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EXPERIENCE,  Travel & Places

Café Tortoni, a magical trip into the past

Take a peek and discover on of the most occult places when it comes to tango and intellectualism within Buenos Aires.


There are places that transport us. Places that with their colors, smells, tastes, sounds and touch takes us to a time or place. That’s exactly what it’s like to be in Café Tortoni in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A café that opened in 1858 by a French immigrant by the name of Touan and then, in 1898, expanded by architect Alejandro Chrisophersen. Café Tortoni takes us to the past to find ourselves in a Buenos Aires inspired, bohemian and full of tango.

Resembling something akin to an oral tradition, the waiters here on call today are taking, both locals and tourists, along the right side of the dining hall near the vast window to help them find a special place at one of the many tables. With the table their looking for firmly in view, the servers all comment on it as well, that table in the corner was reserved for one Carlos Gardel.

Just like “El Rey del Tango”, different artists, writers, musicians, painters, journalists and other intellectual celebrities were known to frequent the café in search of not only a snack between meals. Café Tortoni served as a muse, for more than one historic artist, from Jorge Luis Borges, Federico García Lorca, Julio Cortazar, Juan Carlos Borbón, Luigi Pirandello and Arthur Rubinstein.

On every table, along the bar, and within the walls of Tortoni you can still feel the energy in the air from when these creatives gathered. A wooden building made of wood with more than a century, gorgeous stained glasses, elegant hanging ceiling lamps and the classic bustle that you can find in the café, transforms it into the perfect combination to recreate the idiosyncrasies and porteño culture.

Currently, and not to lose tradition, the legendary café reserves a space dedicated to preserving, promoting and presenting stage tango. Limited seating, those who want to attend should reserve their entrance with time. Instruments voice and choreography are the live personification of traditional tango and milonguero.

Ana Maria Montalvo recreated a collection of her pieces, a series named “Homenaje al Tango (Homage to Tango)”, where they play homage to great tango musicians, directors, and composers: Juan D’Arienzo, Aníbal Trollo, Edmundo Rivero and Paquita Bernardo are just some of the celebrated faces that are celebrated on the walls of Tortoni’s gallery.

Café Tortoni is definitely a landmark that shouldn’t be overlooked in Buenos Aires. It’s history, the culture that was born from and the experience offered to it by tango lover worldwide.


© images/videos credits: gettyimages.com

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