Buenos Aires: Sunday market at San Telmo, La Boca, and Taxi Scams

The next morning, we had breakfast in the hotel which was free for being an IHG diamond member. The breakfast spread was okay with some local specialties.

The view from our table urggggg, I rather they put up a painted wall instead!

After breakfast, we walked over to the famous Sunday market at San Telmo. The whole avenue closed down for the street market filled with vendors selling handmade crafts!

Figures carved out from a match stick, very artistic! Price ranges from 900 pesos for a single figure like a soccer player or 1800 pesos for a pair of tango dancers, and goes up for more complicated scenes. We bought 3 home to add them to our collection!

Graphical tiles:

Tango performers of course!

Lightbulbs with different cute stuff inside…I got an origami one, a hot air balloon one, and one with lots of balloons pulling up a house 😀

Besides the tents, there are stores along the street selling souvenirs and antiques as well.

After checking out the tents all the way to the end of the avenue and then walking back up, it was time for lunch. We were craving for Asian food so we searched nearby and found a Japanese restaurant – Furaibo that has good ratings. When we got there, the first thing we saw walking up to the restaurant was this temple!

The waiter said reservations only and as we were about to leave, the owner who is Japanese said okay and got us a table.

Asparagus with mayo…I guess asparagus is popular in Buenos Aires?

We ordered so many appetizers to try! The fried chicken was crispy:

The egg rolls were different but pretty good:

The gyoza was different but I don’t like the taste of the fillings.

A mix of sushi that I didn’t try as I am not a raw seafood person except for Hawaiian poke.

I ordered the ramen and the bowl was small…

The noodle was too thick as ramen noodle -.- The broth was not good, the meat was so dry, oh my!

Overall, the appetizers were good but the main dishes were disappointing! It cost us 28017 pesos. After lunch, we took the taxis to La Boca known for its colorful shacks. The neighborhoods surrounding La Boca are not safe so always use public transportation or taxi to get there and stay within the touristy area! Lots of shops and restaurants in La Boca.

The famous Caminito building is where tourists queue up to take photos. There was a person renting costumes so tourists can dress up and pose for their photos. The lighting was really bad in the afternoon when we got there, the building was in shadow.

The colorful shacks and houses street of La Boca:

The majority of the taxi in Buenos Aires looks like this with a taxi license number and the company name.

Mafalda, an Argentine comic strip, you can find her character in many souvenirs, t-shirts, and statues.

Shops, shops, and shops that are selling similar items.

I like the souvenirs from the Sunday market, those are handmade and special, while most of the souvenirs in La Boca are mass-production cheap stuff.

Tango dancers at one of the restaurants, La Boca is very lively during the day.

Back to the iconic building but still lots of tourists!

Love that Jacaranda’s purple flowers.

After La Boca, we took the taxis to Don Julio, rated the top 50 restaurants in the world, a famous Argentian steakhouse. We want to make sure we are not late so we got there early thinking to hang out at one of the nearby cafe shops. From La Boca to Don Julio, our taxi cost 1600 pesos whereas the one Judy, Peter, and Jeffrey took was 4000 pesos!!! Their taxi had the meter on, started at the same rate, we left and arrived around the same time but what a huge difference in the fare! They didn’t pay attention and didn’t realize it until they got off and asked us how much we paid for our ride!!!

We hang out at a cafe next to the restaurant and got some coffee drinks. At 7, we walked over and there was already a line of people. I made the reservation online 2.5 months before when their booking calendar opened up for our date, I have read that people had waited hours or even been turned away so make a reservation in advance!

While waiting for our table to be ready, they were hanging out free champagne! I don’t drink alcohol so not for me.

Their menu, note that due to the high inflation in Argentina, menu prices constantly adjusting so that is the reason you often don’t see the menu prices posted online. The waiters and waitress speak good English.

The Ojo (rib eye) is highly recommended so we all ordered that! At first, we ordered one steak for each and the waiter said that will be way too much, he recommended 3 steaks and he was right!

The atmosphere inside has its character.

At the open kitchen/grill, you can see the high quality meats they have for the day.

The freshly baked bread was good.

We ordered a mix of sausages to try and was enough for us to each have a few bites to try as we are not sausage people. Those were good, I liked the one that’s spicy.

Even the fries were great!

I never like zucchini but their grilled zucchini was absolutely delicious!!! I don’t know if it was the way they grilled or the sauce they put that made the difference!

Grilled asparagus, see I told you, asparagus in Argentina is popular!

The rib-eye steaks were grilled to perfection! The waiter split the 3 steaks among the 5 of us and was just the right portion. It was tender, juicy, and taste just right!!!

We were so full but room for dessert, their homemade ice cream. We ordered different flavors to try out…there was milk, Dulce de Leche, almond, and lemon I think. We all agreed that the best was the one I ordered – milk. The Dulce de Leche was too sweet, the almond was very heavy almond taste so if you like almond order that.

The dinner total was 58300 pesos including 10% tips.

After dinner, we took the taxis back to our hotel. After what happened to our friends’ taxi, I was extra cautious and kept my eyes on the meter, guess what, it jumped extraordinarily fast!!! I knew something wasn’t right after I had my eyes on the meter for a few minutes and I messaged our friends who were in another taxi that we got into a scamming taxi! What should we do? We couldn’t spot a place along the route to get off and it was at night. Plus it wasn’t worth the risk to get off. Our taxi cost ended up being 3000 pesos while our friends’ was 1200 pesos, crazy and frustrating!!! To make myself feel better, 1800 pesos was less than a $5 difference so it was not like tens or hundreds of dollars that we got scammed. It wasn’t like we made a stupid decision to get scammed, the taxi looked exactly the same as the ones who rode in numerous times so there was no way to tell the difference. Because we knew it was a scamming taxi, we took note of the taxi’s license number and the company. When we got back to the hotel, we told the concierge about it and he said to report it to the taxi company on their website. I filed a complaint and the taxi company responded that they’ll take action. Of course, I won’t know if they actually did so I want to spread awareness. Keep your eyes on the meter and if something is not right, take note of the taxi’s license number and company name to report it. Use Cabify, we were there during the World Cup so it didn’t work out but other times should work fine!

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