Posts tagged cafe

A Grand Country Mansion

San Isidro, Buenos Aires, Argentina

By Roy Heale

 

Victoria Ocampo Mansion

Victoria Ocampo Mansion

Argentine writer and intellectual Victoria Ocampo, CBE  was described by fellow renowned Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges as La Mujer Más Argentina—The quintessential Argentine woman. She was well known as an advocate for others and as publisher of the legendary literary magazine Sur. In her long professional career  as a writer and critic in her own right she became one of the most prominent South American women of her time. Her long life—April 7, 1890 to January 27, 1979—was filled with awards and distinctions and she is interred  in the well known Recoleta cemetery.

Although she owned several homes in Buenos Aires, San Isidro, and Mar del Plata, perhaps her favorite was her summer home, a country mansion in San Isidro, which is now just a 15 minute drive or a short train ride from the heart of Buenos Aires.

DSC_6223 (1024x687)

 

Originally this was her summer home and today it is a UNESCO museum. The tranquil grounds are beautifully kept and the main floor of the mansion is open to the public where you can enjoy the period décor. There is a small indoor/outdoor restaurant offering interesting menu items at affordable prices. A nominal admission charge of ARS$30 for adults helps with the upkeep. It is a short walk from the Beccar train station or from the San Isidro village center. This is where Victoria Ocampo hosted the likes of author Graham Greene and politicians like Indira Gandhi. The restoration of this historic mansion allows visitors to step back in time and visit the library of her works.

 

The Gazebo

The Gazebo

The splendid gardens were created by Victoria herself. One of the lesser known facets of Victoria Ocampo was her love of plants, gardens and nature. She inherited this passion from her mother and learned the names of plants and gardening tasks at an early age. Victoria also introduced these contemporary style gardens in her Mar del Plata and Palermo Chico homes. She visited the major gardens of the world, wrote several gardening books, some of which can be found in the on-site library.

 

Outdoor Cafe

Outdoor Cafe

The Villa Ocampo UNESCO project was launched in 2003 in collaboration with the Argentine government, the Municipality of San Isidro, the Association of Friends of Villa Ocampo, plus many donors and sponsors. Under the direction of UNESCO the house, garden, furnishings, art and photography collections plus 11,000 books in the library were restored. The site was opened to visitors and aimed at a diverse audience offering a broad and comprehensive cultural program.

Restored Furnishings

Restored Furnishings

Open:

Wednesday to Sunday and holidays from 12:30 PM to 7:00PM

Guided Tours:

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday: 15:00hs and 16.30hs.

Saturdays, Sundays and holidays: From 14:00hs, every hour approx.

 

Music Room

Music Room

For More Information Visit: www.villaocampo.org

Guido’s Italian Dining Experience, Palermo Chico, Buenos Aires

Guido's Cafe-Bar

 

 

By Roy Heale

There are some well kept secrets in Buenos Aires and Guido’s Bar is one of them. This authentic Italian restaurant is well-known to local residents, but is off the beaten track for most tourists. With a kitsch atmosphere this wonderful Italian restaurant offers an array of home-cooked Italian specialties served by smiling waiters. The walls, which are plastered in movie posters and pictures featuring old school Italian actors, gives it a fun edge and a real—if not slightly over the top—Italian feel. It is a small cosy place with a few tables outdoors for patio dining. Reservations are a must if you don’t want to be disappointed when the house is full!

Although there is a small menu available, most guests opt for the chef’s set meals which differ daily. Dinner is a five course affair, including wines and soft drinks for around US$40 plus gratuity. To start there is an array of hot and cold antipasto—including a wonderful cherry tomato and bocconcini salad—with new and old Italian favorites to choose from. This is followed by two different pasta dishes with fresh home-made pasta combined with local ingredients. Then comes the carni—meat dish—and on this particular night it was a wonderful veal tenderloin in a light, creamy tarragon sauce accompanied by the best french fries I have had in Buenos Aires! If that is not enough for most appetites, then the dessert tray will top off the meal. A selection of home made treats included a unique Tiramisu, chocolate gelato, a pineapple cake, and a chocolate surprise. Throughout the meal there were bottomless bottles of excellent red and white wine offered, plus soft drinks and bottled water. The service is friendly plus unusually fast and efficient compared to other local establishments.

I can’t believe I ate the whole thing—a testament to the excellent chef!

Kitsch Interior Decor

Guido’s is located in the elegant Palermo Chico barrio at República de la India 2843 facing the Zoo grounds. It is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner but it is recommended to call ahead and check on the opening hours as they have a tendency to vary, phone:(005411) 4802.2391. Dinner begins at 8:30PM which is perfect for those who do not wish to eat late at night, but be sure to allow about three hours to enjoy the many different courses at a leisurely pace.

For Italian food lovers and gourmands this is an absolute must during a visit to Buenos Aires and now my personal favorite Italian restaurant in the city.