Cobbled streets, mature trees, shotgun-style houses with tall windows and wrought iron railings, old walls covered in vines: this is the Palermo Soho of the past. The neighborhood, however, has managed to retain its spirit after it became immensely popular for its boutiques, bars, cafes, and restaurants. Palermo Soho represents the quirky, bohemian side of Buenos Aires.
Some of these lovely Spanish-style houses have been recycled into art galleries, independent and high-end boutiques, trendy restaurants, cool bars. Some are still family homes and some have given way to apartment buildings. Palermo is a highly desirable area to live and is well connected to the rest of the city by public transport.
Palermo Soho has an artsy feel. And it is highly Instagrammable. Every street is a riot of colours, whether it’s because each house is painted a different colour or because it displays a mural. The graffitied walls of Pasaje Santa Rosa, a two-block street between Gurruchaga and Thames, are a great example of local street art. And a fun place to pose in front of the camera as well.
Plaza Serrano (Serrano and Jorge Luis Borges Streets) is the epicenter of Palermo Soho. The vendors of the arts and crafts fair display a wide array of unique hand-made articles, from jewelry and clothes to ornaments. The thirsty and tired can choose one of the bars overlooking the plaza to sit, nibble, and sip. The place comes alive in the evenings, especially at the weekend. Bars stay open until late. Partying in Buenos Aires means staying up way past midnight into the small hours, even until sunrise. And it’s unusual for a restaurant to open before 8 pm, so plan to eat late.
Where to eat and drink in Palermo Soho
The list of cafes, restaurants, and bars is practically endless. They range from holes in the wall and affordable to high end and pricy. Choosing a place to go depends on one’s budget and preferences. Visitors can find anything from international cuisines to burgers to beef and pizza. And don’t forget the helado, Argentinean gelato made exactly the way Italian tradition dictates.
Freddo is an established chain of heladerías with a couple of outlets in this neighbourhood (Armenia 1618, Carranza 1869). Persicco, another established chain, makes, perhaps, the best gelato (Honduras 4900, Jerónimo Salguero 2591). Two up-and-coming gelaterias are Lucciano’s (Honduras 4881) and Guapaletas (Costa Rica 4675).
Some of the most popular parrillas, as local steakhouses are called, made the 50 best Latin America’s restaurants. Don Julio (Guatemala 4691) received this honour in 2017. La Cabrera (José A. Cabrera 5099) came in 33rd place in 2016 and was 19th in 2015. Expect slabs of beef cooked to perfection, tender and flavorful. La Cabrera is also known for the myriad little side dishes that come with the beef. La Carnicería (Thames 2317) is also a trendy parrilla in the area.
Cafe culture is an essential part of life in Buenos Aires. Palermo Soho has its fair share of cafes and tea houses to while away a few hours. Some of the most popular are Nucha (Armenia 1610), Cocu Boulangerie (Malabia 1510), Mark’s Deli & Coffee House (El Salvador 4701), Le Pain Quotidien (Armenia 1641), and Ninina (Gorriti 4738).
Craft beer is very popular in Argentina. Palermo Soho, as a trendy area, attracts new businesses and therefore offers a wide selection of cervecerías. Some of the older, more established brew pubs are Jerome (Malabia 1401), Antares (Armenia 1447), Temple Palermo (Costa Rica 4677), and Cervelar (Cabrera 4399).
Many hip bars help make Palermo Soho nightlife vibrant and fun. Some of the places to see and be seen include Victoria Brown Bar (Costa Rica 4827), hidden behind a coffee shop and which has a steampunk vibe. TAZZ (Armenia 17440 is a local classic, with four bars, sofas, foosball and pool tables, and terraces for smokers distributed in its three stories. Bar Sheldon (Honduras 4969) serves up craft cocktails and live music every night.
International cuisines in Palermo Soho are well represented. Taj Mahal (Nicaragua 4345) serves spicy Indian food in a country where food is normally very mild. Las Pizarras (Thames 2296) offers French food with Argentinean flair. Chori (Thames 1653) makes gourmet choripán (Argentinean sausage sandwich). Gran Dabbang (Av. Raúl Scalabrini Ortiz 1543) dishes up Indian and Southeast Asian fare. NOLA Gastropub (Gorriti 4389) serves homemade Cajun food, an unusual cuisine in these parts. Chinese cuisine is represented by The Shanghai Dragon (Aráoz 1197).
Where to stay
Accommodation ranges from budget-friendly, 1-star Palermo Soho Hostel (Nicaragua 4728) to chic boutique hotels like Legado Mítico Buenos Aires (Gurruchaga 1484), Home (Honduras 5860) or Duque (Guatemala 4364).
From street art to shopping, from coffee to craft cocktails, from empanadas to spicy curry, Palermo Soho is a destination in itself with something for everyone.