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.
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.
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.
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