September 12, 2023 · ,

Cafes Notables of Buenos Aires: The City’s Historic Coffeehouses.


Coffee cup with Buenos Aires' historic architecture in the background
An image of our author she

Antonella Carou

“Cafes Notables are a must-try in Buenos Aires “

An avid explorer of Buenos Aires’ rich café culture, Antonella Carou has a passion for uncovering the stories behind the city’s most iconic coffeehouses. With a keen eye for detail and a deep appreciation for history, she seamlessly weaves tales of the past with the vibrant present, taking readers on a journey through the aromatic lanes of Buenos Aires. From the grandeur of historic establishments to the modern allure of contemporary cafes, Antonalla’s writings capture the essence of a city that lives and breathes coffee.

Wherever you are in the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires offers you a director seat a walking distance away. Thanks to the limitless number of coffeehouses, you can experience the taste of an impressively diverse culture that never fails to give you a bit of its own. The rich taste of the country, those who opened the coffeehouses and those who visited them hangs around and touches you one way or the other.

Buenos Aires is also home to a unique collection of historic cafes known as ‘cafés notables‘. These establishments are more than just places to enjoy a cup of coffee; they are cultural landmarks steeped in history and tradition.

What are the Cafes Notables?

Cafes Notables are a specific group of coffeehouses located in Buenos Aires, Argentina. They are distinguished from regular cafes due to their historical, architectural, and cultural significance to the city. Recognized by the local government, these cafes have been in operation for many years, some for over a century. They have played essential roles in the city’s history, serving as meeting places for intellectuals, artists, and politicians. Over the years, they have become integral parts of the city’s cultural landscape. In addition to their historical value, many of these cafes are also architectural landmarks, preserving the styles and designs of past eras. In essence, Cafes Notables are not just places to drink coffee but are establishments that hold significant value in understanding Buenos Aires’ cultural and historical evolution.

Your Spanish Journey Starts Here: Buenos Aires, Malaga, or Anywhere You Are

Are you ready to embark on a language adventure that’s as exciting as it is educational? Whether you’re yearning for the vibrant city life of Buenos Aires, the sun-drenched charm of Malaga, or the convenience of online learning, we’ve got just the ticket!

online spanish classes courses lessons

Learn Spanish in Argentina

Dive into the heart of Argentina with our Spanish school in Buenos Aires. Experience the city’s pulsating energy, rich history, and captivating culture as you master the Spanish language. Buenos Aires is calling – will you answer?

Learn Spanish in Malaga

Imagine yourself soaking up the Andalusian sun as you learn Spanish in Malaga. Our school offers a unique blend of top-notch education and laid-back beach vibes. It’s not just a language course – it’s your passport to the Mediterranean lifestyle!

Learn Spanish Online

Can’t travel right now? No problem! Our online Spanish classes bring the language, culture, and fun right to your living room. Engage with our experienced teachers and enjoy interactive lessons from wherever you are in the world.

Top Cafés Notables in Buenos Aires

Café Tortoni

Nestled amidst the bustling streets of Buenos Aires lies Café Tortoni, a place that is more than just a café—it’s a living testament to the city’s vibrant history and its love affair with art, culture, and gastronomy. Established in the distant year of 1858, this café has stood the test of time, witnessing the city’s ever-changing landscape while retaining its old-world charm.

Imagine walking into a place where the very air seems to be thick with stories. The wooden floors have been trodden upon by some of the greatest minds of the last century. Lorca might have penned a poem here, Einstein could have pondered over a theory, and Borges might have lost himself in one of his intricate tales—all within these very walls. The café has always been a magnet for intellectuals, artists, and dreamers, making it a melting pot of ideas and creativity.

As you navigate through the café, the ambiance is palpable. The soft glow from vintage chandeliers casts a warm light, illuminating the intricate woodwork and the myriad of historic photos that adorn the walls, each telling a tale of its own. The distant sound of tango music, occasionally interspersed with the soulful notes of jazz or a passionate poetry recital, adds to the café’s allure. It’s easy to lose track of time in such an environment, where every corner seems to beckon you to sit down, reflect, and perhaps pen down a thought or two.

But Café Tortoni is not just about history and culture; it’s a culinary paradise. For those fortunate enough to visit, there’s a plethora of traditional Argentine delicacies waiting to be explored. Begin with the crispy ‘churros,’ perfectly golden and best enjoyed dipped in a cup of thick, velvety chocolate. If you’re in the mood for something savory, the ’empanadas’—golden pockets filled with a variety of fillings, from spicy beef to creamy corn—are a delight. And for those with a sweet tooth, the ‘milhojas’ layered pastry filled with ‘dulce de leche’ is pure bliss. As you sip on a classic Argentine ‘cortado’ or perhaps indulge in the unique ‘submarino,’ you’ll realize that every dish and drink here is a reflection of Argentina’s rich culinary heritage.

