San Antonio de Areco is a city in northern Buenos Aires Province, Argentina. It is located on the Areco River 113 km (70 mi) away from Buenos Aires city, the country’s capital.
San Antonio de Areco was founded in 1730, and has been declared city of historic national interest by the Argentine Government and is recognized for being the home of the Museo Gauchesco Ricardo Güiraldes. Each year in November, the city holds the Día de la Tradición (Tradition Day) gaucho celebration.
The town welcomes many day-tripping porteños (Buenos Aires residents), who come for the peaceful atmosphere, traditional food, picturesque streets and some boutique hotels nearby.
Where to stay
We stayed in one of the most popular boutique hotels (also called “hotel de campo“, also known as “finca“, a piece of rural or agricultural land, typically with a cottage, farmhouse or estate building present).
It is called Pampas de Areco Resort de Campo & Spa and it is worth visiting. With a classic décor and hardwood floors, the rooms are super spacious and comfortable with lovely garden views.
Guests can enjoy the property’s pool and ample spa facilities, including a hot tub, sauna, fitness centre and massage treatments upon request. Note that the gym is quite small and that the outdoor pool next to the spa (not the main one) was not flies-free (although acceptable anyway).
Other recommended accommodations in the area include:
Best bars (pulperías) in San Antonio De Areco
Pulperia was the name given to company stores and dining facilities in parts of South America. It started in the industries that extracted sodium nitrate from caliche deposits between 1850 and 1930 in Northern Chile.
The term was then used in the Spanish colonial period in South America defining a rural grocery store often functioning also as a drinking establishment.
The origin of the word pulpería is uncertain; however; some people say that the word derives from pulpo (Spanish for octopus) because some pulperías used to serve pulpo a la gallega, a traditional Spanish dish.
There are many of these traditional bars/restaurants in San Antonio de Areco, where tourists and locals enjoy some of the best traditional Argentine dishes. This is our selection:
Boliche de Bessonart Bar
Boliche de Bessonart Bar was our favourite pub. It is one of the most emblematic and traditional dining spots in town. The building looks old (which is) and unattended from the outside, but inside is fully decorated and charming.
The internal walls are lined with old bottles of wine, soda and spirits. There are tables outside (facing the street), inside and also in the rear garden, which is nice and calm, especially in the evening.
I totally recommend having some empanadas (baked), vermouth with soda or fernet and a traditional picada (a charcuterie selection served on a wooden platter containing ham, local prosciutto, green olives, and cheese. They also offer sandwiches and salads.
The staff is super friendly and the value for money is great.
Pulperia Lo de Tito
Pulperia Lo de Tito is highly recommended by locals. It’s located around the corner from the town’s main square, and offers outside seating area in the front and the rear.
Their menu is bigger than in the other places, offering milanesas (the Argentine schnitzel), pasta (gnocchi), steak and more. All this is on top of the empanadas, salads, sandwiches and more. One of their signature dishes is provoleta (grilled provolone cheese) with local prosciutto.
The portions are all generous and the food is tasty and homemade.
Almacén de Campo “El Batará”
Almacén de Campo “El Batará” is a place where you can buy delicious cheese, cold meats (chorizo, longaniza, bondiola, prosciutto, ham and more), homemade bread and even traditional clothes and mates.
You can get any of the above to take away and prepare at home, but you can also stay, take a table outside and be served. Besides picadas they offer sandwiches, empanadas (fried), fries with eggs on top and drinks.
If you were thinking about buying cheese or cold meats as a gift or to have at home, this could be the place in San Antonio de Areco. Don’t be shy when asking to try and take the opportunity to try the fresh bread as well.
El Mitre, Bar Histórico
Located on the main square’s corner, El Mitre – Bar Histórico is a more modern -but yet with traditional touches- pub. With a friendly and laidback atmphosfere, and a younger public, it’s a great addition to this selection.
With a great front seating area, ideal for a summer afternoon, their offer a variety of dishes such as burgers, sandwiches, milanesas, empandas, bondiola, gnocchi and Spanish tortilla.
In terms of drinks, they have a good but modest cocktail menu, plus 4 beers on tap. Aperitivo (vermouth) is still a popular drink in town, and they give you the real sifón for the sparkling water., similar of what they normally do in Spain for this kind of drink.
La Vieja Soderia
La Vieja Soderia is another traditional bar/restaurant built in old brick house. It is very well-decorated with antiques, has a nice and calm garden and the staff is friendly and helpful
Their menu comprises, among some Argentine classics, omelette, “Tilcara” rice, fried calamari, king praws, mozzarella sticks, quesadillas and tacos. So they really offer some more inetnational bar snacks. Vegan, vegetarian and celiac options are available.
In terms of drinks, vermouth, wine and craft beer are the usual suspects.
And a couple more
- María Brewing: less traditional but great place nonetheless. If you want to do a beer tasting or simple try a couple of craft beers, this might be the one for you.
- Parrilla Guito: traditional “parrilla” (barbecue place) also recommended by locals. It’s on the other side of the river so a good opportunity to see that area as well.
- Cervezas de Barrica Areco Market: local microbrewery with a great variety of beer.
- Leyenda Urbana: this is the most popular and recommend local craft beer. The tap room does not have good opening times (1 – 3 pm), but the product is good.
- Berlina Areco: this is a well knows Argentine brewery with shops in many places around the country. In this case, the place is good and closes late (3 am).