Nov 072011
 

This guide covers neighborhoods, apartments, food, transportation, pilates, tango dancing and instruction, and shopping. My map of favorite things is here. Here’s a guide to packing for your trip. And please read my cautionary notes regarding custom shoes.Please note that this is my guide to Buenos Aires. It’s not comprehensive and it’s not for everyone. It’s for people who have asked for my personal recommendations. Things I like: frugal, non-touristic, hardcore technical tango technique from demanding instructors, seriously playful dancing, beautiful old architecture. I am willing to go out of my way and lose sleep for good food. The only bad experiences I’ve ever had in this city have been in taxi cabs.Must dos: Cook some fresh pasta, go to La Viruta on a Sunday night to watch the dancing (after 2am), visit Recoleta Cemetary, and dance at the DNI Practica on Saturday afternoon.

I’m sorry but I cannot advise you about black market money, but everyone seems to figure it out.

Neighborhoods

I’ve now lived in 5 neighborhoods: Palermo Hollywood (north of Justo), Palermo near Plaza Italia, Barrio Norte (south of Scalabrini Ortiz), Colegiales (west of Belgrano), and this time I stayed with Greg in Villa Crespo (west of Córdoba). For me the priorities for choosing neighborhood are: tranquility when I step out the door and good food shops. My recommendation at this point would be to aim for Barrio Norte. It’s still really a neighborhood. My friend Daniele has two apartments there (links below). The other issue that affects tango visitors is access to the Subte, which means you want to be near Santa Fe or Corrientes. Greg’s apartment is very close to Scalabrini Ortiz and Santa Fe with great subway and bus access to everywhere. For tranquility, Palermo Hollywood can’t be beat and I found a really nice Tango Hotel there.

 Where to stay

Daniele Perillo’s chic apartments in Barrio Norte:
Lunallena Tango Hotel Palermo Hollywood: lunallena2135@hotmail.com
Greg Davison’s apartment in Villa Crespo
If you want to be in a more central location, I have one very fabulous recommendation, right at Junin and Bartolome Mitre close to everything. It is gorgeous ornate French-Porteño style, with a dancing room.
Beautiful hotel in my favorite neighborhood. (I haven’t stayed here but I’d love to!) Hotel Costa Rica.

Food

Restaurants, coffee, and ice cream are now basically first world prices. (My favorites below.) But if you cook at home, you will eat much higher quality food at lower prices. This is part of why I recommend staying in a residential neighborhood with good butchers, pasta, bakeries, etc. Note: They may look the same, but the quality varies hugely. (I try one media luna and one alfajor to assess a bakery. This is a fun comparison. Fancy or plain stores are no prediction of quality. Some fancy ones are good and some are stale, some plain ones are amazing and some are awful.) I’ve listed my favorites below. I’ve listed these by neighborhood but I travel across town if necessary to these ones.

Note that the situation with vegetables and fruits is dreadful. If you shop at the verduleria on your block, you will see beautiful quality vegetables outside the shop, but you are not allowed to pick out your own and when you tell them what you want they invariably go in the back and load your bag with the very worst unripe or rotten specimens they have – nothing like what you are looking at in front. This is maddening! I’ve heard you can pick your own at the corporate supermarkets, like Disco and Coto, but I don’t go there, so I don’t know for sure. You cannot pick your own at the neighborhood supermarkets (called “The Chinese”). I buy my vegetables at the only organic market in the city, which is wonderful and worth the trip. It’s called El Galpon and it’s just next to Federico Lacroze train station in Chacarita (and one block from the gorgeous Chacarita cemetary where the tango musicians and dancers tend to be buried, since they couldn’t afford Recoleta). The market is open Wednesdays and Saturdays and is tranquil on Wednesdays. You don’t get to pick your own produce and you still have to stand in line, but they give you the good stuff! There are also *amazing* artisanal foods there that I have not seen at Mercado Progresso or at any of the ferias, including fresh butter, smoked pork, smoked mozzarella, etc etc. El galpon also includes stands selling raw chickens and eggs, whole wheat flower, organic sugar, honey, organic wine, good olive oil, and other pantry goods. It includes a little restaurant with healthy food and a small parrilla. (Closed both the Wednesdays I went on this trip, but looks to be in service, maybe only on Saturdays?)

