Just before the new year 2011, we took the overnight flight from Houston to Buenos Aires (10 1/2 hours). Medication is a wonderful thing; I slept most of the way. Be prepared, those entering Argentina do not queue. The lines at immigration were horrific with everyone jockeying for position. There is a $140 “reciprocity” fee for Americans (since we charge Argentines to enter the US).
We stayed at the Hilton on Puerto Madero. This is the newest section of the city with the priciest real estate. It is reclaimed land (which was once under water). Much of Puerto Madero is covered by a nature preserve. The Hilton is a wonderful hotel with a beautiful glass-front lobby which still contained a multi-story Christmas tree. Each of the four glass elevators had a lit reindeer topiary on top.
Frequent travel has its privileges and we took advantage of Boris’ club membership in Hilton and had enjoyed complimentary use of the Lounge with free drinks, a buffet breakfast, evening cocktails and hors d’oeuvre. The Lounge looks out on a wonderful (and popular) swimming pool on the 7th floor. It was very windy which helped keep me cool. (You will note that there are no pictures of me at the pool.)
Our first night we had dinner on the Puerto Madero waterfront at Buenos Aires’ most famous parrilla, Cabana Las Lilas. I found the food wonderful. I am a Texas girl raised on a diet of meat, potatoes, and white bread, so I have eaten my share of beef. I had what was perhaps the best rib eye I have ever had. There was so much food. The guidebook called it overpriced. You certainly didn’t need to eat as much as we did, but none of the three adults in our party regretted any of the five courses and multiple bottles of wine we had for $200.
My sister-in-law is from Argentina and we were aware of their custom of eating late. At most of Buenos Aires’ restaurants the first seating is at 8 pm and they really do not begin to fill up until about 10:30 pm. Cabana Las Lilas was an exception. There was a long wait for a table at 8pm if you didn’t have reservations. We did and they seated us immediately. Needless to say, we made up for the lack of food on the flight over.