Old world charm at Las Violetas

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.

Las Violetas, historic cafe in Buenos Aires

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.

Las Violetas, historic cafe in Buenos Aires

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!):

Las Violetas, historic cafe in Buenos Aires

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.

Las Violetas, historic cafe in Buenos Aires

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!

Las Violetas 1

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.

Las Violetas, historic cafe in Buenos Aires

17 thoughts on “Old world charm at Las Violetas

  1. OMG, the portions…incredible. Was that media tarde/merienda or was that just tea & coffee. Reading your descriptions, I can almost taste the sandwiches and pastries. Yum!!


  2. Holy moly, what a magnificent cafe, the setting is so regal and fancy. I love it!
    Soooooo impressed with the amount of food you both ate, true blue foodies right there. 🙂
    Perhaps its just me, but I am really enjoying the trend of going back to basics with our food, so think I would have enjoyed that I knew exactly what I was eating without asking google for a translation.


  3. I love places that seemed to have to been stuck in time and it amazes me that many of them still exist to this day. I would love to visit Las Violetas someday.


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