Buenos Aires is gluten-free friendly. If you have any special food needs, go to your neighborhood “dietetica” (natural foods store). You can get sugar free and gluten free foods here (and at El Galpon). If you want peanut butter or something else you don’t find in the supermarket, go to the dietetica. The neighborhood cheese shops are a ripoff. They are selling corporate cheese, not artisanal cheese, with a lot of fanfare and high prices. If you just want plain cheese, get it at The Chinese.

How I stay gourmet-healthy while I’m in Buenos Aires: Every couple of days I stock the fridge with 8 or so of the best quality empanadas I can find. Some of the “verdura” ones have just one leaf of spinach, others have lots, so if you actually want vegetables you have have to try the empanadas at several places. There are also calabaza/pumpkin or choclo/corn. I also keep a supply of pasta on hand. (Sublime ricotta ravioli goes for AR$14 per caja/box, which is enough for two people if you’re having something else or a meal for one person.) Then I go once a week to El Galpon and buy a huge quantity of good vegetables. I cook vegetables once a day and eat them alongside empanadas (heated in the oven, not the microwave!) and pasta, cheese and smoked meat from El Galpon. Every few days I buy a few pieces of beef. Every apartment comes with a cast iron grillpan “plancha” for stovetop use. Tell the butcher you want meat “por la plancha” so that you get a kind of meat that is for quick cooking in this manner. One of my favorite cuts is Rinonada, more affordable than Lomo (filet mignon), which a small local butcher might not often have anyway (or keep for more important customers). The most common for the plancha is Cuadril, which is fine. At bakeries I buy Cremona, which is a really nice, rich table bread (it’s vaguely reminiscent of an american biscuit) and it reheats well in the oven for a few days.

Of course I eat lots and lots of pastries (“postres”) and helado (ice cream). The most famous two ice creams are Persicco and Volta, and they both have more and more stores. Everyone loves to debate which is best, so jump into the fray. Also at least once you should call them up and have some ice cream delivered. This is one of the standard luxuries of Porteño life, delivered ice cream. I don’t know why.

Vegetables

El Galpon market (“sin agro toxicos”): Wednesdays and Saturdays 0900-1800 just East of the Federico Lacroze Train Station. Website with infos:

Meat/Carniceria

Palermo Hollywood: Carniceria Royer Fitzroy 23xx east of Paraguay, north side of street, closes midday
Barrio Norte, near Palermo: Estancia Maria at Costa Rica y Salguero

Pasta (all closed mid-day)

Palermo: La Genovese, Thames 2080 at Guatemala
Palermo: La Reina de Junin, Paraguay 4606 at Thames
Almagro (near DNI): San Jose Pasta, Cordoba between Bulnes and Mario Bravo

Bakeries/Panaderias (and what I buy there)

No you can’t get coffee or sit down.

Palermo near Plaza Italia: Panaderia Piccolo Pane, Borges 2425 at Guemes (empanadas)
Barrio Norte: La Nueva Espana Bulnes 1633 at Paraguay  (empanadas, cremona, alfajores)
Almagro (close to DNI): Chocolate, Canela, y Cafe, Bulnes at Humahuaca. this is a cafe as well as a great great bakery (best media lunas de grasa in the city, great empanadas, postres .. try the “torte de la casa” it’s amazing!)
San Telmo: Andre at Bolívar 843 (haven’t checked this trip, but used to be my favorite media lunas and alfajores)
Palermo: Freud & Fahler, Cabrera 5300 at Godoy Cruz. Eat everything, especially the butter bread.

Restaurants

Traditional Argentine food includes pizza, pasta, and meat. Here’s the meat:

Parrillas – nontouristic

Favorite Argentine-style restaurants. Do try to get beyond the lomo. It’s great, but there are so many really interesting and different cuts of meat. I like entrana (it’s not offal, just a cut that isn’t translatable, cuadril is also great.

