The corner where Las Violetas was founded in September, 1884 was considered to be practically in the middle of nowhere. The economic prosperity of the 1880s brought about the growth of the city of Buenos Aires, so the idea of establishing a café in the neighbourhood of Almagro wasn’t so outlandish. However, the café’s Italian marble floors and gilded chandeliers attracted the well-heeled and the famous, who arrived in their own carriages or took the horse-drawn tram from the city.
The current building dates from the 1920s and was restored in 2001. The wood panelling, the stucco ceiling, and the chandeliers, though carefully restored, are original. The Italian marble floor was damaged beyond redemption so an exact copy was made and installed. The impressive French stained glass windows set Las Violetas apart. These are beautiful and transport you to the past.
I’d been meaning to go to Las Violetas for a while but it was never convenient until now. It was after lunchtime so there were many available tables. Anyway, the place is enormous! Las Violetas is also a restaurant so many tables were set for a meal. We chose the informal café section and sat next to a window.
We ordered tea and coffee and the most amazingly big tray of food of all time. I peeked at a nearby table, where the amount of food had defeated three customers. The tray is called the Maria Cala and includes (brace yourself!):
3 slices of cake (chocolate, cream and cheesecake. They were slightly smaller than the ones served by themselves)
3 slices of budín (similar to pound cake in consistency with fruits and nuts)
3 slices of pan dulce (panettone)
Several sandwiches de miga (tea sandwiches), both fresh and toasted
4 slices of toast
1 mini sandwich
1 ham and cheese fosforito (made with sugared puff pastry)
Masas finas (mini pastries)
1 slice of dulce de leche mille feuille (milhojas)
Freshly squeezed orange juice
I’m pretty sure I listed everything.
My mother and I did not eat all that, we barely made a dent! Some items were tastier than others but overall, it was good. We agreed it was a bit old-fashioned, you won’t find the latest trends here but it suits the place perfectly. It was easy to imagine ladies in hats and gloves daintily eating similar pastries 40, 60, or 80 years ago.
We had the waiter box the rest to take home. We had some for dessert that night and we still had leftovers the next day!
Practical info on Las Violetas
The address is Avenida Rivadavia 3899, right on the corner of Rivadavia and Medrano avenues.
Castro Barros (A line) and Medrano (B line) are the nearest underground stations.
Opening hours: from 6 am to 1 am.
If you loved the cakes and pastries, you can buy them on the confiteria counter.