Maria Esper­anza Coarasa Alvear Palace Ho­tel, Buenos Aires

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When in Buenos Aires, you have to try… meat cooked on a par­rilla [tra­di­tional Ar­gen­tine grill]. My favourite place is Río Alba in Palermo (Avenida Cerviño 4499; +54 11 4773-9508). The steak is ex­cel­lent, the space is sim­ple and they know how to at­tend to you. Not all restau­rants have that high level of ser­vice. This place is al­ways busy be­cause lo­cals just love it. The res­tau­rant that best shows off the city is… Tegui (tegui.com.ar), which is ranked No. 49 on The World’s 50 Best Restau­rants list and proves Buenos Aires isn’t just about steak but high cui­sine, too. It’s a seven-step menu and ev­ery dish is a plea­sure. It is art. When my friends are in town, I take them for a drink at… Flor­ería Atlán­tico (flo­re­ria at­lantico.com.ar). It’s a se­cret bar hid­den be­neath a florist so not ev­ery­one knows about it. I love the at­mos­phere there. If you want an au­then­tic tango ex­pe­ri­ence,

visit a… mi­longa, a tango bar where you can learn and prac­tise a few moves – that’s what porteños [Buenos Aires lo­cals] do. My favourite is La Cat­e­dral (la­cat­e­dral­club.com).

Tango shows are gen­er­ally touristy but I still like the one at… El Viejo Al­macén (viejoal­ma­cen. com.ar), which is housed in an 18th-cen­tury build­ing and nails the tra­di­tional feel­ing and at­mos­phere. This is an in­ti­mate space – only 50 or 60 in a room, with four cou­ples danc­ing and seven mu­si­cians. It’s amaz­ing.

For a busi­ness meet­ing, I pre­fer… Chila (chila web.com.ar). It has well-spaced ta­bles and very good ser­vice. They know when you’re hav­ing an im­por­tant meet­ing so they don’t bother you. The food is high-end steak. Buenos Aires is fa­mous for closed-door

restau­rants… pri­vate res­i­dences that chefs open for you to show their art. I love I Latina (ilatinabueno­saires.com). At $1600 pesos [about $140] per per­son, it’s not cheap but it’s an ex­cel­lent din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

The best break­fast is… the buf­fet at the Alvear Palace Ho­tel [a Lead­ing Ho­tels of the World prop­erty; lhw.com]. The pas­tries are amaz­ing and I like how they pre­pare the eggs.

And for qual­ity cof­fee, go to… La Biela (la­biela. com), a café in Reco­leta. You feel like you’re in 1930s or ’40s Paris when you’re there.

If you want a mar­ket ex­pe­ri­ence, visit… San Telmo on Sun­day morn­ings, when the en­tire neigh­bour­hood be­comes a flea mar­ket. You can find an­tique rings and watches, Art Deco pieces and vin­tage lamps. Be sure to bar­gain.

For de­signer fash­ion, head to… Palermo Soho. It’s ex­cel­lent for lo­cal la­bels, par­tic­u­larly on Hon­duras, Ar­me­nia, Gur­ruchaga and Mal­abia streets. For in­ter­na­tional la­bels, visit Pa­tio Bull­rich (shop­ping­bull­rich.com. ar), a small, high-end mall in Reco­leta.

If it’s rain­ing… spend the day at El Ate­neo Grand Splen­did, a his­toric the­atre in Reco­leta that has been trans­formed into a stun­ning book­store. And they have a lovely café­te­ria.

The­atri­cal Buenos Aires book­store El Ate­neo Grand Splen­did

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