Central: Parrilla Pena (old fashioned simple $$) Rodríguez Pena 682 at Viamonte (good entrana and everything else!)
Palermo: Parrilla Don Niceto Vega, Niceto Vega tetween Thames and Uriarte (super simple $)   (entrana is a specialty here)
Palermo: Don Julio Parilla, Guatemala and Gurruchaga (old fashioned nice, $$$) this is a good place to order panqueqe for dessert.
Barrio Norte: Don Justo, Charcas Y Julian Alvarez (new, much more affordable than it looks $$)

Pizza

Pizza is a basic and important Argentine food. You should definitely have some, and you should have it like a man, standing up. All pizza restaurants serve a large assortment of slices which you eat standing up, using a knife and fork, with a glass of wine. Bring your own napkin because you will be provided only with small squares of wax paper for cleaning up.
Los Inmortales does NOT have stand up, but they do have the best green salad I’ve ever had in this city. It’s not on the menu, so you have to ask for “Ensalada verde”. It’s got tons of watercress and it is just what you need when it all gets overwhelming. In fact this restaurant is what you need when it all gets overwhelming because it is very peaceful and right in the middle of everything. Corrientes 1369 east of Uruguay in the Centro. The pizza is fine, but I usually just have the green salad and the “bread”, it’s thin pizza dough and just right.
ll Imperio de la Pizza, Av. Corrientes 6899, near Chacarita cemetary where all the tango maestros are buried (they couldn’t afford Recoleta). Great pizza, fabulous classic experience of a cafe with stations where you get pizza or drinks or dessert and eat it all standing up. (They have tables too.) Just across from Federico Lacroze station and one block from El Galpon vegetable market.
Il Cuartito is one of the best pizzerias. Talcahuano 937
Pizza Guerrin, Av Corrientes 1368.
Pizzardone, Soler 3999 (esquina Salguero). This is my favorite pizza in all of BsAS. I just order the plainest one, tomato sauce and cheese. It’s a very simple neighborhood place. You can just sit down here for a minute and have a couple of slices and relax. This is a place it would never occur to you to go into by looking at it. Trust me and do it.

Favorite fancy/nouvelle cuisine restos

La Vineria de Gualterio Bolivar, Bolívar 865. chef is argentine, trained at Ferran Adria’s El Bulli in Spain. Dinner is a 10-course tasting menu and takes 3 hours. You need a reservation.
Freud & Fahler, Cabrera 5300. beautiful experience and fabulous food. They have also a wonderful bakery next door.
Restó, for a dignified lunch downtown. Montevideo 938 in the Society of Architects building.
Las Pizzarras, small affordable casual neighborhood resto focused on seasonal food, Thames 2296, phone 47 75 06 25
Alvear Palace Hotel, Avenida Alvear 1891. If you want to do something luxurious and have a peek at the Argentine elite (from cattlemen to society ladies), go to lunch here. They also do tea, but the buffet lunch is much more luxurious and fun. There are only two reasons to go to Recoleta, this hotel (which has really great expensive boutiques attached) and the beautiful! cemetary.

Cafés

So you need to spend some time chilling out in a café:

Keep in mind that All the coffee in Buenos Aires is served with steam burn. You’ll get used to it, and you’ll even be nostalgic for it, like all sorts of other weird things about this city.

Argentine-style:

Las Violetas, Av. Rivadavia 3899 (Esquina Medrano) Soooo beautiful, air conditioned, tons of desserts, live music sometimes, spacious and serene, but full of interesting life to contemplate,
Café La Biela, outdoors under the trees in Recoleta. A classic experience. Nothing to say about the food (expensive) or the coffee (burned as usual), but you will feel like you did the café thing like an Argentine.

European/NZ/AU-style food, coffee (burnt), and ambiance:

Le Blé, Avenida Alvarez Thomas 899. Gorgeous food, great bread and pastries, beautiful space.
Oro y Candido, Avenida Alvarez Thomas 899. Interesting food, good coffee, beautiful space.

Transportation

Once again this trip I failed to make peace with taxi drivers, which is the only space in which I have bad experiences in BsAs. I had a guy make TWO wrong turns in my own neighborhood and then after I caught him both times still refused to discount the price of the meter. So I still want to avoid them as much as possible. Happily, the really biggest news about Buenos Aires is that there is now an electronic bus pass AND a reliable trip planner! This means you don’t have to hoard moneda, battle with shopkeepers over who’s going to give up their precious coins, or plan your entire day around minimizing bus segments. You can just hop on and off as often as you feel like it.

