The best shops in Buenos Aires: an insiders’ guide
Four Porteños renowned in their respective fields – art, design, food and style – present their specialist guides to the best shops in Buenos Aires.
Finding the best shops in Buenos Aires can prove a challenging process. Away from the main shopping thoroughfares, the Argentine capital’s most idiosyncratic shops are often secreted down side streets and in quieter neighbourhoods. To help you find the city’s most characterful retail opportunities, four locals – all established experts in their fields – present their guides to Buenos Aires’ best shops.
Design shops: Ximena Caminos
Caminos is the Executive Creative Director of the Faena Group – encompassing the Faena Hotel, numerous art and design projects and the publication Faena Sphere. She was previously curator and producer for the Buenos Aires Secretary of Culture.
Juan Carlos Pallarols
I go here for vintage jewellery. Juan Carlos’s sculpted silver roses have become one of the most beautiful ways to show a lady you love her. Princess Máxima Zorreguieta and Liza Minelli both have one.
Juan Carlos Pallarols, Av Alvear 1883, San Telmo, Buenos Aires +54 11 4362 0641
Gabriel del Campo
This is a great space to enjoy a huge collection of art deco and art nouveau, from neon lights and large marble statues to chandeliers, carousels, historic motorcycles and ivory pieces from Asia. I go to Gabriel del Campo to buy everything from ancient ponchos to old Bolivian silver crowns. Gabriel’s staging of the pieces is magnificent and very theatrical.
Gabriel del Campo, Bethlem 427, San Telmo, Buenos Aires +54 11 4307 6589
Asunto Plus was the first bookshop in the newly built Puerto Madero district, where the Faena Group is based. I love the experience of finding special books and unique objects by the most outstanding Argentine designers and architects.
Asunto Plus, Aimé Paine 1165, Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires +54 11 5279 6698
At the SlyZmud gallery there’s always a lot of cutting edge contemporary art and design, in mainly small formats. Gallerists Nat Sly and Larisa Zmud attract rockers and scholars, artists and millionaires to this old workshop space. Their selection is excellent – I buy almost every time I visit.
SlyZmud, Bonpland 721, Chacarita, Buenos Aires +54 15 5412 9138
Clothes, style and accessories shops: Martin Churba
Martin Churba moved from photography into fashion in the 1990s, printing his imagery onto his first clothing designs. For the last 10 years he has worked between Buenos Aires, Paris and Tokyo. His Tramando womenswear label is one of the most celebrated in Argentina.
This is a really tiny shop, right in the heart of city. It’s run by two sisters, Eugenia and Mishal Katz, who create accessories using buttons, stones, crystal, vintage embroidery and good luck charms that they find in markets around the world. You can really feel the joy in the way they’ve assembled each necklace and bag from the antique elements.
Las Katz, Bondpland 883, Buenos Aires (no telephone)
Sanz is a sculptor who also makes jewellery and accessories – the handbags, earrings, pendants and belt buckles made out of leather, hand carved resin and precious stones here are a work of art. Each piece has its own name, and if you like something, but want it in a different colour or style, they’ll make it for you.
Pérez Sanz,1477 Posadas, Buenos Aires +54 11 4815 9190
Ramírez is one of my favourite designers in the city. He has a small shop in San Telmo, which sells his directional women’s tailoring. His signature style is all-black and dramatic. He has also created costumes for operas at Teatro, the grand opera house in Buenos Aires.
Pablo Ramírez, Peru 587, San Telmo, Buenos Aires +54 11 4342 7154
This is essentially a furniture store, but I love it because they act as a laboratory for experimenting with the most amazing materials and production processes – the Cosa collection features lamps and wall mirrors that are fringed and tassled like fashion garments.
La Feliz, Av Warnes 520, Villa Crespo, Buenos Aires +54 11 4855 6400
Arts and culture shops: Marina Charles
Marina Charles is one of the founders of graffitmundo, a company that offers guides tours and curates exhibitions of urban art in Buenos Aires. The city has one of the most creative and inventive graffiti scenes in the world.
