Buenos Aires – Palermo – staying in Palermo Zoológico

Palermo is the largest district in central Baires (city map here), so large that it is often divided into several sub-districts (barrio map here). My employer currently puts us in Palermo Zoológico, the area just east from the zoo, which sometimes gets lumped in with Palermo Nuevo. It’s a safe, leafy and quite well-to-do area with a few decent bars and restaurants. The more lively areas of Palermo Soho and Palermo Hollywood (click on the Palermo link for an index of posts) are only about twenty minutes’ walk.

From 2018 we have stayed at the Awwa Suites www.awwasuites.com at 3370 Lafinur which for logistical reasons is handily located just off Avenida del Libertador. It’s a little different from a hotel in that there is an equipped kitchen in the room so you can cook for yourself. Breakfast (not too bad by South American standards) is delivered to your room. There’s also a small plunge pool and spa located in the rather gloomy basement.

Best of all, the Awwa is right next door to this fantastic restaurant…

Mishiguene (High Intermediate A), 3368 Lafinur, mishiguene.com

This is an upscale Jewish restaurant featuring Ashkenazi, Sephardic, Israeli and Middle Eastern dishes; everything from Polish borscht to Moroccan lamb to Roman artichokes. In 2017 it made it to the list of Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants The name, pronounced /mish IG u:nei/ means ‘a loveably crazy person’ in Yiddish.

I’ve been twice as a single diner and loved it both times, but somehow managed to lose most of my photos and notes, sorry! They must have been good nights. One dish etched on my memory however is their deconstructed Babaganoush where the roasted aubergine is kept whole and the tahini sauce is used as decoration (A+). This dish is typical of the restaurant’s approach; the application of nouvelle techniques to traditional Jewish recipes.

The lamb tajine with couscous, pumpkin mash, beetroot leaf, smoked aubergine, preserved lemons and confit garlic is a great choice for your main.

I remember the Pastrami on the bone was really good too (B+) and the wines were excellent (A/B).

For dessert, the seasonal fruits on a bed of grated chocolate were great.

Both times I sat at the bar and chatted with the gregarious bartenders but if there’s enough of you (eight I think) you can book the chef’s table which is right next to the kitchen. I’m dying to do this next time as the chefs explain the food as they serve it to you. My friend Nicky also loves it here…

Nicky J: Our last supper at Mishiguene was a triumph. We took the advice of the sommelier for a very deep, dry white and had the most delicious Sauvignon Blanc, the cork alas buried deep in my luggage! It was about 800 pesos. We shared the fabulous Babaganoush, an amazing baked cheese and spinach creation I think they might have called Borek. And the triumph this evening, although I planned it the first time, was the lamb tagine’ but not as we know it. Definitely have the pastrami if it’s on. Avoid the gefilte fish as it’s dry, and the fishballs, which were dull and I’d pass in the quail which was a bare mouthful with a lot of pearl barley.

You can always count on Nicky to find the good stuff! Mishiguene is a great restaurant, do go.

Other places I like in the neighbourhood include Guido’s Bar (High Elementary B) at 2843 República de la India. I can’t speak for the food as I haven’t tried it (odds on it’s not very good like most Italian food here, so keep it simple is my advice) however this atmospheric Italian restaurant does have great homemade limoncello so I like to stop in for a nightcap on the way back from Palermo Soho.

Also Temple Craft Botánico encasa.temple.com.ar (High Elementary B+) at 3901 Avenida Cerviño, is a good spot for hipster craft beers.

To change money, walk the short distance to the Western Union Palermo casa de cambio (bureau de change) casa-de-cambio-palermo.negocio.site at 2426 Thames in Palermo Soho. There are others nearer the hotel but this is the most reliable place with the best rates in my experience.

Somewhere along Lafinur street there is a launderette which colleagues tell me does a good job.

There are lots of good walks to be had around Palermo Zoológico (see also my coming La Isla post). Just on the other side of Avendia del Libertador is the section of the Bosques de Palermo (Palermo Woods) www.jardinjapones.org.ar which contains the Jardín Japonés (Japanese Gardens).

For a nominal fee (€200 in 2018) you can wander around the classical garden which is laid out with koi ponds, wooden bridges and staggered walkways (to confuse evil spirits).

You can eat fairly good Japanese food at the Restaurant Jardín Japonés which is located in the gardens but you may have to wait a short while to be seated.

The gardens are run by the Fundación Cultural Argentino Japonesa which promotes other Japanese cultural activities. The Japanese garden centre next door to the restaurant has some lovely blooms on display.

It’s a pleasant spot to kill a couple of hours.

However, if you want some more exciting nightlife, then head over to Palermo Soho, next…

Leave a Reply