Trip planner: click “como llegar”. (This website is much faster and more reliable than in the past!) Once you enter your origin and destination, click the little lightbulbs next to each route to see it. NOTE that the top listed route may not be the one with least walking. Check them all to minimize your walking distance. I use this to plan out my whole day (with several contingencies).

How to get a bus card!: You will need your passport for this. The card is free and then you can recharge at a lot of kioskos (logo says SUBE). You can get the card itself at post offices (Correo Argentina) where you take a number and sit down to wait your turn and at some (very rare) kioskos. Just ask and ask ask and they will keep sending you to the next kiosko or locutorio down the block and eventually you will find one that has the card. Easier to go to a post office. But that one may not sell the credit so you have to get the pass and then the credit. Allocate about a 1/2 day for this project. 😉  I think the card works in the subte as well as the buses, but I didn’t try this. Also it’s good to still keep hold of a few monedas in case the card reader is broken in the bus you are using, but this didn’t happen to me, and I was sometimes taking 8 buses in one day!

Pilates

This trip I promised myself to find a pilates studio on the first day so I schlepped around to the EIGHT studios nearest to Greg’s house! Pilates is very infashion in Buenos Aires so there are lots of neighborhood studios with banks of reformers and (hot) housewives because, as one of them said to me “we women here do everything for beauty because we are desperate” … So it’s omnipresent and cheap. When I’m there I do pilates every day.

The max number of students seems to be three and you get lots of personal attention. The first trial (“de prueba”) class is free, and then you can buy some number of classes. They price it usually so many classes per week for a month. Depending how many classes you buy, it’s AR$20-30 per class, which is 1/10 the price for US/NZ/AU. If you are new to pilates, might as well just go to the place closest to you, which may also offer facials, massage, and other beauty services. The thing about Pilates is you cannot “drop in” for a chat and to see the studio. They are locked and they may be in apartment buildings with no markings on the building as to which unit is the studio. You have to call on the phone to make an appointment and be absolutely sure you’ve got the right apartment number.  I recommend especially two studios, both owned by people who speak English and (unusually) including all the pilates equipment, not just reformers, which is the case with most of the neighborhood “beauty” studios.

Mil grullas, Barrio Norte, beautiful studio in old building in tranquil neighborhood: Gascón 1454 at El Salvador T. 4867 2491.
Equilibrio Vitalidad Armonia PIlates, Villa Crespo. untranquil street, cramped floorspace, but airy and natural lit studio, high in an apartment building (unmarked buzzer) 10th Floor Unit C. Eva is a vigilant instructor and appears to be training dancers, not housewives. 4954 3057, 15 6 483 1194

Tango

There has been a lot of change in the last year and a half. I was last there exactly one year ago, and six months before that. I’ll talk first about milongas and then about instruction.

Women leaders

Of course the chance to lead is a bigger and bigger issue for me. I did not feel comfortable leading in the regular milongas, and the number of women leading there has not increased in the last couple of years. (One is still lucky to see one woman leading at all every night, two is unusual, and never beginners…) However, I was pleased when one young kid I danced with a lot gave me the lead a few times (but only at La Viruta). Practica La Maria used to be called a practica for women leaders. (I interviewed the organizers and wrote an article about them in 2010.) They had a moment with a lot of fame and attention in 2009, then removed the word ‘women’ from the title of the practica, moved to a better location, now run twice a week, and have far more women leading than before… Before, I found the room cramped especially since a lot of local celebrity men were there. This time, with more space, I didn’t mind them so much. The level of the women was great, and the atmosphere felt wonderful to me. I think I had some of the happiest most energetic times of my trip dancing there. The location, La Catedral, is a wonderful crazy place that is worth a visit in itself. Since La Maria is during the day I had a chance to take some fotos of the main room.

