Buenos Aires Cafes: Paris of the South

Because the Internet at the apartments I’ve stayed in has been spottier than a cheetah in polka dots, I’ve sometimes been forced to go to cafes to use their Internet. Luckily, Buenos Aires has a profusion of cafes (Argentines do love their coffee and pastries) and you only usually have to walk a couple blocks from your house to find one.  Surprisingly, for a city where getting Internet in the home is apparently quite difficult, the Internet in cafes here is really fast and you can get free wifi in almost any restaurant or cafe.  Oh Argentina.  How you confuse me sometimes.  Also lovely is the fact that you will never get hurried out of a cafe, or given any awkward looks if you’ve only ordered a coffee and are still in the cafe four hours later using the Internet.  No pasa nada… as with everything, Argentines are very relaxed about time.

Anyway, my favorite cafe that I’ve found so far is a place called Bardepán, a wonderfully cute hidden gem in the Colegiales neighborhood.  I hate having to use a cliche like hidden gem, so we’ll say undiscovered spot, but it really is just that.  Because foreigners and visitors rarely hang out in Colegiales, it’s totally off the radar here.  I was only introduced to it by my former roommate, who had passed by it on a walk.  Bardepán, along with the restaurant that it’s connected to, La Prometida, is a perfect place to linger over croissants and coffee, or, as I did one day, over a huge bowl of delicious curry beef, vegetables, and rice, and homemade bread and hummus.  Check out my little cafe office:

If only cubicles could be this inviting...

The cafe’s atmosphere is perfectly quaint and warm–not so chic that you feel like it’s catering to a shi-shi or touristy crowd (ahem–I sometimes think very stark, minimalistic spaces are like this), and not so precious that you feel like it’s trying too hard.  The decorations and artwork are all very interesting; everything down to the lighting and the jars of various items lining the shelves look like they were very purposefully chosen.   It has the look of a cafe that you would find in France (except I am making that assumption because I can’t actually recall what the cafes in France looked like, and it was almost ten years ago that I was there). But, since a picture says a thousand words, here are some photos of the place for your viewing pleasure:

freshly baked bread and pastries in the cases
kind of a hodge podge... but an artful hodge podge

Even the woman baking the breads and pastries was adorable! Look at that hat!

the guy's holding a tarta, which are really popular here... like quiches, but better

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