On the northeastern corner of the streets Brasil and Defensa, there's a three-storey building that dates back almost to the very start of the 20th century. There's been a cafe here at Brasil 401 ever since the eve of Argentina's centenary celebrations in 1909. Originally it was a German-style cafe and liquor outlet named La Estrella del Sur.
El Hipopótamo offers warmth and good service from a strategic location in the San Telmo neighbourhood. There are mini-pizzas, special sandwiches, platters to share and tempting dulce de leche or apple pancakes.
Inside, the cafe retains its nostalgic feel with decorative colour provided by old advertising signs for Campari, Gardini sewing machines, and old brands of cigarettes. This atmosphere has led the site to be chosen as a location for several films including Eliseo Subiela's Wake Up Love and Jaime Chavarri's Las cosas del querer II.
Famous local characters to frequent the establishment have included director Juan José Campanella, tango singer and actress Tita Merello, the writers Ernesto Sabato and Osvaldo Soriano, and the actor Ulises Dumont.