Queer

In my first trip to BsAs in 2008 I went to both La Marshall and Tango Queer milongas every week. La Marshall was mostly men and Tango Queer was mostly women. In 2009 and 2010 I didn’t manage to go to either very often, because they are far from where I stay and from the other milongas I wanted to attend in the same night. It’s easy to go to two milongas in one night in the same neighborhood, but the time to switch (0230) is the worst time for buses, so if it’s too far to walk, it means taking a taxi and the trip from Microcentro/SanTelmo to Palermo is a long and expensive one. I was not encouraged by my experience of the 2009 Queer Tango Festival because I was disappointed with the level of the women dancers. This time, I went to Tango Queer milonga twice (it no longer competes with the defunct Practica X). The news is mixed. There are very few women dancers there. Other than Mariana, Soledad, and the two women who’ve been assisting them since 2008, there are no women even at an intermediate level. A handful of beginners, which is less than before.

The good news is that my friend Diego Gonzales has been teaching in the queer scene and has had a marked impact on the fluidity and level of the men dancers. Most of the guys I remember are still dancing and dancing better, and there are a number of new very advanced men dancing beautifully (I didn’t meet them so I don’t know who they are). Moreover, they are dancing dynamically !!!! I saw the most beautiful man-man dancing I have ever seen just in the normal Tuesday night Tango Queer milonga. I am so happy to see a shift from the rough and jerky technique that predominated in the gay tango scene before. Watching men enjoying gorgeous voleos and piernazos really made me happy. Somehow the romance of tango is more convincing when I see men doing it together, than even the most talented young straight couples. I don’t know what that’s about. Maybe it’s about breaking the cliche… I just hope that women are able to find this too. As always, straight men and women were totally comfortable dancing at Tango Queer. Greg led and followed and the guys were happy to have the chance to dance with another experienced dancer, regardless of sexual orientation.

***Note that both of the La Marshall milongas have moved location and Saturday has changed to Friday. ***

Milongas

I go dancing nearly every night, in what seems to be known as the “joven” (young) scene. This is what used to be the nuevo scene, but nuevo (the word, the music, and anything that anyone might describe as nuevo dancing is 99% dead in Buenos Aires. (SEE my post about this, which needs a little update after this trip, but not much.)   “Young” means 17years-60 years. There are generally few elder elders (although they are invited to perform or come to see performances occasionally). But several of my regular Porteno dance friends who are in their 50s dance in this scene every night and they are not at all unusual. The embrace DOES flex during every dance, but it is closed for more seconds of the dance than it is open, everywhere that I go. There are some places and some nights where dynamic dancing is more likely to happen, but there is nowhere where “everyone” is dancing in a dynamic/ex-“nuevo” way. Practica X is no longer a weekly milonga, it is now monthly (CLOSED)… Because it has no reason anymore for existence…

In early 2010 the joven scene was organized with a lot of solidarity, promoting one event for each night of the week. Now there are many competing milongas in this scene. Sometime between my departure in May2010 and my return in October2010 emerged an anti-foreigner attitude, with an effort to create milongas for Portenos only. Anyone can pay and go inside, but at certain milongas you will not dance. And you may notice that that it is not because the level of dancing is so high.  The same people will be friendly in one milonga and cut you dead in another milonga. I do not believe this has anything at all to do with the issue of the Camponeato/Mundial (foreigners won the top 7 places in the “salon” category this year). There is no “crisis” of level with Porteno dancers, and they know it. There are more than enough amazing dancers dancing every night who could sweep the Mundial if they entered. They are not entering because like participants of any other activity, that kind of competition is not relevant to their expression or aspirations of the dance. In my view, the exclusivity in the milongas has to do with putting 22 year old people in charge of anything without elders to participate in their development. They are going to be very important, self-righteous, short-sighted, and a bit rude. As the joven scene has proliferated milongas run by youngsters, some of whom have been dancing less than three years, there is an unfortunate attitude — unfortunate for their own careers, for the tango industry, etc. etc.

