea Market, OCCO Helados just barely makes the cut. From the outside looking in, OCCO looks like any other ice cream shop. All the classics are there — crema americana, pistachio, dulce de leche — but it is the creative new flavors of owner Franco Savino that make this shop one of the neighborhood’s best kept secrets. Try the chochito (chocolate with rum and coconut), or the chocolate picante (dark chocolate with a spicy kick that tastes like a Red Hot).

SlyZmud – Bonpland 721

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Contemporary art gallery. Photo courtesy of Slyzmud

Art galleries that once populated Palermo Soho are slowly moving south to neighboring barrios, many to up-and-coming Villa Crespo. SlyZmud was one of the first to make the move to Chacarita. Founded by young curators Natalia Sly and Larisa Smud, the small galleries (there are two just 50 meters from one another) feature the work of Argentine artists with 12 shows a year. The space is intimate and personal, with white walls drawing your eyes into the work of contemporary young artists, and has already been a fixture of the international art fair circuit with stalls at ArteBA and ArtBasel.

Albamonte – Av. Corrientes 6785

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Escalopes a la marsala at Albamonte. Photo by Kevin Vaughn

Albamonte opened its doors more than half a century ago in Microcentro, but has long since become a fixture of the Chacarita neighborhood. Located on the busy Avenida Corrientes across from Parque Los Andes, this Italian bodegón is a classic restaurant that appears to be frozen in time. An old and faithful clientele, seasoned waiters, and an interior design ripped out of the 1970s, Albamonte is a great stop to try traditional Argentine food: milanesa a la fugazzetta, escalopes a la marsala, tortilla española, and their famous fried calamari.

Bar Palacio – Av. Federico Lacroze 851

It would be easy to pass right by Bar Palacio without realizing just how special this old school cafe is. Inside you will find not a cafe ‘notable’ with all the trimmings (coffee, pastries, toasted sandwiches), and a photography museum. Have a seat at one of the tables that is outfitted with relics of old photography objects – cameras, old photographs, and film canisters – and enjoy a traditional cafe cortado and medialuna. The cafe also offers classes in their basement studio for enthusiasts, and a jazz band that takes over every Tuesday evening starting at 8pm.

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Kevin Vaughn
Kevin Vaughn arrived to Buenos Aires by way of California in 2010. He is a freelance food and lifestyle writer, cook and owner of closed door supper club MASA, and co-founder of Buenos Aires Art Tours, an alternative tour company that provides fixed route and customizable walking tours of the best of Buenos Aires' art, food, history, and architecture.
Kevin Vaughn

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