Café Tortoni is the oldest and perhaps best preserved of the city’s many officially recognised historic cafés, known as "bares notables". Founded in 1858 in the neighbourhood of Monserrat, this elegant venue was frequented by important politicians and cultural icons including writers such as Jorge Luis Borges and Julio Cortázar, the musician Arthur Rubinstein and the singer Carlos Gardel.
The cafe was founded by a French immigrant named Touan and named after a cafe in Paris. The façade on the Avenida de Mayo was designed by the architect Alejandro Christophersen in 1898.
Order a coffee and medialunas or indulge in churros with chocolate and soak up the atmosphere. The café also serves cider on tap and hosts evening jazz and tango shows.
The singer Carlos Gardel had his own table permanently reserved for him at the cafe. According to the poert and tango lyricist Enrique Cadícamo, it was the table at the back righthand side of the hall beside the window. The Tortoni is one of the few cafes that still offers a century-old type of ice cream called "leche merengada", which was made famous in a song by María Elena Walsh.