In conclusion, Café Tortoni is more than just a place—it’s an experience. It’s where history meets art, where culture intertwines with gastronomy, and where every visitor is transported to a bygone era, all while being firmly rooted in the present. It’s a place that resonates with the heartbeat of Buenos Aires, offering a slice of the city’s soul to all those who walk through its doors.

El Ateneo Grand Splendid

In the bustling streets of Buenos Aires, a city known for its vibrant culture and rich history, stands a monument to both literature and the arts: El Ateneo Grand Splendid. This architectural marvel, with its ornate designs and grandeur, is not just any bookstore—it’s a living testament to the city’s deep-rooted love for the arts.

Originally conceived as a grand theatre, El Ateneo Grand Splendid has witnessed countless performances, from passionate operas to riveting plays, each echoing the city’s artistic heartbeat. The transformation from a theatre to a bookstore could have stripped it of its essence, but instead, it added another layer to its rich tapestry. The theatre’s soul remains intact, with its stage curtains, intricate carvings, and the plush red seating, all reminiscent of an era where every note sung and every word spoken was a tribute to artistry.

Walking through its vast corridors, one is immediately enveloped by a sense of wonder. The high ceilings adorned with frescoes, the golden trims, and the evocative lighting all contribute to an ambiance that is both regal and inviting. The shelves, lined with a plethora of books spanning genres and languages, beckon readers to lose themselves in tales both old and new. It’s a place where literature comes alive, where stories from the pages seem to resonate with the theatre’s own storied past.

But El Ateneo Grand Splendid is not just about books. The café, strategically positioned on the former stage, offers a unique experience. Here, visitors can sit, sipping on a cup of traditional Argentine coffee, all while being surrounded by the grandeur of the theatre’s architecture. It’s a place where the past and present coalesce, where one can reflect on a passage read, or simply soak in the ambiance, feeling the weight of history and the passion of countless performances that once graced the stage.

In essence, El Ateneo Grand Splendid is more than a bookstore—it’s a sanctuary for lovers of literature and history. It’s where the echoes of past performances meet the whispers of pages turned, creating a symphony that celebrates Buenos Aires’ rich cultural heritage. Every visit promises a journey, not just through the aisles of books, but through time itself, making it a must-visit for anyone seeking to experience the heart and soul of Buenos Aires.

La Biela

Situated in the vibrant neighborhood of Recoleta, La Biela stands as a beacon of Buenos Aires’ rich past. With its roots stretching back to the 1950s, this iconic coffeehouse has been a silent observer to the city’s ever-evolving narrative. Its walls, steeped in history, whisper tales of literary legends and racing champions, making it a unique blend of culture and sport.

As you step into La Biela, you’re immediately transported to an era where literary discussions were the order of the day. It’s easy to imagine literary maestros like Casares and Borges engaged in deep conversations, debating over the nuances of a storyline or the essence of a character. The photographs taken by Casares, which grace the walls behind the bar, serve as a testament to the café’s rich literary heritage. Each frame, meticulously captured, offers a window into the past, revealing moments that have shaped the city’s cultural landscape.

But La Biela’s legacy isn’t confined to literature alone. The café’s association with the world of motorsport adds another dimension to its storied past. The legendary Formula One champion, Juan Manuel Fangio, was known to frequent this establishment. The roar of engines, the thrill of speed, and the passion for racing all find a home here, making La Biela a melting pot of literary intellect and sporting prowess.

The ambiance of La Biela, with its vintage decor and timeless charm, invites visitors to pause and reflect. Whether you’re sipping on a classic Argentine cortado or leafing through a book, the café offers a unique experience, blending the worlds of literature and racing seamlessly.

In essence, La Biela is not just a coffeehouse; it’s a living museum. A place where the legacies of literary giants and racing legends coexist, offering visitors a chance to immerse themselves in Buenos Aires’ multifaceted heritage. Every corner, every photograph, and every cup of coffee here tells a story, making La Biela a must-visit for anyone seeking to experience the heart of Buenos Aires.

La biela cafe notable in buenos aires

Las Violetas

In the heart of Buenos Aires, where modernity meets tradition, Las Violetas stands tall, exuding an aura of timeless grace. Established over a century ago, this renowned coffeehouse is not just a testament to the city’s love for coffee but also a living museum of its rich cultural heritage.

As you approach Las Violetas, its majestic facade gives a hint of the grandeur that lies within. Once inside, the sheer opulence of its interiors is awe-inspiring. The sunlight, streaming through the intricate patterns of the stained glass windows, casts a kaleidoscope of colors, creating a mesmerizing play of light and shadow. The plush carpeted floors, reminiscent of a bygone era, seem to hold within them countless stories of the patrons who have graced this establishment over the decades.

