Photo by Omar Uran
Today’s Palermo (Buenos Aires), Argentina City Guide comes to us from Lula Aldunate. Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Lula now lives in NYC where she owns the children’s store Allegria Boutique and creates visual experiences and products with an authentic mix of traditional European charm and Latin American spirit. Lula is a crafter and a lover of flea markets, quirky details, colors and prints, and today she shares some of those very interests through her guide to the artistic Palermo district of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Thank you, Lula, for guiding us through this wonderful part of Buenos Aires! — Stephanie
Read the full guide after the jump . . .
Photo by Santi Etala Photography
Buenos Aires is well known as a cosmopolitan and interesting city of the world. I remember years ago when nobody knew where it was located, and I had to explain that we weren’t part of Brazil and where it was on the map!
Nowadays, things are very different, and it seems like everyone has been to Buenos Aires, wants to go or has a friend or relative who is in love with it! The mix of Latin spirit and European architecture and charm makes the city a place to be discovered.
Being from Buenos Aires and living in New York, many friends and people I encounter ask me where to go when visiting there. If you are planning on visiting this amazing, colorful and sometimes-chaotic place, you have to go to Palermo (Soho, Viejo or Hollywood, as it has been divided in the last years) and walk through its small cobblestone streets. Full of old houses that cohabit with new developments and all kinds of retail stores, Palermo is one of the coolest areas in Argentina’s capital.
A lot of big brands have invaded Buenos Aires, which was once only populated by independent designers. But it still has its charm and is worth visiting for a couple days to enjoy long brunches, coffees and dinners (that is what us “porteños” do best!) and just being there . . . and why not do some shopping! Palermo is full of creativity and coziness that make it memorable. Here are my favorite (not big brand!) spaces and designer houses that I believe you’ll love.
Be sure to check out this map with all of the below listings.
Photo by Santi Etala Photography
FASHION & ACCESSORIES
Juana de Arco — El Salvador 4762
Entering this store is like going into another universe! If you like colors, prints and textures, you must make a stop here. Even if you are not in need of their products, it is so interesting to take a look at Mariana Cortes’ work (and world).
Informal clothing, lingerie for women and men, children’s goods and also home decoration are part of this original and creative space. Fabrics created by them and beautiful columns full of beads and buttons are part of the magic.
They also created a sustainable collective called Project Nido, in which women from marginalized neighborhoods around the city create items out of recycling scraps of cotton and other fabrics from clothing productions. You can find them here, too.
Felix — Gurruchaga 1670/Kids: El Salvador 4742
This is one of my favorite men’s clothes and accessories (and sometimes even shoes!) stores. Relaxed, informal and fresh are the characteristics of their designs. The space is also bright and hosts lots of colors and original prints in shirts, t-shirts, jackets and jeans.
They also have a kids’ collection in another store around the corner, for happy “mini Felix” (and little girls!).
Seco — Armenia 1646
This cute store carries original rain ware in fun prints and colors. You will find patterned rain boots, coats, hats and umbrellas to help you go through a “bad” weather day with a smile.
Pesqueira — Gurruchaga 1750
Valeria Pesqueira has built her own world through her fabrics and prints. She designs new ones every season with a team of illustrators and artists. Her clothes are sensible, edgy, whimsical and fun, just like store they live in. Her kind of childish visual style can also be seen in alliances with brands like Puma, Lee and Cartoon Network, among others.
Bolivia — Gurruchaga 1581/Costa Rica 4698
Designer Gustavo Samuelian’s taste for masculine clothes and accessories is very manly yet funky, and you can see it not only in his collections but also in his stores (there are five Bolivias in Buenos Aires), which boast different spirits and decor styles.
I love the first one, located on Gurruchaga St., as it combines tradition with colorful and original details. The biggest one is on Costa Rica St. and is another space to visit. With a minimalist air, it is also full of details like pictures of Sid Vicious and Robert de Niro. This is the ideal place for boyish men. (Very attentive and handsome staff!)
Compañia de sombreros — by appointment, call 4831-4886/4833-9116
Since the beginning of 2000, Compañia de sombreros has been growing and creating classic and unusual well-made hats for men and women. They are responsible for bringing this fashion custom back to a city where it is still considered a little trend.
Chicco Ruiz — Thames 1780
A mix of store and art space, Chicco Ruiz is the home for the pieces created by Lourdes Chicco Ruiz since 2009. The most original shoes (and until not long ago, almost one-of-a-kind pairs) in Buenos Aires. Chicco Ruiz features the artisan’s work and lots of unusual details, such as pompons, raffias and laces, are part of each design. The shop also acts as an open space for visual arts (photo exhibitions and installations are often present), and you can notice it as soon as you look through the window, making you want to jump inside to see more.
