Visitors to Buenos Aires will immediately discover that café culture is an integral part of Argentine society, and while some porteños happily receive their daily caffeine injection from big-name chains, others will only settle for a coffee and dose of tradition from a bar notable. In Buenos Aires around 70 old-school cafés – living and breathing museums dressed up as eating and drinking establishments – fall under a government protection order, keeping them safe from the evil clutches of global enterprises.
Argentines are known to drink mate, a tea-like infusion adopted from the Guarani people, but what some visitors may not know is that 19th century British immigrants brought with them the afternoon tea tradition, which developed with a local twist.
There’s no denying that many Buenos Aires inhabitants tend to incorporate two food groups into their daily diet: sweets and carbs. Walk down most porteño blocks and you’ll find no shortage of the French boulangerie, panaderías (bakeries) and confiterías (confectioneries), offering a wide variety of the good stuff: fresh baked breads, gooey indulgent pastries, and other diet-ruining snacks that could bring any nutritionist to tears…
Granted, any walking tour of eateries requires an impressive predilection for gluttony and a stomach the size of which would, frankly, be a physiological anomaly. The eyes, as the idiom would suggest, are bigger than the tummy – and that’s exactly what this walking tour is: a feast for the eyes from which you can pick from a smorgasbord (a veritable All-You-Can-Eat buffet – a tenedor libre) whatever gastronomic delight takes your fancy.
There’s something about eating or drinking “al aire libre” (in the open air) that makes everything taste just a little bit better. Restaurant, café and bar goers in Buenos Aires have a special affinity for outdoor dining, whether high on a rooftop, secluded in a garden, relishing a flower-filled terrace, or people-watching on a tree-lined sidewalk. Make the most of the sweltering South American summer days by getting down and dirty with some outdoor dining in Buenos Aires.
Following up on last month’s post about luxury activities in Buenos Aires, we realised that it’s credit-crunch time (soaring inflation and energy subsidy cuts, anyone?) and have unearthed some economical Buenos Aires days out, including a downtown spa, French tea-time treats and sightseeing with a difference.
Although the Spanglish verb lunchear has long formed part of the porteño vocabulary, it now needs to budge up and make room for brunchear, an Argentina food trend which has burst onto the scene – and probably popped a few seams as well, given the number of eateries which have mushroomed to serve up brunch of late. Buenos Aires does offer Argentine twists on classic American, English, and even Scandinavian midday meals.