Opened in 1884 and remodeled a couple of times since then, the cafe and confiteria is a vision of Italian marble, stained glass windows, columns, high ceilings and other classic details. In 1998, Las Violetas was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Many illustrious Argentines have passed through these doors, such as Carlos Pellegrini, who later became Argentina’s president; however, one of the most fascinating chapters in Las Violetas’ history involves the Plaza de Mayo grandmothers. During Argentina’s military dictatorship, they clandestinely gathered at Las Violetas and planned how they could get their kidnapped grandchildren back under the guise of holding birthday parties.
A table at Las Violetas — Photo courtesy of AHLN
Located on the corner of Rivadavia and Medrano, busy Las Violetas is the Almagro neighborhood’s most atmospheric place to have breakfast. Admire the cafe interior’s architectural details, as well as indulge in some people-watching. The age trends upward, but a fascinating mix of people come here. Sometimes there's even a wait to get a table.
As is local tradition, the white-jacketed waiters will bring you a small glass of water and a tiny bite of something sweet to accompany your coffee when you order one. Or try a pot of loose-leaf tea.
Medialunas (Argentine-style croissants) make for a popular breakfast, but they're not the only items to tempt you, especially as it gets later in the day. Gaze at the glass display cases at your own risk.
All of the tea specials involve hot drinks and platters abundantly filled with sandwiches, cakes and pastries, and they're great for groups. Otherwise, opt for an a la carte slice of cake or pastry, such as the Leguisamo, named after the Argentine jockey who loved dulce de leche.
This cake has a sponge cake base with dulce de leche, candied chestnuts, almond cream, meringue and flaky pastry covered in chocolate and fondant. Another local favorite, although less complex, is the lemon pie.
While Las Violetas is well known for its lighter, sugar-laden delights, it's a restaurant, as well, serving Argentine fare for lunch and dinner like salads, meats and pastas with wine, beer and cocktails.
If you're looking for a gift or simply want something for later, pop into Las Violetas’ adjoining pastry shop. There you can order whole cakes, gift baskets and other sweet treats to go.