This is one of the top places to go in Salta for an empanada, which is saying a lot, given that Salta claims to be the home of this delicious pastry snack that is found all across South America. While it doesn’t serve a lot else other than empanadas, La Tacita is highly rated by locals. It is found just off the main square, Plaza 9 de Julio, and, given its humble exterior, it could be easily missed, so its central location is a great benefit. There is the option to take away as well as eat in, although eating in is recommended, as on each table diners will find works by local authors.
Caseros 396, Salta, Argentina, +54 387 431 8289
Although this is technically a deli, the small terrace at the back has a number of tables where customers can enjoy a light snack. As expected from a deli, Casa Moderna offers a delicious range of cheeses and cured meats, which make a well-needed change from carb-heavy empanadas and pastries. While it is well located, one block away from the main square, it is far enough away from the crowds to be able to enjoy the peaceful patio area. The deli opened in the early 20th century, despite what its name suggests, and the old-fashioned interior adds to the relaxed atmosphere.
España 674, Salta, Argentina, +54 387 422 0066
Van Gogh Café
Conveniently located in Plaza 9 de Julio, just a stone’s throw from Salta’s main cathedral, this little café provides the perfect opportunity for a slow morning spent looking out over the square, or just a break from visiting the nearby museums and sights. With a basic but good menu, diners can enjoy a medialuna (croissant) or other sweet options, or opt for a more substantial sandwich. There is both inside and outside seating, and the arches at the front of the old colonial building provide some shade.
España 502, Salta, Argentina, +54 387 431 4659
This little Mexican restaurant offers the usual breakfast options, such as croissants and milkshakes, and is located on another square, Plaza Güemes. It is close to the train station which makes it a convenient stop for breakfast or an early lunch before heading off to the station for a day touring, or just exploring the northern end of the city center. There are often good meal deals to be enjoyed too.
Balcarce 575, Salta, Argentina, +54 387 431 7827
This small café offers a quiet environment away from the busy central Plaza, but, at the same time, is only a couple of blocks away. The interior is music-themed and colorful, but not to the extent that it is over-the-top and off-putting to potential customers. It has a small and shady outside terrace, and the inside is equally light and open due to its large windows. Friendly service and homemade dishes make this café a good option for a slow start to the day.
Rivadavia 774, Salta, Argentina, +54 9 387 407 1717
This café has managed to grab arguably the best spot on the Plaza. The café itself is in a beautiful, curved, old colonial building, and diners sitting on the outdoor tables get views of the cathedral, the central park and the old cabildo (the colonial government building), which is the next building along. Again, the menu is basic but extensive, so there should be something for everyone to enjoy, especially the wide range of empanadas. A perfect spot to people-watch and take some time out from touring.
Caseros 602, Salta, Argentina, +54 387 431 7567
This centrally located café provides a classic coffee-shop environment, offering coffee, juices, milkshakes, sweet treats and savoury snacks. There are often promotions on breakfast or brunch and the coffee comes highly rated. There is ample seating inside or outside on the terrace, and the service is friendly and efficient.
Balcarce 1, Salta, Argentina, +54 387 421 2082