Buenos Aires Cafe Culture

What’s Buenos Aires’ cafe culture like? Let’s just say lingering over a café con leche and a medialuna (a mini-croissant, for the uninitiated) while people-watching, chatting with friends or reading the newspaper is a daily, civilized ritual for most Porteños, or Buenos Aires locals. But sumptuous pastries and strong coffee are just the tip of the menu iceberg for many of the famed capital’s cafes. From iconic, 100-year-old venues to trendy hipster hangouts, Buenos Aires cafes offer inventive and traditional menus to delight all manner of cravings.

Oui Oui
Valerie Conners

It's inevitable that diners fall madly in love with French-style cafe Oui Oui. Its charm factor is off the charts: hand-scrawled menus on blackboards, whitewashed brick walls, pink picnic-style tables and chairs, and pitchers of lemonade with fresh mint. Enjoy fresh-baked baguettes, gooey pains au chocolat, and brunch favorites such as poached eggs with salmon.

  • Nicaragua 6068
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
Pani Cafe

You'll feel like a kid in a frilly candy shop upon entering Pani. This tiny cafe delights diners with displays of decadent desserts, wrought-iron decor, striped wallpaper and all kinds of colorful bric-a-brac. Join the trendy crowd here and order a monstrous cinnamon roll or a savory Club Waffle, which has smoked ham, fried egg, cheddar, caramelized onions, bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado on a waffle. Yowza.

  • Nicaragua 6044
  • Buenos Aires, C1414BWN Argentina
Las Violetas
Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images

A Buenos Aires institution for more than 125 years, Las Violetas is a must-visit, but you better come early. Lines form well before the cafe's opening hour, as locals and tourists vie for a marble-topped table. Diners are treated to a breathtaking, curved, stained-glass portico, gilded columns and servers donning white jackets. Arrive at tea time and order the María Cala, a platter overflowing with cakes, sandwiches and pastries, as well as fresh juice and tea, coffee or hot chocolate.

  • Avenida Rivadavia 3899
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
In Bocca al Lupo Caffè
Alexander Lazar, PickUpTheFork.com

Tucked behind an unassuming stone facade lies one of Buenos Aires's most character-filled cafes, complete with 2-story-high ceilings, skylights, an inviting outdoor courtyard and funky chandeliers made with coffee mugs and spoons. Run by Italians, the cafe serves up strong coffee, airy homemade cornetti (fluffy croissants), fresh salads and giant sandwiches.

  • Bonpland 1965
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
Cafe Tortoni
people sit indoors at a classy cafe in buenos aires
Gabriel Rossi/LatinContent/Getty Images

A veritable Buenos Aires institution, Cafe Tortoni has been serving strong coffee and tasty snacks to stylish Porteños since 1858. The cafe’s classic decor of stained-glass windows, rich woods and cool marble speaks to its long history. Pro tip: Arrive early in the morning, when locals start filling the tables; the place has turned into a tourist draw in recent years.

  • Avenida de Mayo 825
  • Buenos Aires, 1084 Argentina

Just when you thought Decata's funky, thrift-store-chic ambiance, strong-like-bull coffee and monstrous pastries oozing dulce de leche were reason enough to come to Decata, we've found another one: the Caesar salad. In a city known more for beef-tastic entrees, enjoying a bona fide Caesar salad with copious salty chunks of Parmesan crumbled on top is a true revelation.

  • Soldado de la Independencia 670
  • Buenos Aires, C1426BTF Argentina

The Hot List

Enter Daily to Win a Trip to the Golden Gate City!
Join the conversation on Social Media!
Leaf-peeping, road trips, fun getaways and more!
Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss Travel Channel in your favorite social media feeds.

Next Up

Girl Getaways for Foodies and Wine Lovers

The Lost Girls' picks for the best food and wine tours.