The Botanical Gardens – Buenos Aires’ chic alternative to Palermo

One such area, characterized by its close proximity to Palermo, has been dubbed Palermo Zoo, Botanico and even Palermo VIP. This upscale leafy BA neighborhood has seen a boom in new restaurants and delis and a plethora of independent boutiques and private showrooms opening up in the last couple of years.

Buenos Aires can be a frustrating city to navigate for those interested in gaining an authentic feel for the city as a local would, beyond the readily available recommendations of parrillas and tango milongas, and in discovering sartorial and culinary gems beyond the much hyped Palermo. Although Palermo continues to hang onto its cool crown as far as some guidebooks and general articles about the city would have you believe, the neighbourhood experienced its vibrant heyday in the mid 00s, and many visitors hoping for an independent feel find it an underwhelming and overly commercial experience. The city’s vital creative dynamism continues to exist however, as many fledgling food and fashion enterprises have migrated to alternative barrios with an authentic Porteño vibe and a flavour of what Palermo generated post the economic crash in 2003, with its tucked away independent boutiques and fledgling enterprises. One such area, characterized by its close proximity to Palermo, has been dubbed Palermo Zoo, Botanico and even Palermo VIP. This upscale leafy BA neighborhood has seen a boom in new restaurants and delis and a plethora of independent boutiques and private showrooms opening up in the last couple of years. A stroll along the main Cerviño Boulevard is testament to this, where chic boutiques, delis, ice cream parlours and bistros jostle for centre stage. Here are few highlights and proponents of this flourishing neighborhood whose elegant charm is leading many Porteños to turn their back on the main Palermo drag in its favour, preferring to see and be seen in its VIP counterpart.

Ph: Panorama

Dubie – República de la India 3139.

Agustina Dubie’s sumptuous eponymous label has nurtured a loyal local following since its inception, one of the first young designers to make a conscious decision to set up shop in the area, and the store’s understated and subtle window displays also belie the beauty of her seasonal collections hidden from view and hanging behind the frosted partitioning screen. Monochrome pieces are punctuated by block colours and experimental pattern, with her just launched SS’16 characterized by paint flecks and tie-dye, and her impeccable attention to detail and use of fabulous materials.

Panorama – República de la India 2905.

Ph: Panorama

Maria Lee runs a tight ship with this multi brand concept store, with a constantly replenishing stock of a carefully curated selection of the hottest emerging Buenos Aires designers throughout each season. From hats, fascinators and handbags, to jewelry and footwear, this is an indispensable one stop shop for savvy fashionistas wanting to nail a new look or undertake a seasonal wardrobe overhaul.

Tupa – Lafinur 3132.

Tupa is a closed door multi brand showroom, located behind a verdant succulent haven, a courtyard with a makeshift pond fashioned from a roll top bath, and climbing foliage. The store carries the collections of Boerr Yarde-Buller and Schang-Viton, run by the designers themselves who also carry other emerging labels who share their aesthetic, who often produce limited edition pieces for them.  Maria Duffy’s distinct and rustic ceramic homeware is also created exclusively for Tupa.

House of Matching Colors – Appointment only.

Paula Selby Avellaneda has an illustrious fashion CV, having trained at the prestigious Antwerp Royal Academy of Fine Arts she then took the brave move to set up a humble atelier in London and approach small indie bands to wear her creations. Her latent talent and unique style led her to produce her own innovative take on the biker jacket, fringed or customized with safety pins in starlike patterns. These were subsequently stocked in Opening Ceremony and customized pieces worn by Chloe Sevigny and Beyonce. Her recently launched showroom showcases her limited edition collections, which can be made to order. She also produces ornately hand embroidered custom made wedding dresses.

Birkin – República Arabe Siria 3061

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A popular meeting spot for many locals partial to proper coffee, news travelled fast about this on the ball caffeinated hangout with its dapper staff and it’s a first come first served policy for weekend brunches when the place can get packed. Coffee purists should make a beeline, with a multitude of brew options, and chalkboard menus and vintage style light fixtures setting the design conscious tone. Don’t pass up the desserts, not least the fabulous Argentine chocotorta, a heady mix of, no surprises, chocolate and ubiquitous dulce de leche.

Mishiguene – Lafinur 3368

This eatery is all about hearty Jewish comfort food with a sophisticated twist as traditional family recipes get a contemporary reworking by chef Tomas Kalika, whose love and passion for his dishes and their roots and experience garnered over years living in the Middle East can be fully enjoyed by booking the chef’s table, with informative and culinary banter between courses from the 6 course paired tasting menu. All dishes are prepared from scratch in-house, including the sublime pastrami, cooked sous vide for 36 hours, which falls apart in a mouthwatering instant.

Boulan – Ugarteche 3045

Ph: Boulan

This French themed bakery takes its abbreviated name from the word ‘boulangerie’ and is the perfect spot for those craving a refreshing alternative to medialunas and cloyingly sweet Argentine pastries, with a breakfast bar for those wishing to sit down for a bite to eat. Offering everything from quality in house baked breads including traditional baguettes and rustic pan de campo, wholemeal loaves and foccacia, to homemade sandwiches and a selection of gift wrapped artisan cookies and other French delicacies.

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Vanessa Bell
Vanessa Bell is an Anglo-Argentine freelance lifestyle writer and trend hunter, and founder of Creme de la Creme, a personalized and bespoke shopping service showcasing the hidden gems of Buenos Aires, from emerging fashion, vintage, design and food.

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