Mishka — El Salvador 4673
This shoe designer brand is already a cult. In the heart of Palermo, Mishka is one of the few that is still standing strong after years of changes in the neighborhood.
Using untraditional materials and shapes, they never look after trends; they make them! Always ahead and with a retro touch in every design, they are the accessory that dresses anyone up. Prices are a little high but totally worth going to take a look at them and being tempted.
Marcelo Canton, the owner and designer of the brand, is an artist who, each season, finds a new material or theme as the inspiration for the next collection. You love them or hate them. (I totally love them!)
Photo by Santi Etala Photography
GIFTS AND BOOKS
Kabinett — Gurruchaga 1744
Kabinett is an avant-garde concept store that holds, like a contemporary/retro aficionado’s big armoire, design, fashion, accessories, music and books, all united in a white space that wants to give all the attention to the authors, artists and designers. You will find exclusive brands and products and even one-of-a-kind pieces by renowned visual artists like Martha Minujin.
Calmachicha — Honduras 4909
Do you love Buenos Aires so much that you want to bring souvenirs to all your friends and family! You have to stop by at Calmachicha! Here you’ll find items that are typical from Argentina with a contemporary design. A big store, industrial looking, full of small toys, games and bigger simple furniture pieces made with traditional materials or reflecting local customs like leather rugs, bin bags, puffs, handbags and all kinds of accessories with an old school/ vintage yet modern look that all your loved ones will like.
Pehache — Gurruchaga 1418
With the aim of offering a new concept to the Argentine creatives, Pehache is located in a traditional Palermo home where they decorated each room in different styles and perspectives. The feel is eclectic yet warm, and you can find a selection of classical and modern avant-garde elements from the best designers in the country.
With their unique approach to fashion, design, interiors and art, they invite you to take what you like and try on whatever catches your eye!
They also have a garden in the back, and during the warm seasons you can relax and enjoy the day with a selection of teas, coffees, juices, and delicacies under a pergola. At the entrance, you can see art installations, and they also approach creativity with monthly photography, art and sculpture exhibits, workshops, talks and special courses.
Tintha — Costa Rica 4902
In this cozy corner full of wood and papers of all kinds and shapes, you will find ideas that connect you with the pleasure of writing, drawing and collecting. Fresh, original and fun options, something between classic and modern. The art of gifts, good taste and details all in one little place.
Libros del Pasaje — Thames 1762
Do you want to practice your Spanish? Reading could be a nice way! Go get a book at this library where you’ll find the right book for the right person, whether it is a kid, your grandma or yourself! It is a beautiful space full of words and nice people willing to help you find what you are looking for. They host and participate in many creative activities — one of the firsts to do that in the neighborhood. They also have a café in the back and a music section worth exploring.
Sabater Hnos — Gurruchaga 1821
This is a tiny store from a family business in charge of making the soap industry a super fun métier. Sabater Hnos has been making soaps for around 70 years, but it was not that long ago that the younger generation of the family took it over and revamped it amazingly. The plan was to keep the old style methods of manufacture but add design, new scents (like green tea, for example!) and shapes to them in a vintage and very simple and curated space. They then opened their first shop in Palermo (they opened the second one in Barcelona later), which is full of colors and old family pictures that tell a little bit of their story.
Photo by Santi Etala Photography
Paul — Gorriti 4865
Pablo Chiappori is a very well-known interior designer in Buenos Aires who has created other amazing stores in the past, so it wasn’t a surprise when he opened one of the most beautiful spaces in Palermo.
Look for the rustic entrance that will lead you, after walking through a little fairy tale corridor, to a tea house (yes! Tealosophy is also a must!) and flower shop that welcomes you to the store. The store offers a collection of used furniture and reproductions of traditional pieces from old times, reunited in a hidden two-floor magical and cluttered space. They also carry smaller home décor items and textiles for all your rooms, convenient for the old school lover traveling around Buenos Aires.
La Mersa — Nicaragua 4835
La Mersa was one of the first stores in the neighborhood to sell vintage furniture in a more curated and decorated space. Until then, you could only find these kinds of pieces at flea markets during the weekends. So they had the great idea to create rooms full of beautiful ’50s, ’60s and ’70s treasures in all sizes, shapes and colors, giving amazing ideas to how to reinvent them. Go visit them and lose yourself in old times, and if you happen to throw a party while you are in Buenos Aires, you can also rent the furniture to set up your original retro rooms!
