Palermo Hollywood Guide
Palermo Hollywood, like neighboring Palermo Soho, is part of the sub-barrio of Palermo Viejo. Laidback by day, it springs to life at night when sharply-dressed Porteños come out to play at the hordes of bars, restaurants and nightclubs. The area itself sits between the streets Juan B. Justo, Córdoba, Dorrego and Santa Fé/Carranza.
While Palermo Soho focuses on shopping, with a sideline of cafés and nightlife, Palermo Hollywood is all about satisfying your culinary and drinking needs. Scattered around an area of approximately 20 square blocks is Buenos Aires’ largest concentration of bars and restaurants. Find everything from traditional parrillas to Asian fusion restaurants, fast food joints to closed-door restaurants, secret bars to swanky lounges, live music venues and superb rooftop terraces.
The name Hollywood is based on the fact that the area is home to several radio and television studios. Look hard enough and you might just spot a celebrity while you enjoy brunch on a cobblestone side street or stumble out of a club in the early hours.
Palermo Hollywood can guarantee a good night out. What it can’t guarantee is to be friendly on your wallet, not just because of prices but due to the hundreds of options and temptation to keep coming back for more.
Things to See and Do
In all fairness, besides the boundless dining and drinking options, this section of Palermo doesn’t have any major tourist attractions. However, similar to Palermo Soho, it’s a nice place to wander aimlessly and admire the different Spanish-style houses. High-rise buildings are inevitable but for now the area is doing its best to stave off any Puerto Madero-style development. We’ve done our best to recommend a good selection but keep your eyes open for new cafés and bars, which seemingly appear on a daily basis.
Although technically in Colegiales, one place you might want to check out is the antique and flea market, Mercado de las Pulgas (Niceto Vega 200). It’s worth spending an hour or so browsing the hotchpotch of stalls that offer used and refurbished furniture, home décor and curios. If you plan to stay in the city long term then you might just find a bargain item for your new home. Fortunately, it’s still relatively devoid of tourists, thus maintains its local ambience. Nevertheless, that hasn’t prevented prices from increasing at the usual city rate.
Palermo Hollywood Cafés
Neighboring Palermo Soho may rule the roost when it comes to cafés but Palermo Hollywood is hot on its trail. Leading the way is Oui Oui (Nicaragua 6068), a charming French café that serves up superb breakfasts and brunch. The eggs benedict and croissants are of the finest quality. Check the café’s website for set menus, which include delicacies such as grilled salmon. For a hearty brunch and an array of baked delights try Pani (Nicaragua 6044), which looks like it’s been plucked straight from a home décor magazine. The girly interior, however, is just a façade, as the kitchen produces solid sandwiches and big salads.
If you like your baked goods – which most do in Buenos Aires – then pay a visit to Decata (Honduras 6100). The sweet goods are the stars so throw the diet out of the window and tuck into a chocolate cheesecake, pear and almond pie or show-stopping chocotorta, to name but a few. On a sunny day it’s easy to spend hours sat in the leafy courtyard. Another spot worthy of your pesos is the Italian-style café, In Bocca al Lupo caffe (Bonpland 1965). Everything is made onsite, from the pastries to the pizzas and pasta. If you need to work or catch up on some emails then there aren’t many better settings in the city.
Palermo Hollywood Restaurants
The restaurants in this part of the city are as eclectic as you’ll find. There’s an ever-growing offering of Asian cuisine, restaurants run by celebrity chefs, your standard parrilla and, for homesick Brits, even the chance to get your hands on some fish and chips.
There was a time when finding decent Asian food in Buenos Aires was a near impossibility. Fortunately, things are changing and the Argentines appear to be adapting their palates. And, if they aren’t it just means more options for the gringos. For those that like it spicy, Sudestada (Guatemala 5602) is the place to go. Think curries and stir-fries mixing Thai, Vietnamese and Malaysian flavors. The prix fixe lunch menu is excellent value. Want Japanese food that isn’t sushi? Then check out Fukuro Noodle Bar (Costa Rica 5514) for its ramen (noodle soups), pork buns, and milk and cookies inspired by New York’s Momofuku Milk Bar. Tasty Vietnamese cuisine amid a romantic setting is on offer at Green Bamboo (Costa Rica 5802), which, having been around since around 2011, is something of an Asian cuisine stalwart. It’s a little on the pricey side but you do get to taste ingredients such as ginger, coriander and lemon grass.
Along with the Asian food revolution is the city’s penchant for Peruvian cuisine. In recent years the two have been combined to create some excellent Peruvian-Japanese restaurants. Pick of the bunch is stylish and intimate Osaka (Soler 5608), where you can dine on exquisitely-presented sushi, ceviche, ramen and the obligatory pisco sour. A new addition is Olaya (Humboldt 1550). It’s the brainchild of Osaka’s chef but this time he’s branched out to include Chinese, Indonesian, French and Italian flavors with the Peruvian-Japanese fare. The restaurant’s funky, colorful décor make it a favorite haunt of Palermo’s in-crowd.
