Las Cañitas is one of the many sub-barrios that make up the sprawling neighborhood of Palermo. It is bounded by Avenida Luis Maria Campos, Avenida Dorrego, Avenida del Libertador and Ortega y Gasset street.
The district is famed for possessing one of the biggest concentrations of bars and restaurants in the city, which give the nightlife of Palermo Hollywood a run for its money. A consequence of this is a large number of expats and vacationers residing in the area.
An introduction to Las Cañitas
Las Cañitas takes its name from a manor house that once stood between Avenida del Libertador and Luis Maria Campos. It is said that cane sugar was present in the Maldonado stream that runs beneath this part of the city. Adjacent to the manor was a road named Camina de Las Cañitas, which became the present day Luis Maria Campos in 1914. In its early days, much of the district was vast grassy fields used to prepare horses for races at nearby Hipodromo de Palermo.
The face of Las Cañitas started to change at the start of the 20th century when land was sold to allow for the construction of military barracks. By the 1950s, the whole barrio was deployed as a military training base, including what is now the polo ground. Today, the Military Hospital and Horse Grenadiers Regiment of San Martin on Avenida Luis Maria Campos serve as reminders of the military past.
Las Canitas received another facelift in the 1980s with the installation of modern apartment blocks and commercial activity. Its proximity between Belgrano and Palermo made it an instant porteño favorite.
Since the 90s the barrio has been recognized as one of Buenos Aires’ most fashionable and important gastronomical districts thus making it a frequent haunt of both locals and tourists.
Things to see, do or both
When in Buenos Aires, you won’t be visiting Las Cañitas to discover historical sights and museums but rather to take advantage of its nightlife and shopping. El Solar on Luis Maria Campos is an upscale shopping mall with local brands, including Ay Not Dead and Cardon, as well as the odd international name like Daniel Hector. Elsewhere in the barrio, especially in the streets off Calle Baez, you’ll find more clothing stores, including Etiqueta Negra and Vevu.
Whilst in the area, be sure to watch a polo match at the Campo Hipico Militar. The season runs from November through April and even if you don’t understand the rules it is a great spectacle to enjoy whilst mingling with the upper class. If sports are your thing, then cross Libertador to the city racecourse, Hipodromo Argentino de Palermo. The big race is the Gran Premio Nacional ran in November. For more exercise, tucked behind the racecourse is Campo de Golf de la Ciudad.
Nightlife and restaurants
The four blocks of Calle Baez running from Ortega y Gasset to Clays are lined with cafés, restaurants and bars of every description. The street’s wide pavements allow for plentiful outdoor seating with the activities running late into the night.
Van Koning (Baez 325). You’ll be mixing predominately with expats and foreign students but there is no denying the fun to have at this Dutch bar. The inside looks like an old sailors dive and the bar is well stocked with international beers. Drop in when the Dutch national team are playing to party in a sea of orange.
Chicha (Baez 358). Contemporary restaurant with a Mediterranean inspired menu and a penchant for mixing fine martinis. However, what really makes it special is the breezy terrace that provides the perfect hangout on warm summer nights.
Ceviche (Baez 390). Don’t be fooled by the name because, whilst the restaurant knocks up excellent plates of ceviche (a Peruvian classic), it also offers every kind of raw fish in a Japanese-Peruvian fusion. In fact, the chefs are constantly conjuring up new sushi flavors to tempt the discerning palate. The pisco sours aren’t bad, either.
El Club de la Milanesa (Arevalo 2870). You may have already had your fair share of this snitzel type dish; however, the ‘Milanesa Club’ does it with a difference. Toppings of cheddar and bacon, gruyere and rucola, spicy tomato sauce and mozzarella should help you rekindle your love for this Argentine classic.
Las Cholas (Arce 306). If you want value for money then the huge plates of Northern Argentinean food here won’t disappoint. Dig into the ‘parrilla las cholas’ that comes with bife de chorizo, grilled pepper and onion, and grilled cheese, amongst other things. Service might be slow but you can entertain yourself by drawing on the paper tablecloths with the crayons provided.
If you are the type that likes the quiet by day, busy by night combination then Las Canitas could be ideal. Its narrow streets remain largely traffic free during the daytime allowing you to escape the noise of nearby Libertador. The big attraction is of course the nightlife. If you do get bored of what’s on offer, you only need to cross Avenida Santa Fe to discover the bars of Palermo Hollywood.