Cafe Tortoni

When it comes to bars and cafes in Buenos Aires, there can be no doubt that the Tortoni is the grandaddy of them all. It’s the oldest cafĂ© in Argentina, opened in 1858, situated in the heart of the action on the Avenida de Mayo, it doesn’t get a lot more notable than this.


With its history and reputation, it’s not a surprise to find that the Tortoni is very popular on the tourist route, and it’s not unusual to see queues of 20 to 30 people waiting to get in during the summer season.


It’s not difficult to see what the fuss is about – once you are ushered in through the wood and glass doors, the Tortoni is beautiful. Stained glass, dark wood and polished brass fittings take you back to the 19th century, an image also helped by the legions of bow-tie wearing waiters rushing about.


The Tortoni is by far the biggest name in the Notable Bar world and is definitely worth a visit. If you can avoid it during the high season when it turns into a tourist zoo, you’ll be rewarded with one of the greatest cafes in the world.

Cafe Tortoni: Avenida de Mayo 825
Subte: Piedras, Line A

This page is part of a series examining the Notable Bars of Buenos Aires.