The Tortoni is not only Argentina’s oldest confiteria (a combo café-bistro-ice creamery-bakery-beer hall), but this compact gathering place with its brass fixtures, beveled mirrors, and crystal chandeliers is also among BA’s most fascinating. Here, artistic adventures take place at the drop of a bolero, as evidenced by the treasured moment when renowned tango performer Carlos Gardel sang for legendary Italian playwright Luigi Pirandello. Since 1858, the Tortoni has hosted literati, politicians, and the workaday locals — as well as recent arrivals King Juan Carlos of Spain and screen star/tango dancer Robert Duvall — whose one common thread is that they spent hours drinking coffee discussing the day’s intellectual topics. For authentic eats, try salacious pastries like medialunas, and, to drink, Quilmes Imperial beer or Mendoza Malbec wine. Less heady pursuits out back include dice, dominos, and billiards. Note: To experience this BA mainstay at its most authentic, arrive by mid-morning, before the tourist invasion.

Avenida de Mayo 825
+54 11 4342 4328
www.cafetortoni.com.ar