Av. Pres. Manuel Quintana 596, Recoleta
While the service at this long-standing café can sometimes be a little lax, sitting outside on an elegant Recoleta street with a coffee in hand is the quintessential Buenos Aires experience. La Biela has occupied this leafy, shady corner for decades and is much-loved by the neighborhood's occupants. The people watching—both inside and out—is pure gold and the old-world interior filled with bustling, white-shirted waiters and automobile paraphernalia doesn't hurt. Stick to beverages and pastries here, save a full meal for one of Recoleta's incredible steakhouses—like Fervor, for example—instead.
Posadas 1519, Recoleta
Fervor is one of those goldmine restaurants that serves excellent food matched by exceptional service. An old-world steakhouse that exudes all the charm of a time gone by—with its floor-to-ceiling velvet drapes, checkerboard floors, red leather booths, and soft lighting—the interior feels classic and clubby yet nostalgic. The chefs dry-age all the meat, allowing the enzymes to break down, which results in melt-in-the-mouth tenderness and a more concentrated flavor. The steaks are then charcoal-grilled for smokiness and a thick crust that pairs so well with a robust glass of Malbec. Start off with a pisco sour and prepare to stay late.
The Brick Hotel Buenos Aires – MGallery by Sofitel
Posadas 1232, Recoleta
This MGallery-owned hotel in the Recoleta neighborhood oozes with Art Deco touches. While the rooms aren’t the the biggest draw (they've utilized a beige-y, champagne palette with purple accents), they're comfortable and spacious with all the requisite amenities. The lobby and communal area however, are beautifully ornate and have French feel. The library in particular is cozy, the kind of inviting space that encourages you to curl up with a book and a coffee (or cocktail) for a slow afternoon. Other amenities include a pool and spa, as well as a pretty outdoor garden. The real draw is walkability to many of BA's best restaurants and cultural spots.
Pres. Jose E. Uriburu 1488, Recoleta
In a city heaving with steakhouses and (surprisingly) traditional Italian restaurants, El Burladero is a gem for those craving decidedly Spanish flavors. A fun spot where the white brick walls are adorned with paintings (and plenty of red and yellow accents in case you forget where you are), the seating is a mix of booths and intimate tables, high ceilings, and excellent service. Upon arrival, you’ll be served a little amuse bouche, juicy olives, and salty warm bread to get the appetite going. In terms of the menu, while all the plates pack a punch, the tortilla Espanola (paper-thin slices of potato and onion cooked into a type of cake with plenty of olive oil) is melt-in-your-mouth good and a must order—especially when washed down with a few jugs of refreshingly tart sangria.
Rodríguez Peña 1967, Recoleta
A converted townhouse with a mere eleven rooms, Hub Porteño is one of the newer kids on the block, having opened its doors in 2013. The rooftop space is a slice of Latin bohemia with vibrant upholstered sofas, candles, sculptural wooden furniture, and a garden. The concierge are experts in curating special experiences whether it be a cooking class or a polo excursion. The 600 thread-count sheets, spacious rooms, and marble swathed bathrooms (each one with a beautiful antique dressing table) are perfect spaces to retreat from the city chaos and recharge. With a small gym and sauna in the basement, Hub Porteño is a snug, cozy experience that feels more akin to staying in someone’s tastefully-appointed home than a hotel.
El Ateneo Grand Splendid
Av. Santa Fe 1860, Recoleta
Buenos Aires is typically known for its tango and steak, but the written word is also a big deal around here with a bookstore on practically every corner. El Ateneo is not your run-of-the-mill bookseller: housed in a former grand theater built in 1919, this imposing, cavernous space is now packed floor-to-ceiling with books set amidst the original ornate fixtures. A particularly thoughtful detail is the in-store café, built onto what was once the tango stage, and still framed by dramatic red velvet drapes. Spend a few hours taking it all in and wrap up with a strong cortado center stage.
Alvear Palace Hotel
Avda. Alvear 1891, Recoleta
The Alvear Palace was, in its last life, an apartment block home to rich beef magnate families. Nowadays the 197 rooms still exude the grandeur and class of its past: Accommodations are bright, high-ceilinged, and smartly furnished with fine art and antiques, while the marble bathrooms are stocked with Hermès toiletries. The hotel features five restaurants, each one slightly different, but you can't go wrong. The rooftop bar with its panoramic views of the city is so atmospheric, illuminated by candles and twinkling lights. L’ Orangerie Bar is incredibly ornate, and one of the more beautiful spots in this city for a classic afternoon tea with all the bells and whistles (including monogrammed teacups). Aside from the overall grandeur, practicalities abound and the concierge are renowned for being able to accommodate any and every request, including snagging those much sought after last-minute tickets to polo.
Montevideo 1647, Recoleta
The Algodon is Buenos Aires’s only Relais & Chateaux hotel, and with a second location in the heart of wine country, much of the food comes in fresh from Mendoza’s farmlands daily. A former private residence dating back to 1912, the mansion has a distinctly European aesthetic with parquet floors, modern furniture, and ornate flourishes. Ten suites strong, staying at the Algodon feels cozy, intimate, and quiet. All of the suites feature soaring ceilings, high thread count sheets, and beautifully outfitted marble bathrooms with steam showers. The larger suites however come with their own small wine bars stocked with Argentinian labels and conveniently have separate lounge areas, ideal for in-room entertaining. The hotel also has an in-house spa, a rooftop pool, and an individual butler to assist each guests throughout their stay.
Junín 1760, Recoleta
Built in 1822 around an existing convent, a walk through Recoleta Cemetery’s labyrinthine alleys reads like an Argentine history lesson—generals, presidents, citizens, and Eva Perón herself, are all buried here. This is truly one of the most dynamic and visually beautiful resting places in the world—covered in over 4,691 vaults and mausoleums so grand (a mixture of marble palace-like structures some perfectly maintained and some crumbling), many have been declared national monuments. The cemetery is arranged on a grid—like most modern cities—and the many thousands of decorative tombs cover all the architectural movements that have spanned the last two centuries from Art Deco to Neo Gothic.
Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes
Av. Del Libertador 1473, Recoleta
This museum not only houses Argentina’s largest collection of fine art, it's the largest public collection in all of Latin America—over 12,000 pieces of 19th-century European Art sit alongside a substantial Argentinian offering. The permanent collection is incredibly varied and includes stunning works be Rembrandt and El Greco. Don’t miss the Goya room, filled with the striking sketches and paintings by the artist, many depicting topics like death and war in the Napoleonic period. Impressionism lovers will find an expansive selection of works by Manet, Monet, Renoir, and Degas, alongside sculptures by Rodin and some Modernist pieces including a Jackson Pollack. This museum truly has something for everyone and is beautifully laid out with a robust library, a gift shop filled with collector-worthy art books, and a pretty café.