Wathemala — Guatemala 6090
Old style, antique, vintage-looking pieces for the table and more, all sharing a romantic and a darkish environment, delicately decorated to enhance the tea sets, crystal chandeliers, flower vases and candles they offer. The atmosphere and items harmonize perfectly with the very friendly owner, who will welcome you and help you with a smile.
Don’t miss the tiny indoor garden in the back!
Picnic was of the first companies in Buenos Aires that developed their own visual concept and applied it to diverse décor objects. With an aesthetic that has clear modern and retro Scandinavian notes, they started with small objects like dinnerware and pillows. Today they offer much more than that, even original furniture.
Original contemporary prints are their trademark, and you can find them and all kinds of home textile items and fabrics by the yard, also in their retail store.
Las Dimario — Roseti 428
The Di Mario sisters (Silvia and Cecilia) have been designing unique lighting and lampshades for a while. Being young and creative helped them to become well known in a market that, at the time they started, really needed some products like theirs. They use unusual materials and are always in search of ways to surprise you. They also design some décor accessories, mixing industrial manufacturing with handmade details and finishes.
They aim to give and receive the sensation of being full of light. You’ll find their pieces around Palermo decor stores, but you can also visit their house a little out of the neighborhood. Go take a look and enjoy!
Violraviol — El Salvador 5894
This store tries to evoke our old times, when we had the time to make things ourselves, go to the market, cook and get together. Inspired by grandma’s cooking and farmers’ markets, their specialties include oilcloth tote bags, “changuitos” (local shopping carts) and checkered home textiles for the kitchen and dining room.
Photo by Santi Etala Photography
CAFES, TEA HOUSES AND RESTAURANTS
Pierina Tea House — Gurruchaga 1875
“Life is short, eat dessert first” is this pretty and relaxed tea house’s manifesto. And it makes perfect sense, as you can smell their homemade baked pastries from outside! This recycled house of Palermo Soho has a calm and romantic environment. It tries to evoke your grandma’s home, full of antique furniture and dinnerware in pastel tones. They offer options for breakfast, simple and fresh bites for your lunch and delicious tea time banquets.
Bartola — Nicaragua 5935/ Gurruchaga 1795
This is one of the cutest little cafés/bars in Palermo Soho, full of crafty details, dry flowers, mismatched vintage furniture (that is also for sale!), art pieces made by one of the owners and delicious treats. They have two locations, both super cozy and ideal to have a sandwich and a natural juice at the end of the day (if you are around during the warmer seasons, you can take advantage of their terrace).
Oui Oui — Nicaragua 6068
In a very simple but super warm and colorful environment, Oui Oui offers the best lemonade, salmon bagels and French pastries in the neighborhood, as well as other great brunch options that you’ll find written on their chalkboards.
Stop by to grab a bite when you need to rest while you walk and discover Palermo. You’ll remember being seated at those pink chairs! It tends to get crowded, so they opened another location just on the corner (not as cozy but worth trying!).
Prospero Velazco — Arevalo 1947
French flair meets modern times. In this corner of a quiet part of Palermo, you can find delicious macaroons in beautiful colors and other treats to take home (or to your hotel room!). If you like a more minimalist and contemporary environment, they also have some tables to eat at.
Buenos Aires Verde — Gorriti 5657
The simplest but best place to eat vegetarian and organic food in Buenos Aires, all their plates are delicious, the attention is great and they even have great prices! They offer a big daily menu, specials, snacks, smoothies, a whole wheat patisserie and even grocery products to reproduce their plates at home.
Nuevo Amenazar — Av. Dorrego 2200
This beautiful bar/restaurant is ideal for breakfast or tea time and has the best “chocotorta” (a chocolate cake invented in Buenos Aires; if you like dulce de leche and super sweet pastries, you will love it!) in the neighborhood. It is very nicely decorated with a mix of styles that makes it cozy and fresh at the same time.
Krishna — Malabia 1833
An amazing, cozy and unique nook in front of the park that’s ideal for vegetarians/natural-ingredients lovers. Be prepared to sit in unusual chairs, listen to Indian music and eat tasty original plates that will leave you feeling full but very light at the same time, ready to keep walking the cobblestone streets of Palermo.
BAR 6 — Armenia 1676
Whether for breakfast or dinner and drinks, Bar 6 is a lovely option. The industrial interior and its double high ceilings mix well with the exposed brick walls and velvet sofas that invite you and your friends to enjoy a good time. They also have a small outdoor space that looks really nice in the summer evenings.
In need of flowers?
La Floreria — Cabrera 5975
Like flea markets?
Mercado de Pulgas de Dorrego
WHERE TO SLEEP
NOTEWORTHY RESIDENTS (or up & comers!)