The 1998 shuttering of this 124-year-old café caused such an uproar that within six weeks the city legislature gave it historic protection to save it; a 2001 restoration of the over-the-top elegance of the interior, with its three 19th-century stained-glass windows and marble bar, returned the French-style building to the splendor of Buenos Aires’s golden age. The food is classic café fare save for the impossibly large “María Cala” and “La Violetera” tea services, replete with cookies, cakes, crustless sandwiches, and budín. To have the full bygone-era experience, arrive on the “A” line subway (get off at the stop for Castro Barros), whose carriages sport wood wainscoting and doors that open before you’ve quite stopped in the stations.
Insider Tip: Don’t go after 4 p.m. on weekends or holidays, when lines form outside and the café charges higher prices to cash in on the popularity.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.