Sorcha O'Higgins


Sorcha O’Higgins

Buenos Aires is a city for living. Weekday or weekend, morning or evening, Argentina’s capital is abuzz with joie de vivre, and nowhere is this more apparent than on the city’s corners. Yes, that sacred space at the end of every block where the buildings’ edges clip back at all four points, opening the intersection up for an urban hug. Street life is a great indicator of the spirit of any city, and judging by las esquinas alone, Buenos Aires excels at living life to the full. We round up some of the best junctions for any social occasion to help you live your best Buenos Aires life.

Best Corner for a Date

jufre julian alvarez
Esquina Julian Alvarez and Jufre, Villa Crespo. Ph: Sorcha O’Higgins

This junction has all the ingredients a perfect Villa Crespo corner should possess; cobbled streets, quiet roads, bike lanes and drooping tree canopies. It also has a double-whammy of perfect date spots – traditional cantina La Mamma Rosa and quaint wine bar Cava Jufre. La Mamma Rosa dates back to 1988 and is a favourite spot among locals, who flock here for Sunday lunch with their families, but on a weeknight it is an ideal destination to bring a guy or girl that wants to be wooed the old fashioned way. Wood paneled interiors, white-curtained windows and waiters straight out of the Buenos Aires book of old-school onda, La Mamma Rosa will have you Lady And The Tramp-ing your way through their delicious plates of pasta and playing footsie under the table-clothed tables. The restaurant is also steeped in local legend: sadly, the eponymous Rosa, was actually killed by thieves who broke into her house a number of years ago. If that’s too much of a tearjerker, skip dinner altogether and head straight to Cava Jufre across the road for the decent picada and great selection of wine. Choose between comfy couches, kerbside tables or seats in the window but watch out for the flirty waiter, he might try and steal your date!

Best Corner for Bars

guardia vieja billinghurst
Esquina Billinghurst and Guardia Vieja, Almagro. Ph: Sorcha O’Higgins

Often overlooked in favour of the hipper Palermos, Almagro offers a low-key and local alternative to Palermo’s tourist-led prices and patrons. Guardia Vieja has it all going on, and choosing between the corner of Bulnes or that of Billinghurst was tough, but Billinghurst took the crown mainly because of El Banderin, one of the city’s most loved bares notables. Dating back to the mid 1920’s, El Banderin’s interior is an homage to the devout worship of Argentina favourite sport, football. Covered with bunting from different soccer teams, El Banderin is the perfect place to enjoy a litro and some empanadas, in contrast to its uber porteño neighbour across the street, which is where you wanna go with a group of friends and order a platter and some strong Fernet y Cocas. Guarda La Vieja is just one of the bars on this street that have similar and confusing names, so make sure you specify cross streets to your friends or they’ll most likely end up at La Vieja Guardia back near Bulnes. Get to Guarda La Vieja early or you’ll have to wait, as this bar evokes 90’s nostalgia in both its vibe and decor and is thriving pretty much every night of the week.

Best Corner for Food

Esquina Francisco Acuña de Figueroa and Humahuaca, Almagro

There are many corners that could have taken this title, but this unassuming esquina in Almagro wins out because of the diversity and quality of its restaurants in the space of just one corner. Slow clap it up for arguably one of the best Peruvian restaurants in the city, so good it only has a few tables that fill up quickly, so be sure to reserve in advance. Lúcuma gives nothing away from its exterior, but the deliciousness of the perfectly presented plates will leave you rubbing your belly in satisfaction. Order the tamarind pork for something a little different, or go with old faithful ceviche, and they also make a damn good Pisco Sour. Across the road, local flavours abound in this most typical of barrio parrillas. A huge hit with both locals and foreigners alike, Lo De Mary is a no-frills joint that makes up for what it lacks in customer service (the owners are notoriously cantankerous) in mouth-watering meat and generous portions, so come hungry. A big mural on the Centro Cultural Teresa Israel depicting Che Guevara and accordion-toting tangueros will keep you occupied as you wait for your food.

Best Corner for Tourists

palermo gurruchaga y costa rica by Loving Buenos Aires
Esquina Costa Rica and Gurruchaga, Palermo Soho. Ph: Loving Buenos Aires

A stone’s throw away from both Plaza Serrano and Plaza Armenia, this lively corner has funneled the best Palermo has to offer into one happening esquina. The splayed corners of the buildings seem to pull back even further and good use is made of the extra space, giving the intersection a distinctly European feel and tricking you into thinking you are in Rome or Barcelona. Colourful buildings in pastel pink or green are paired with striped awnings and wooden chairs and tables, inviting you to sit outside and sip a coffee while watching the beautiful people of Palermo pass by. Don’t expect great food as this is more a spot to see and be seen, so crack out your best shades and soak up the ambience.

Best Corner for Trendsetting

Esquina El Salvador and Fitz Roy, Palermo Hollywood

There’s never a dull moment on this esquina – with bars, restaurants and plenty of dining al fresco, it’s definitely a contender for trendiest corner in the consistently growing Palermo Hollywood, if not the city. On one side is the ever-popular restaurant Las Cabras, whose outdoor patio is always packed to the brim with customers who come for the cheap eats as well as the buena onda. There’s usually a wait to sit outside to come ready to queue, as Argentines love to do. On the opposite side of the street, the sleek Negroni bar serves up potent cocktails in a classy setting, with the walls peeling back to connect the inside with the outside, giving you the full corner experience. Not exactly on this corner but deserving of an honorable mention, is tapas restaurant Esperanza de los Ascurra on Fitz Roy, also worth checking out.

Best Corner for Roof Terraces

Esquina Niceto Vega and Humboldt, Palermo Hollywood

This corner on the limit of Palermo Hollywood and Chacarita beckons those night-owls who prowl the clubs lining Niceto Vega on a Friday or Saturday night. Live music venue Carnal and neighbouring tropical pub Tiki Bar both have badass terrazas upstairs and are the ideal place to go for a few drinks before the night really begins, which we know in Argentina is not until about 2am. Overlooking Niceto Vega, this corner is also in close proximity to two other terrazas of note – Ferona across the road on Humboldt, a hook-up spot with good music and a friendly vibe, and Gull, a craft beer bar on Humboldt and Cabrera that has great burgers, a long gin menu and some cool street art on the wall above.

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Sorcha O'Higgins

An architect in her former life, Sorcha tired of building houses after 4 years working in London and decided instead to build a new life in South America. Armed with no Spanish, an unpronounceable Irish name and a passion for the unknown, she landed in Argentina in mid-2013 after a failed romance with Mexico, and hasn’t looked back since. She now spends her days dissecting her life with a pen by writing for various blogs, savouring the flatness of the city on her cruiser bike and spreading the good word of graffiti by giving street art tours.

Sorcha O'Higgins