What To Do And Where To Stay In Argentina's Mendoza

Exploring Mendoza

The Argentine city in the Andean foothills offers much. Where should you begin?

... a Siete Fuegos entree ...
... and acres of Malbec grapes.

By Paola Singer
Originally appeared in November 2015 issue of Virtuoso Life

The Basics

Sunny days become cool nights during the Southern Hemisphere’s spring, when temperatures in Mendoza, Argentina, average 70 degrees. Locals flock to shaded plazas and alfresco cafés in the city center, where art deco and colonial buildings line wide cobblestoned streets. As the city of Napa is to Napa Valley, Mendoza is the gateway to hundreds of wineries in its eponymous province (all within a 30- to 90-minute drive) that produce distinctly dark and fruity malbecs. As grapevines begin to flower, tasting rooms open their terraces and gardens, and excellent wines fuel relaxing afternoons.

Where To Eat

Thanks to Italian immigrants who came to Mendoza in the late nineteenth century, pasta is a local specialty. María Antonieta (Belgrano 1069; 54-261/420-4322) serves up classics such as malfatti (spinach-ricotta dumplings) in a modern space. In a renovated 1920s residence with stained-glass windows and parquet floors, Ocho Cepas (Perú 1192; 54-261/423-2387) presents refined versions of traditional Argentinean dishes. The scenic Uco Valley, 90 minutes away, is home to respected Argentine chef Francis Mallmann’s recently opened Siete Fuegos (Route 94, kilometer 11, Tunuyán; 54-261/461-3910), an open-air space where his elaborate fire-grilling techniques result in ultra-tender meats.

Where To Drink

Take an afternoon tea break on the leafy patio of Bröd Panadería (Chile 894; 54-261/425-2993), a new bakery that uses organic flour and native yeasts in fresh baguettes, croissants, and fruit tarts. Wine connoisseurs head to Park Hyatt’s Uvas Lounge & Bar (Chile 1124; 54-261/441-1232) to taste single-vineyard malbecs in a space bedecked with leather stools and wine-themed art. In spring and summer, Septima Winery (International Route 7, kilometer 6.5, Luján de Cuyo; 54-261/498-9550), 25 minutes from the city, hosts weekly tastings on its terrace, complete with tapas, music, and a view of the sun setting behind the Andes.

Where To Shop

Major wine retailer Winery & Company (Chile 898; 54-261/420-2840) has a handsome Mendoza boutique, home to more than 1,000 labels from the area as well as up-and-coming regions such as Patagonia. For urban cool, head to Cosset (Arístides Villanueva 537; 54-261/425-8150), a small concept store stocked with design books, housewares, and clothes. At Killka (Route 89, kilometer 14, Tunuyán; 54-261/431-1698), the Salentein Winery’s cultural center, a gift shop sells locally made crafts, including necklaces decorated with traditional textiles.

Where To Stay

Set in a stately nineteenth-century building, the 186-room Park Hyatt Mendoza is one of the city’s most elegant landmarks, with its whitewashed, colonial-style pillared entrance, antique light posts, and tree-lined veranda. Behind the traditional facade lies a distinctly contemporary space, featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and guest rooms with mountain, city, or garden views. Doubles from $297, including breakfast daily and a winetasting for two.

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