Semester Favorites in and around Mendoza
It’s my last few days here in Mendoza (wow time flies!), so I thought that I would do a wrap-up of some of my favorite places and things to do (as well as some tried-and-true tips and tricks) in and around the city!
Top 3 places to get ice cream (obviously the most important thing):
- Bianco & Nero – Any flavor is good to be honest. I went there so often that the woman who works there felt comfortable enough correcting my Spanish…
- Mailhó – The oreo flavor is my favorite!
- Ferruccio Soppelsa – Go for the fruity flavors here
Yummy Argentine foods:
- Milanesa de pollo – Chicken milanesa is most definitely the best of the milanesas.
- Homemade alfajores – Kiosks sell packaged ones, which can also be good (try Avila or Pepitos brand). But best of the best are homemade with dulce de leche in the middle and coconut flakes around the outside – most bakeries sell them!
- Medialunas – Pure flaky, buttery yum
- Tartas – My host family made a lot of tartas (kind of like quiche, but without egg) – my favorite was spinach and chard.
- Empanadas – Done right, they are absolutely delicious.
- Gnocchi – In Argentina, it’s good luck to eat gnocchi on the 29th of every month. Not all families abide by this tradition, but mine often did!
Fav packaged snacks:
- Toddy’s chocolate chip cookies – The perfect cheap cookie (tentative consensus that they’re better than Chips Ahoy)
- Frutigran cookies – My “healthy” cookie of choice
- Peanuts – In the search for a healthier and more sustaining snack than cookies or bread, I came to discover a soft spot in my heart for peanuts. I often go for the unsalted just because I eat a lot of salt here already. But other good variations are maní japonés and maní con miel.
5 fun restaurants:
- Fuente y Fonda – Traditional Argentine food in large portions for sharing.
- Anna Bistro – Get the vegetable salad with goat cheese pastries!!
- Decimo Resto Wine Bar – I haven’t actually eaten here, but the restaurant is on the 10th floor of a building so it’s the ideal spot to share a bottle of wine and watch the sun set.
- El Club de la Milanesa – A good place to take someone visiting Mendoza that has never had milanesa before – huge portions and lots of fun milanesa toppings!
- Brod – Super fun for a more American-style brunch – definitely get the ginger and mint lemonade!
Places to study/hang/get wifi:
My favorite cafés:
- Café Petrona – Cute, tea party vibe with an outdoor patio!
- Café Leon – Simple place, friendly staff
- Kato Café – The service here leaves something to be desired and the wait staff can get a little snarky, but it’s a good place to study i.e. never too busy, open during siesta, comfy couches, lots of space and plenty of fun (and sometimes distracting…) throwback music
- Silla 14 – Haha haven’t been but I’ve heard it’s great!
Good places to get free wifi (if like me, your home wifi slowly crumbles before your eyes or you just need to send a text while out and about):
- IFSA office – Always dependable if you arrive while it’s open (plus air-conditioning)
- Outside of the IFSA office – The wifi still works when you stand outside of the door!
- Outside of Starbucks – The Starbucks outside of the IFSA office has wifi without a password, so it’s easy to connect when you’re on the run. I would also recommend Starbucks as a study space – lots of nice tables and chairs, wifi, air conditioning when it’s hot. There’s also more of a typical “college-student studying” vibe going on there than in any other part of the city, which can be nice at times.
- Outside of McDonald’s – Same deal as Starbucks – no password, so free wifi outside!
Bonus: On the go and need to pee? The Carrefour on Belgrano and Las Heras has free public bathrooms!
Tried-and-true things to do (in no particular order):
- Hike Cerro Arco – The classic thing to do for tourists in Mendoza, but I think it’s worth doing once.
- Go to all the ferias – It’s always fun to go to ferias artesanales (artisanal fairs) when they pop up in Mendoza, specifically in Plaza Independencia.
- Try out events in the plazas – I went to an event in Plaza Chile to celebrate Chilean independence and an event in Plaza España to celebrate the Spanish harvest.
- Take a trip to Chile – It’s a cheap and easy bus journey to get to Santiago and/or Valparaíso – both are definitely worth a visit! I’ve also heard amazing things about the desert in the north of Chile – San Pedro de Atacama – if you’re in the market for a longer adventure.
- Go to happy hours – Lots of bars and restaurants have happy hours where you can get 2 for 1 drinks or drinks at a discount (Antares has artisanal beer and also delicious peanuts)
- Sip mate in a park/plaza – Argentines like to “no hacer nada” (not do anything) and can spend hours just sipping mate and chatting with friends – it’s a great way for us Americans to learn how to “take a chill pill” if you will and not be on and doing something every second of the day.
- Exercise in Parque General San Martín – A great place to take a run (I recommend around the lake) or to go to a free exercise class.