Café La Biela
No list of cafés would be complete without La Biela. This iconic Recoleta hangout of 1950s Formula One champions such as Juan Manuel Fangio has been declared a Place of Cultural Interest by the city of Buenos Aires. Take a peek behind the bar to see photographs shot by legendary Argentine writer Adolfo Bioy Casares, who was another frequent customer, along with friend and fellow influential writer Jorge Luis Borges.
Full City Coffee House
The Colombian-British couple behind the scenes at this Palermo Soho coffeehouse know what they’re doing. Serving up their own blend of Colombian beans, this is coffee at its finest. Well worth trying too, are the burgers, arepas, paninis, and salads, which clock in at prices so reasonable, its almost unheard of in this city.
Full City Coffee House, Thames 1535, 1414 Buenos Aires, Argentina, +54 11 4833-6774
Opened in 1858 by French immigrants, Café Tortoni was designed in the style of fin de siècle coffee houses and is known as one of the most beautiful, influential cafés in the world. With previous visitors ranging from Borges to Albert Einstein to Federico García Lorca, with a basement stage for jazz, tango, and poetry contests, Café Tortoni has a legacy of being an incubator for creative thought.
Café Tortoni, Av. de Mayo 825, 1084 Buenos Aires, Argentina, +54 11 4342-4328
LAB. Tostadores de Café
Resembling a mad scientist’s laboratory, this Palermo Hollywood hipster haven takes impeccable care when roasting and producing its coffee, and the results are delicious. The good tunes, contemporary design, and friendly atmosphere make the place a great spot to work or hang out. Don’t miss the spectacular cold brew in the summertime.
LAB. Tostadores de Café, Humboldt 1542, Palermo, Buenos Aires, +54 11 4843-1790
El Ateneo Grand Splendid
El Ateneo Grand Splendid, one of the world’s famous bookshops, is located inside a former theater and is a stunning sight to behold. Named by the Guardian as the second most beautiful bookshop in the world, take a visit and it’s easy to see why. If perusing the rows and rows of bookshelves, set amongst gilded molding, tires you out, head over to the bookshop’s café, which is at the back of what once was the stage.
Head barista Agus Román was the 2013 winner of Argentina’s barista championship, and his skills are apparent at this popup coffeeshop in the midst of San Telmo market. Grab a chemex brew as you do your grocery shopping, and relish in being at the heart of Argentina’s coffee revolution.
Coffee Town, Bolivar 976, San Telmo, Buenos Aires, Argentina, +54 11 4300-7333
Keep it classic at Las Violetas, where diners are surrounded by old-world opulence featuring Corinthian columns, stained glass, terrazzo floors, white-jacketed waiters, and more. Don’t be fooled, though as those in the know come here for the simple things, like the perfectly bitter espresso, and pastries such as the slender and buttery medialunas.
Las Violetas, Av Rivadavia 3899, Buenos Aires, Argentina, +54 11 4958-7387
Much like people, some cities are coffee cities, and other cities are tea cities. Buenos Aires is undoubtedly a coffee city. Yet that doesn’t mean that porteños don’t know their way around a cup of té. Tea Connection started in Recoleta and now has branches throughout the city. With over 40 varieties of loose-leaf tea, and a menu of seasonal and healthy food, this is a place not to be missed.
Tea Connection, Juncal 1642, Buenos Aires, Argentina, +54 11 3528-4878
A quick glance around this Modernist-decorated Microcentro café will reveal an assortment of business-people from the spheres of media and politics, who come here for their daily caffeine hit and a respite from their high-powered lives. Make like Borges and snag the table by the window.
Florida Garden, Florida 899, Microcentro, Buenos Aires, Argentina, +54 11 4312-7902
Owner Lucila Zeballos was directly inspired by Portland, Oregon’s Stumptown Coffee Roasters, and true to form, Birkin feels like stepping into a hip Pacific Northwest coffeehouse with funky bar lighting, a vintage sensibility, terrific latte art, and a cool young waitstaff. The coffee itself is equally good, try the cappuccino with an extra espresso shot.