Café Las Violetas in Buenos Aires is a remarkable place in the neighborhood Almagro. Probably the name doesn’t ring a bell. It is like Les Deux Magots in Paris. A cafe that you should visit. Confiteria Las Violetas has a long reputation as a rendezvous place for famous people and some secret meetings were held.

Read also: Café Tortoni, the guide best time to visit and its history

Why is café Las Violetas remarkable?

The first moments that I moved to Buenos Aires, I noticed that going to a café or confiteria – store devoted to the sale of tea, coffee, chocolate, pastry, and sandwiches – is something very common. Especially for “merienda”. Merienda is actually a tea-time moment around 6 in the evening and you get yourself a kind of breakfast. A toast with cheese and ham accompanied by tea, coffee, or maté.

People living in Buenos Aires has still that habit to go often to a cafe at any moment of the day. That’s why also most of the cafés are open from early morning till midnight or open all day long.

Café Las Violetas opened in 1884. A bit younger than most famous Café Tortoni. But in my opinion a more local feeling than Café Tortoni. I will try to convince you with 5 reasons why you should drink a cup of tea at Las Violetas ?.

1. Avoid the tourist crowd

All guides will tell you to visit Café Tortoni. Busses dropping tourists in front of the café and the waiting line is growing and growing. Most of my Argentinian friends living in Buenos Aires since birth never visited Tortoni. Simply because it’s too touristic. Ok, it has the secret history and atmosphere but don’t underestimate Café Las Violetas.

Café Las Violetas has an architecture and interior that throws you back to the 1900s. Beautiful stained glass and an Italian marble floor. In 2001, it underwent a complete renovation and until today it has that glamorous feeling.

Merienda at Las Violetas

2. Enjoy a Buenos Aires tea-time

Argentina doesn’t go with a traditional breakfast with bread or cornflakes. Expect sweet things such as cookies and maté. Therefore, go for a tea-time moment or better known as “Merienda”. Ask for the “Maria Cala” option. You will get a warm beverage, sweets, fine pastry, salty sides, and some juice. Just perfect when you’re visiting with two or more persons.

3. The traditional atmosphere

Upon our visit to Las Violetas, we enjoyed the visitors around us. Sometimes secretly waiting for someone at a table, some retired persons completely made up to have a pleasant evening to be watched and to see other people. Locals are having a meeting and the gossip talk that goes around from table to table.

History told us that the grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo held here some secret meetings during the dictatorship in Argentina. Under the cover of a birthday party. Until today they are looking for their missing grandchildren.

4. Las Violetas pastry is delicious

Ok, tastes may differ but this is one of our absolute top 5. Certainly – during Christmas – you have to order “Pan Dulce” (see photo below). It is a cake with candied fruit and nuts. Delicious together with a cup of coffee. You can order it all year round.

Tea time at Las Violetas in Buenos Aires
Pan Dulce at Café Las Violetas

5. A place of history

Besides, this is the place to have your “merienda” it is a café in Buenos Aires with history. Carlos Pellegrini – former Argentinian president – attended the inauguration of the confiteria and other famous people as Pascual Contursi where common visitors.

Some years before the renovation in 2001, the café was abandoned and almost disappeared from the local life. Nowadays, it’s back the spot for a tea and also they have a wide menu for an evening dinner.

Café Las Violetas
Av. Rivadavia 3899
Buenos Aires

Author

My roots in Buenos Aires started as a tourist. After some great adventures in Argentina, I moved in 2017 to the metropolitan city of Buenos Aires. I felt a need for correct and honest information for tourists. That's why I love to write to you. Sharing my discoveries in Buenos Aires. I hope you enjoy the city as much as I do! Buenos Aires ❤️

3 Comments

  1. Awesome Blog, definitely planning to visit Las Violetas! Is the “Maria Cala” more of a breakfast or evening menu item? Does Merienda typically refer to afternoon tea time? Thanks!

  2. Hi Glenn,

    Wanted to let you know about our experiences in Buenos Aires.

    1. Palacio Barolo: superb experience. Thank you for recommending it. We also agree a must do in BA.

    2. Tango Show at El Viejo Almacon. We booked with you for the dinner and show – a really wonderful experience. Thank you for the information about the best shows. It helped us to make our decision on which one to see.

    3. Buenos Aires Hop on Hop off bus: a real let down.
    First problem: we booked online and didn’t receive a confirmation email. We sent 3 emails explaining this problem. Finally received an email the day before we planned to use it. Got on the bus, with our QR code from email – we were told that we had already used our tickets the day before. After a lot of complaining, we got our passes.
    Second problem:We got on at stop #0 – Recoletta just before the Obelisk. We received our new voucher by stop #3. So we couldn’t hop off before that.
    Third problem: But it gets worse. We did hop off at stop #5. We explored San Telmo Market. We returned to the hop on spot, the bus arrived and it was full so we couldn’t get on. We waited 20 minutes for the next bus. When it arrived, it was full and we were told to wait for the next bus. We were not the only people being left behind. There were several at this spot. Earlier, people could not get on due to too many people before we even made it to stop #5,
    I agree, the bus needs to be safe but then they should not be selling tickets if they cannot supply the buses. More buses were needed. We ended up taking a taxi to our next stop and another taxi back to our hotel. I felt this was a complete waste of money. We spent $19000 AR for 2 tickets which really wasn’t used.
    You might want to add something in your blog about hop on hop off buses not picking up their customers if the bus is full and who knows how long one might have to wait until a bus is empty enough to pick a customer up.

    Your Secrets of Buenos Aires is a tremendously wonderful site. I learned a lot on my city tour with the company that we booked our trip through but chose my extra adventures based on your site. And I felt knowledgeable about information due to you sharing first.

    Please continue helping people like me in the future!

    Thank you.

    Tanis Huitink

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