Café Grande

Café society occupies an almost mythical place in Buenos Aires history. And Café Tortoni is where every artist, writer, and politician of the last 150 years left his or her mark. The grande dame opened in 1858, and the elegant interior of Corinthian columns, mahogany walls, oak-and-marble tables, and stained-glass ceilings has hardly changed since. The last addition to the decor was a collection of Art Nouveau lampshades. The menu lists salads and bocadillos, but this is a place to sip, not snack. Tortoni's lifeblood is the Cabrales coffee (have it cortado—espresso with a drop of steamed milk), which is always accompanied by diminutive pastries and sparkling water and served by dignified waiters with just the right amount of world-weary gravitas. At 825 Avda. de Mayo; 54-11/4342-4328;