Staying on the international scene, Boteco do Brasil (Boteco do Brasil) is a Brazilian hole-in-the-wall restaurant that serves everything you’d expect to get at a cantina in Rio. Think feijoada (bean stew with beef and chorizo) and strong caipirinhas and caipiroskas. Drop in on the weekend for live music. Even the British and Irish are being showcased in this culinary neighborhood. Stop by Chipper (Humboldt 1893) to feast on battered fish, thick-cut chips (fries), tartar sauce and mushy peas. It’s not the cheapest fast food you’ll find but it certainly works for satisfying a craving.
Now, Palermo Hollywood wouldn’t be in Argentina if it didn’t have its fair share of steakhouses. Las Cabras (Fitzroy 1795) has punters waiting eagerly most nights of the week. The big, affordable portions – the Gran Bife Las Cabras is enough for three – and wine served in quaint ceramic penguin jugs are what people come for. But, you can also sample regional fare, namely from the country’s northwestern provinces. To experience a contemporary take on classic Argentine dishes then head over to Hernan Gipponi Restaurante (Soler 5862). Set inside the Fierro Hotel, the specialties are multi-course tasting menus and an elaborate weekend brunch. Try to book a seat at Monday’s One Table event when Hernan Gipponi himself – one of Argentina’s most-revered chefs – hosts an intimate dinner for 14 guests.
Still looking for something to satisfy your needs? If so then Tegui (Costa Rica 5852) could hit the spot. Behind an unassuming door is a sophisticated home-cum-restaurant that has guests literally salivating. The menu changes frequently but in a nutshell you can expect a seven-course tasting menu with wine pairings. There’s an open kitchen too, so you can watch the chefs preparing your dinner.
Palermo Hollywood Nightlife
Buenos Aires is a drinker’s and partygoer’s paradise and Palermo Hollywood is no exception to the rule. You name it, it’s got it: pubs; wine bars; lounges; secret bars; concert venues; and nightclubs.
For straight up beer drinking you can’t beat Bangalore (Humboldt 1416). This small British-styled pub packs in a good mix of locals, expats and tourists every night of the week. On offer are a good selection of beers and cider, tempting jugs of gin and tonics, and a menu of curries and Indian tapas. Pop upstairs to the restaurant area for a quieter dining experience. A couple of blocks away is Dubliners (Humboldt 2000), a favorite with the after office crowd that love a happy hour pint, or two.
Wine lovers should look no further than Bar du Marche (Nicaragua 5800), a French-style bistro where you can try over 50 different wines by the glass. Combine the wine with foie gras, grilled camembert salads or cheese platters and you’ve got a good night. Just for good measure, there’s a closed-door sushi restaurant on the second floor.
To get among Palermo Hollywood’s hip, good-looking crowd, make a move for Leitmotiv (Cabrera 5696). Opened in late 2013, this retro spot has hot girls (and boys) mixing fancy cocktails and artwork sprawled all over the walls. Try and get a seat on the terrace and enjoy watching the barrio’s action pass by below. Just around the corner is the ever-busy Sonoman (Fitzroy 1655). Ignore the bar at the front and head straight for the breezy garden. The well-priced drinks, decent cocktail card, good music and sociable crowd make for memorable long summer nights.
A long-running Palermo Hollywood favorite is Carnal (Niceto Vega 5511), perfect for a few early beers and tapas that unnoticeably turn into 5 a.m. finish. Snag a booth on the rooftop terrace and enjoy nightly DJs spinning a good mix of rock, reggae, ska, funk and soul. If you like your music then nip around the corner to Makena (Fitzroy 1519). Funk and soul features high on the agenda, with live bands and DJs most nights of the week. Keeping on the idea of live music, Niceto Club (Niceto Vega 5510) hosts both international and local acts. Its capacity of around 1,000 allows for intimate gigs, with previous performers including Salif Keita and Johnny Marr. The club also hosts the notorious Club 69 night, a colorful drag queen party held every Thursday night, after midnight.
To truly feel like you’ve made it into the epicenter of Palermo coolness, seek out the secret speakeasy bars. A pioneer of BA’s speakeasy scene is Franks (Arévalo 1445). Ring the bell at number 1445, convince the doorman you are cool enough to enter then make your way to the phone booth. Enter the secret code then watch as a door opens and reveals a bar of red-velvet décor and erotic art. The cocktails are great and made using seasonal fruits only. Dress to impress. Ferona Social Club (Humboldt 1445) takes on more of an underground house party philosophy. Again, ring the bell and wait to be let in then join the crowds in the dimly lit living room or on the rooftop terrace. It can get busy on weekends so try to arrive before 2 a.m.
For those that like to be in the thick of the action then Palermo Hollywood is certainly a commendable option. And, despite its noisy appearance, by day its actually quite laidback, therefore a great place to stay. What’s more, quieter yet ever-growing neighborhoods, such as Coleigales and Villa Crespo, are just a stone’s throw away.
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