Built by Europeans, this sexy, vibrant, and supremely confident capital city is filled with seductive energy and glamorous residents called porteños (mostly of Spanish and Italian descent.) The food is innovative, the shopping ranges from designer labels to street hawkers, and if you're inclined, nightlife keeps you swinging into the wee hours. You'll also find an abundance of old-world cafés, colonial architecture, museums, outdoor markets, diverse communities, and antiques galore. Once a prosperous European-like metropolis full of tango halls, Buenos Aires had to endure a military government and economic collapse. Now back on its feet, a new generation of musicians, restaurateurs, designers, actors, and talented soccer players have rejuvenated the city, transforming it into one of the most exciting destinations in the world.
Dining out in Buenos Aires, like everything else about the city, is a passion taken seriously. Sobremesa (chatting over coffee and wine long after the food has gone from the table) is as much a favorite pastime as the meal itself. World famous beef is what you'll see in most restaurants, cooked on a parrilla (grill), or often over wood for a smoked-flavored barbeque. A typical dish consists of fresh-cut fries, steak, tinto which is a red wine and salad, followed by flan (crème caramel) with dulce de leche (a delicious and gooey caramel spread).
Bar Dorrego, on Plaza Dorrego, is probably the coolest coffee house you'll ever find. It hasn't changed much in the past 100 years and that's a good thing. Dark wood and friendly waiters set the stage for this historic café. The coffee is delicious as are the tragos (alcoholic drinks), sangria and snacks. When the weather is sunny, you can sit outside and watch the people go by on Plaza Dorrego, one of the city's classic hubs of activity, most lively during the Sunday festival.
The most ideal weather, and best times to visit, are spring (September to November) and fall (March to May). Also, most outdoor festivals and sporting events happen during these months. Winter is chilly but not freezing, and a good time to take advantage of the city's museums, cafes and theatres.
Buenos Aires is full of magnetism and it's well warranted. The dance halls really are filled with tango students every night of the week, the wine is delicious and cheap, the steak really is the best in the world, and the soccer matches are intensely passionate. And as for the architecture, the city boasts a thrilling microcosm of styles from colonial to belle époque to modernist. Truly, there's a reason for the popularity of this electric and passionate city.