What to Do, See, and Eat in Belgrano
Belgrano isn’t a neighborhood that pops up on most people’s radars. Tourists prefer its trendier Palermo neighbor while exploring, and locals and expats not from the area are more likely to visit it once every blue moon to stock up on imported ingredients and a good meal in Barrio Chino than enjoy its tree-lined streets and quaint cafes. Albeit not much in the way of a typical tourist attraction, Belgrano is one of our favorite neighborhoods for the sheer beauty of its historic casonas and cobble-stoned calles; the perfect destination to enjoy a peaceful afternoon.
It is one of the largest neighborhoods in Buenos Aires; its northern border is flanked by the Rio de La Plata and is enclosed by neighborhoods Palermo, Colegiales, Coghlan, and the Nuñez. It derives its name from General Manuel Belgrano, the creator of the Argentine flag. Current day Belgrano is mostly upper-middle class and residential, with many old homes converted into international embassies, and plenty of beautiful houses and quiet streets that make it a choice neighborhood for families with children.
The best sightseeing in Belgrano will be simply wandering the streets and popping into shops and cafe’s along the way. Start at Plaza Manuel Belgrano, where artisans meet daily to sell handmade goods. Peek into the Iglesia de Inmaculada Concepción de Belgrano for a glimpse of traditional late 19th century church architecture.
Next, wander up Juramento Avenue to Barrio Chino for a quick international trip to Asia. Barrio Chino (Spanish version of Chinatown) is small in size but strong in character. It consists of about 100 shops and restaurants located in about 4 blocks beginning at Arribeños street where a miniature Chinese gate stands, the requisite symbol of Chinatowns all over the world. Eat at a restaurant (more on that later), shop for cheap foreign goods from all over the Asian continent at the supermarket, and immerse yourself in the unique Argentine-Chinese culture.
foods only found in Chinatown
Futbol fans will not want to miss a visit to the Club Atletico River Plate Stadium, fittingly called El Monumental. Bordering Belgrano and Nuñez, the ginormous stadium is home to the legendary River Plate team. Stop by the River Museum to learn the history of the team and stadium and take a tour of the stadium. The stadium also hosts special events and concerts.
Going out to eat is a great reason to head to Belgrano. Restaurants in Belgrano encompass a range of cuisines, with a handful of great Chinese, Korean and Japanese restaurants all within a short distance of one another. The jackpot in Belgrano is truly found in its plentiful array of Asian restaurants. For authentic Japanese food in a homey setting, check out Niji. Niji is an authentic izakaya style restaurant with fresh sushi and typical Japanese dishes like gyoza dumplings and grilled octopus made by a mother daughter duo. The best Korean BBQ outside of Bajo Flores is found at BBQ Town in Barrio Chino. BBQ Town is a family owned restaurant of Korean and Taiwanese descent that have installed the excitement of table barbecuing in more accessible Barrio Chino. Meals are a flat rate per person and include unlimited meats to grill, soups, rice and noodle dishes, kimchi, and even oysters! Want to actually eat Chinese food in Barrio Chino? Check out Hong Kong Style, a Chinese restaurant that offers a huge variety of Chinese food from all across the country and Hong Kong, including a separate Dim Sum menu! Or saddle up to the counter at the neighborhood’s largest grocery stores, Asia Oriental.
plates for days at BBQ Town
Representing Latin American cuisine, Primavera Trujillana is an excellent example of Peruvian food done right in Buenos Aires. Affordable prices, small but lively ambiance, and the best of what Peruvian food offers- ceviche, chicken and beef rice dishes, and one strong pisco sour. If you are looking for a mix of Peruvian and Japanese (also known as nikkei), the newly opened Paru in Bajo Belgrano has a fantastic selection of sushi, tiraditos (try the octopus) and ceviche – not to mention a lovely selection of pisco cocktails.
tiradito de pulpo at Paru
After you’ve gotten your fill of international cuisine, it might be time to return to the Argentine classics: parrilla and pizza. El Pobre Luis is one of the best parrillas in the city, complete with the obligatory futbol memorabilia adorning the walls. If you are craving pizza but are tired of the deep dish pizzas found on Avenida Corrientes, La Mas Querida is a phenomenal pizza a la parrilla joint. Owner Buby Van Asperen has created a cozy atmosphere in the small restaurant and uses creative ingredients to create delicious rectangular pizzas cooked quickly on the parrilla grill. Make sure to ask for the 3 special sauces served on the side! If you are looking for fine dining, Pura Tierra is one of the top rated restaurants in Latin America. Chef Martin Molteni blends flavors from Patagonia to La Pampa, using his signature clay oven to cook the majority of dishes. He keeps ingredients fresh by changing the 6 and 8 course tasting menu every season.
a typical spread at El Pobre Luis
Although Belgrano doesn’t necessarily boast the same quantity of bars as Palermo, there are a select few that make a night out in Belgrano a must-do for any local or traveler. Cocktails galore can be found at MAD. Bowtie-wearing, mustache-trimmed bartenders create unforgettable drinks like the Dreamer, made with dark rum, white wine, bitters, and fresh thyme. MAD is a great option for a special Happy Hour with friends. Aldonza is Bohemian, unpretentious, and offers a wide selections of drinks at a fair price- everything to love about a bar. Upstairs is also a cultural center with art exhibits and live shows. Buenos Aires is known for its speakeasies and Belgrano is home to one of the best, Puerta Uno. For something a bit fancier, Casa Babel is a highend version of your standard cultural center. This gorgeous old home has been remodeled into a multispace with film, music and food events, and an outdoor terrace for enjoying dinner and drinks. Puerta Uno is hidden behind a black door with no sign, but saves the best for the inside. The plush bar is made up of a few small rooms and an outside area, but is still intimate enough for date night. Local DJs spin on Thursday nights, so get your groove on to funky house music.
photo courtesy of MAD Facebook
The best art in Belgrano isn’t found in a gallery, but rather on the street. Some of the best architecture in the city can be found in Belgrano. Beautiful homes, many of which are fantastic examples of 18th and 19th century homes built in the area, can be found on two streets on the opposite ends of the neighborhood: calle Malasia and Av. Melian. Spot architectural influences from Italy, France, Spain, and even the Netherlands. Many of the homes on calle Malasia were built in the late 1800s to early 1900s and have aged well with their charming stonework, impressive doorways and ivy laden exteriors. Large green trees shade the sidewalk, conspicuously dog dropping free (a rarity in Buenos Aires).
gardens hidden inside the Museo Larreta; source Agenda Cultural Buenos Aires
Two museums to note are actually historical art museums, the Museo Larreta and Museo Sarmiento. Museo Larreta is based in the former home of writer Enrique Larreta. The home is a neoclassical mansion surrounded by andalucian garden. Exhibits include works by Larreta and his influences from Spain and Argentina. Museo Sarmiento resides in the former home of the Municipality of Belgrano, built by architect Antonio Buschiazzo and inaugurated on December 8, 1872. Argentine president Avellaneda and the National Congress held sessions between June and September 1880, but it was later declared a Historical Monument. The museum holds artifacts, paintings, and library of Domingo Sarmiento, former Argentine President. There are also temporary collections that rotate frequently.