The architecture of Las Violetas is a masterclass in design. Majestic Corinthian columns, reminiscent of classical European cafes, anchor the space, adding to its regal ambiance. The air is thick with a sense of nostalgia, further accentuated by the waiters, dressed in crisp white jackets, who move with a grace and poise that harks back to an era where service was an art form.

But amidst this architectural splendor, it’s the coffee that remains the star. Las Violetas takes pride in its unique espresso blend, which stands out for its robust flavor and distinct bitterness. In a city that boasts a myriad of coffee flavors, this particular blend has carved a niche for itself, drawing both locals and tourists alike.

Beyond coffee, Las Violetas offers a culinary experience that complements its regal setting. Traditional Argentine pastries, each a masterpiece in its own right, beckon patrons to indulge in a gastronomic journey that is both delightful and memorable.

In conclusion, a visit to Las Violetas is more than just a coffee break. It’s an experience that transports you to a different era, where elegance reigned supreme, and every sip of coffee was a celebration of the city’s rich history and vibrant culture. It’s a place where every moment is a brushstroke on the canvas of Buenos Aires’ cultural tapestry.

Cafeteria La Ideal

In the vibrant heart of Buenos Aires stands La Ideal, a café that transcends the ordinary. With over a century of history etched into its walls, this establishment is not just a place to enjoy a cup of coffee; it’s a portal to Argentina’s rich cultural tapestry.

Established in 1912 by a visionary Spanish merchant, La Ideal quickly became a cornerstone of Buenos Aires’ social and cultural life. Its grand interiors, characterized by ornate chandeliers, marble floors, and intricate moldings, have played host to a myriad of events and gatherings. Intellectuals, writers, and artists found solace in its quiet corners, engaging in passionate debates and discussions that shaped the city’s cultural narrative.

But perhaps what La Ideal is most renowned for is its deep-rooted association with tango. The café’s spacious dance floor, with its polished wooden panels, has been the stage for countless tango performances. Over the decades, both seasoned dancers and enthusiastic novices have swayed to the soulful rhythms of this iconic Argentine dance, making La Ideal synonymous with tango in Buenos Aires.

While the café faced a brief hiatus in 2016, its spirit remained undeterred. Recognizing its immense cultural significance, efforts were made to breathe new life into La Ideal. Today, it stands rejuvenated, a testament to the resilience and enduring charm of old Buenos Aires. The café continues to be a beacon for tango enthusiasts, with its dance floor once again echoing the passionate beats and intricate footwork of this beloved dance.

In essence, La Ideal is more than just a café; it’s a living museum. It’s where the past and present converge, where every sip of coffee is accompanied by tales of yesteryears, and where the soulful notes of tango invite visitors to lose themselves in a dance that is as timeless as the café itself. For those seeking a genuine Buenos Aires experience, La Ideal promises a journey that is both nostalgic and exhilarating.

La Ideal, cafe notable in buenos aires.

As we’ve journeyed through the streets of Buenos Aires, the Cafes Notables have emerged not just as places to enjoy a cup of coffee, but as living testimonies to the city’s vibrant history and culture. Each coffeehouse, with its unique story and ambiance, offers a glimpse into the soul of Buenos Aires. Whether you’re a local or a traveler, these iconic establishments serve as reminders of the timeless allure of coffee, conversation, and connection. So, the next time you find yourself in this bustling city, let the allure of the Cafes Notables guide you, and immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Buenos Aires’ coffee culture

Cafes Notables of Buenos Aires: The City's Historic Coffeehouses.
Article Name
Cafes Notables of Buenos Aires: The City's Historic Coffeehouses.
Buenos Aires Cafes Notables. Experience the city's historic coffeehouses, where culture, history, and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee converge.
Publisher Name
Vamos Academy
Publisher Logo

Share this post!

Start your Spanish Immersion Experience Today. We offer both In-Person and Online Spanish Classes. Discover Our Malaga School or our Buenos Aires School. No matter your plans VAMOS Academy has a course for you!

Join the conversation on social:


Saber and Conocer Explained: The How, Why, When, and Where Guide

Saber vs Conocer – How and When to Use Them Have you ever done…

Argentina National Holidays Calendar 2024 Overview

One key holiday is May 25th, Argentina’s Independence Day, marking 202 years since freedom…

Vegan and Vegetarian in Buenos Aires. Our Guide to Food and Restaurants

In the land famed for its asado and tango, an astonishing 12% of residents…

Top 6 Best Things to See and Do in Argentina

Argentina presents an unmatched blend of natural wonders and cultural depth, beckoning adventurers and…