Fortunately, since Oct 2010 there is now a reaction. I talked with a number of Porteno dancers in this scene (of various ages, and including international and local professionals) who believe that attitude is “feo” (ugly). Some of them avoid those places, and even better a group of Portenos have created a milonga which is explicitly inclusive of level and “nationality”. They even talk specifically about the “invisibility” of Asian dancers and their explicit work to invite and include Asians (visitors and locals). I invited a friend to this milonga, which is called “DiverTango”. She is an elegant, experienced dancer somewhat over 50 years of age. She didn’t know anyone there other than two guys I introduced to her, and she danced every tanda. That’s a welcoming milonga! (CLOSED)

La Viruta for me is the stable black hole in the chaos. It’s not an easy place, it’s not friendly. But it is free, in several ways. And it’s my favorite floor in Buenos Aires. It’s closed Mondays and Tuesdays (except when Practica X has monthly event on a Tuesday). All the other nights for AR$29 you get classes and milonga, includes salsa, rocknroll, tango, milonga, maybe two classes. I always have fun in the classes there. On Thursdays the price includes live music. You can go early, get a table, take a class, eat, get drunk, sober up, have a coffee, and if you wait around a while, the best dancers in the city (all styles and ages) will roll in after the other milongas to dance in the dark and knock your socks off. Sundays-Wednesdays after 1:30 it becomes free. Fridays and Saturdays after 3:30. Like at La Glorieta, you will dance with locals who have never taken a tango class and who see tango like Americans see rock dancing, just something you do, drunk, on the weekend (and they don’t do it well). Locals say La Viruta “isn’t a milonga, it’s a disco”. Which is the other sense of freedom, there’s an atmosphere and intensity to the dancing there, that is in my experience unique. You will see the most famous people in tango, and the hungriest young locals, dancing their hearts out at 3 am every night. For visiting men, La Viruta is famous for the most difficult place to get a dance, and for women it’s famous for the “sharks” (drunks, and guys try to put their hand in your dress – the only place in the world this has ever happened to me). The trick is to go with a group of friends, be patient, and slowly get to know people. It’s a place where now I don’t accept dances from strangers unless they look foreign. (At Villa Malcolm I accept all the dances, because there are never drunks or never-had-a-class dancers.) Horacio Godoy, the organizer and DJ, has one of the most open-minded attitudes to DJing of anyone. He might not play in tandas, he might play a lot of alternative music, and somehow the power is always great. Even on a Wednesday when there are only about 20 people there. And I like dancing in the dark.

My recommendations, in order, for dynamic dancing and social environment:

Practica La Maria, La Catedral, Sarmiento 4006 at Medrano in Villa Crespo Mondays 5-7 and Wednesdays 6-8. !!!!: the door is often locked look for the buzzer on the left side of the door frame quite high up. AR$15 includes mate and cookies.
Tango Queer, Peru 571 at Mexico in San Telmo, Tuesday nights until 2.
Divertango, Thursday nights at Viejo Correo on Diaz Velez at Parque Centenario
DNI Practica, Saturdays 4-7 at Escuela DNI (now with a great cafe!) still the friendliest and happiest place to dance in BsAs
La Viruta, Sundays-Wednesdays, Armenia 1366 at Cabrera in Palermo. Friday and Saturday free at 3:30 and open to 5:30 Sunday-Wednesday free at 1:30 and open to 3:30. Fresh media lunas Fridays and Saturdays at 4:30. Wierd but great Tiramisu every night. Check the drink specials.
Villa Malcolm, Cordoba 5064 at Thames, Palermo. Mondays/El Motivo and Fridays/TangoCool. Fridays are friendlier. Monday is no longer a practica, it’s a milonga, very scene, very hierarchical, but you can watch all the hottest dancers. They show up.
Club Fulgor, Loyola 828 at Thames, Villa Crespo.  Tuesdays/Practica8 Saturdays/Milonga10. Intimidating at first, but I usually end up having a good time. Big pain in the ass if you’re late and can’t find somewhere to sit, so best to go early and get a table.

Tango Instruction

I still recommend Escuela DNI, the school built by Pablo Villarraza and Dana Frigoli, but I recommend them in a different degree. Dana has now lost Pablo and the most experienced teachers, and therefore what they offer is more limited than it was, especially for very advanced dancers. For beginners, DNI offers the best and fastest foundation pedagogy and most sound biomechanics and I would not recommend anywhere else at all. For those who have never been there, regardless of level, I recommend taking two private lessons and attending a few group classes. If you are very advanced, try to get Dana, Adrian, or Rocio, but their teacher training is very consistent, so you can get the basics of their technique from any of the teachers. Also I recommend that everyone check out the Saturday practica and visit the building, because it is still a very special place which shows the result of practicing happiness even if you don’t take tango lessons there.