Set in a former shopping arcade, this is a real hub of creativity filled with artists’ workshops, galleries, bookshops and independent clothing and design stores. It comes alive on Friday nights with exhibition opening parties on every floor. It’s the place to come to buy affordable cutting edge art.
Patio Liceo, Av Santa Fé 2729, Barrio Norte, Buenos Aires (no telephone)
The very talented Irana Douer is both an illustrator and curator. After years of working with artists all over the world she recently opened Ruby Gallery in the charming, low-key barrio of Colegiales. It showcases emerging Argentine artists work as well as ceramics, jewellery, clothing and fanzines.
Ruby Gallery, Céspedes 3065, Colegiales, Buenos Aires (no telephone)
Post Bar / Hollywood in Cambodia
This is graffitimundo’s second home: Hollywood in Cambodia represents the heart of urban art culture in Buenos Aires. Run by a group of stencil artists, the gallery holds monthly changing exhibitions from exciting urban artists as well as housing a huge array of artwork. You can find an original piece for a really reasonable price. Post Bar is the adjoining bar decorated with thousands of stencils. Don’t miss the terrace upstairs.
Post Bar/Hollywood in Cambodia, Thames 1885, Palermo, Buenos Aires (no telephone)
Located in a 19th-century house in the historic San Telmo barrio, retro toys, vintage furniture and stylish kitchenware decorate each room and it’s all for sale. You can spend hours browsing here. The painted patio adorned with cat and bird-like characters is the work of Tec and Defi, two well-known local urban artists.
Cualquier Verdura, Humberto 1º 517, San Telmo, Buenos Aires +54 11 4300 2474
Culinary and food shops: Sebástian Zuccardi
Sebastian represents the third generation of the award-winning, hugely celebrated Zuccardi family of winemakers. Zuccardi wines are on the lists of the finest restaurants in Argentina. Sebastian spends much of his time exploring the foothills of the Andes, looking for new terroir for the vineyard.
This is an inspiring place, full of great kitchenware and furniture, created by two photographers from the city’s Palermo neighborhood. Simple things are made with great and sophisticated taste. All the pieces are carefully selected and exhibited in a special way. You can find bottles, spoons, china moulds, iron pots, jars, etc. It’s an ideal place for kitchen lovers.
Enseres, El Salvador 5986, Palermo, Buenos Aires + 54 11 4776 0409
Compañia de Chocolates
The owner is the chef Daniel Uria, who graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and worked at Valrhona. He believes in rediscovering and recovering the culture of cacao by producing bonbons, truffles and bars with the best raw materials available. He uses “grand cru” cacao from different parts of America, especially Peru, Venezuela and Brazil. Each chocolate looks like a gallery piece.
Compañia de Chocolates, Rodriguez Peña 1847, Recoleta, Buenos Aires +54 11 4813 9434
The owner of this grocery store, deli, cook’s store, wine shop and restaurant is the energetic chef Donato de Santis, who authored the book, Cucinda Paradiso. He came from Italy and is today the ambassador chef here in a country that has strong Italian roots. The shelves are full of national and Italian gourmet products. The environment is very relaxed, with Italian music and an open kitchen.
Cucina Paradiso, Arévalo 1538, Palermo Hollywood, Buenos Aires +54 11 4770 9406
Winery is a family-owned group of wine shops, in different neighborhoods of Buenos Aires. It sells a wide selection of the best Argentinean wines. Look for our Tito Zuccardi 2010, a blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Caladoc and a little Chardonnay, which is an expression of my grandfather’s wine-making philosophy. Also: Mendel Malbec 2011, which is very elegant. The shops are modern, very dynamic and attractive. One of the nicest branches is in Puerto Madero.
Winery, Avenida Juana Manso 835, Puerto Madero, Buenos Aires +54 11 4894 82-5
By: MARK C.O’FLAHERTY