If I had to choose I couldn’t, each of these grand old ladies served us well in authenticity and food. Buenos Aires is an elegant city and these cafes contribute to an old fashioned slightly European charm that Buenos Aires imbues. When the feet become tired and the throat needs refreshing finding a watering hole with a grand atmosphere is idylic. Soak up that atmosphere and enjoy a beer or coffee or three you deserve it!
El Ateneo Grand Splendid is on Avenue Santa Fe. It is in fact a book shop and a cafe housed in an old theatre, the dining area is on stage and this gives you a chance to look up at the circle, the boxes and the gold decor. As the name suggests it is rather splendid if not unusual.
Cafe Tortoni is on the Avenue de Mayo a major thoroughfare in central BA. As you approach the cafe a gentleman will open the doors to see if there is room and then allow you to enter. We were seated at a small circular table where we could see the beautiful counter tops which leads down to a museum of tango. Very old fashioned but very grand.
Cafe Biela is in the Recoleta district not far from the cemetery we were lucky enough to see some street tango just outside this cafe. Charming gentlemen serve you and our waiter listened patiently whilst we stammered over the menu with our few words of Spanish. You can not miss it on the corner of Avenue Quintana with its dark green paintwork and canopies. Once inside there are photos of old cars above the wood panelling. Very reasonable prices.