The place to be in Córdoba is the bohemian neighborhood of Güemes. Speckled with early 20th Century architecture, Güemes has primarily been occupied by ‘starving artists,’ intellectuals and outsiders. Known for being an area of harsh flooding, the area had a period of abandonment until high river walls were put in place towards the end of the last century. Since then, artists have moved back, turning what had been slums into a trendy neighborhood. They’ve opened home decor shops and art studios, restaurants and cafes. Now, the 2×4 street layout is the hottest spot in Córdoba, rivaling the most expensive neighborhood rental prices. A local street art market (La Feria de Artesanos del Paseo de las Artes) is held every Saturday and Sunday from 6pm-midnight, selling everything from asado cutting boards and antler-handled knives to maté mugs and paintings. The daily draw, however, are the hidden alleyways which host funky clothing shops, cafes, restaurants, and ice cream stands. Galerías, as they are known, took over the back and side-yards of buildings, turning the narrow passageways into mini-neighborhoods.
Muy Güemes, Macacha Güemes, Galería Tierra León, Galeria San Placido, and Paseo Caribú, are just some of the galerías to choose from. Most restaurants see traffic during the mid-day snack of merienda, but the real crowds start arriving for dinner after 9pm. For merienda or dessert, hit Caribeo Paseo for a café con leche at Mil Grullas and then wander across the street to grab a mix-and-mash rolled ice cream of green tea ice cream, KitKats and almonds at Rolly’s Thai Ice Cream stand in the trendy galería, Muy Güemes.
Outside of Güemes, it’s easy to find what most people come to Argentina for: steak and Malbec. Pulperia de Achaval is a local favorite just outside of the city in Falda del Carmen. Above a creek, it’s spitting distance from a manor with open fields and a windmill. It’s a perfect place for relaxing with friends and a gourd of maté.
Argentinian steakhouses (and grills) are called parrillas, and an asado is a grilled feast, often shared with close friends and family. Whether you’re in a restaurant or in someone’s home, meat is prepared on a grill and served on family-style platters. The difference between Argentinian steakhouses and Brazilian churrascarias is the preparation of meat cuts. Brazilian churrascarias are known to serve all cuts shaved from a BBQ skewer, while Argentinians place different cuts (uniquely prepared on the parrilla) on serving platters for the table. In either case, meat is served in abundance and can be all-day affairs. Come with an appetite and make sure to use the chimichurri sauce.
As a travel writer, I’m always looking for quiet, cozy cafés to work from. As a member of the Remote Year community, I’m not alone. We always search for the best cafes in every city, and often, people travel long and far to find the perfect spot. Places like Sofia, Bulgaria and Prague, Czech Republic had adorable cafes that you’d want to move into. Now that we’re in Córdoba, Argentina, the coffee culture is not as substantial, but there are a few spots that stand out. One is a tiny café (and healthy restaurant) called Serendipia (serendipity in Spanish) with a simple atmosphere of hanging plants, small tables, and excellent coffee. You can stay here all day with your laptop and even feed your brain with healthy options for breakfast and lunch at very inexpensive prices.
On Avenue Chacabuco, Aquiles Café sports a hipster crowd and is also a great space to work from. The downstairs has tables, chalkboards and letter magnet boards along with games to help stimulate creativity. Go with friends to chat over coffee or take your laptop and work next to a collection of sketched-on paper coffee cups that line the shelves as artwork. (Food is limited to mostly pastries and quiche, fyi.)
Córdoba does not have a brunch culture, and it can be hard to find anything other than pastries for breakfast, but there are spots (including Serendipia above). Bruncheria (next to Casa Tomada galería in Güemes) is excellent for brunch food, a light breakfast, smoothies or pastries, and is colorfully painted and bright. On nice days, you can sit outside on the terrace with your laptop.
Córdoba is the second largest city in Argentina, and though it is much smaller than the capital (and its famous counterpart) Buenos Aires, it has a small-town University feel, a demand to be heard, and a need to balk at the status quo. There’s something endearing about Córdoba, and it’s a great first-step in learning the Argentinian culture, history, and cuisine.