1011 Bulnes at Lavalle in Almagro
classes, shoe and clothes shop, and cafe open all day every day but Sunday

Fortunately, Pablo Villarraza is now teaching and his classes are small and intimate. He’s not very websavvy, so just contact him by his email at pablovillarraza@yahoo.com.ar to find out when his classes are. He is a genius about the body. Don’t miss a chance to learn with him. He doesn’t like speaking English, but he can.

Another long-time and beloved DNI couple, Pedro Farias and Julieta Falivene have opened a studio, conveniently located in Palermo, with group classes every day. Julieta was always unique at DNI because she was part of the Nuevo Tango scene from the beginning and she is a milonguera. She is one of the few teachers who has given me really robust technical advice for dancing with bad leaders. As a couple they are creative, fearless, and nonconformist. Since leaving DNI they have worked hard to enrich their dance, which is now far more profound and interesting. Pablo is bilingual, has been speaking English since he was a child. She’s fluent. They danced at El Motivo while I was there this trip and blew me away with how much they’ve developed. You’ll get all four dances if you use this link.
El Esquinazo Tango Estudio and shoes store, Gurruchaga 1218 at Cordoba in Palermo 11.4774.1823
The rest of my recommendations are people who haven’t yet gone international so much, but are really well-respected (and affordable) in BsAs. Some young and fresh, some have been around a long time. All nice people!

Tate Di Chiazza. I am dying to take classes with him as a leader. tatetango@yahoo.com.ar 15.54.59.10.45
Queer and otherwise, fabulous leader and follower: Diego Gonzalez  diegojgz@hotmail.com  diego_jgz@yahoo.com.ar 15 5471 3495
Pablo Rodriguez is one of the hottest things going now, and with reason. I’m crushed that nobody got a good video of his first performance (at Villa Malcolm) with spectacular new partner, Natasha Lewinger. Here’s a partial one with bad lighting but you can still see the way he goes to the ground.  To find his classes, ask around. (He doesn’t seem interested in using the internet to advertise.)
Pablo Retamar and Anita Monteagudo are grown ups, independent, and having good effects. Good followers technique and he dances with the ground. anitamonteagudo@gmail.com
Another experienced couple who are teaching regularly at Villa Malcolm are Damian Esell y Nancy Louzan. I’ve never had classes with them, but plan to next time, and they’ve taught lots of people who I like dancing with, so… Also I’ve seen Damian following in milongas, and I appreciate that attitude. www.damianynancy.com info@damianynancy.com
Finally, another hot local couple, Javier Antar & Kara Wenheim karawenham@gmail.com

Entertainment

If you’d like to see some local theater, check out the Ciudad Cultural Konex. Prices are reasonable. They have music, theater, and even sometimes a performance of and about tango, but part of the local discourse about tango, rather than produced for tourists.

Shopping

I’m only going to say a few quick things about shopping. If you want to see all of the resto, food and shopping infos on a map, you can view my googlemap of Buenos Aires.

  • For Men, I love the DNI men’s shoes.
  • For Women, VB, Independencia 398 in San Telmo. (former designer of Tango Brujo, which is now closed, but the designer has reopened her own store)
  • Women’s non-tango shoes but I think you should dance in whatever makes you feel sexy!:  A lot of cheaply made shoes in Buenos Aires, but Paruolo are quality and gorgeous. Lots of stores and two outlets.
  • See my guide to buying “custom” shoes in BsAs.
  • Gifts: Mataderos on Sundays for cheaper and more unusual gifts and a nice long bus ride, great music, food, and chacarera (folk dancing, done by the folk). .
  • If you don’t feel like going so far, shop at the Recoleta Feria Saturdays Sundays and holidays 1100-2000 for high quality but not touristy artisanal products with a nearby visit to the elegant cemetary.

 7 November 2011