You notice very fast that the people of Mendoza take their café culture seriously. Spending a day strolling the streets of Argentina’s wine capital you breathe in the atmosphere of a city where people enjoy life and sits in cafés sipping coffee and chatting. As one of the most European-like cities in Argentina, it’s no wonder Mendoza’s people take their café culture seriously. Strolling around the city passing by its coffee places and the abundance of outdoor servings along the streets and avenues, Mendoza invites you to enjoy its buzzling café life. Sit down, grab a coffee and a pastry or even a healthy pot of flavoursome tea. It’s just the right place to soak in the city’s relaxing atmosphere. Here are five of our top picks.
The trendiest and sleekest café in town, Bröd, serves yummy apple crumbles, sandwiches, custard tarts garnished with fresh berries, pumpkin and carrot rolls and thirst-quenching lemonades with mint and lemon and juices. Run by Sebastian Flores, former chef at beautiful Cavas Wine Lodge in Luján de Cuyo, you won’t be disappointed by the high standards of this place. Located right on street Chile 894 in the centre of town, it’s perfect for when you want to get a decent start to your morning, with poached or scrambled eggs and a variety of bread and pastries. Staff is young and hip with matching outfits and the ambience intimate. Drop by on Sunday after 11am when this trendy place serves one of those rare Argentinean brunches.
Bröd, Chile 894, +54 261 425 2993
No city in Argentina is complete without a Bonafide. This no frills café chain serving good quality coffee and selling a range of chocolate never seems to disappoint. This is the place you go for a tasty cappuccino and a classic Argentine tostado (toasted sandwich with jam and cheese). The different types of coffee beans from Brazil and Colombia and variety of roasted blends serve as a base to the classic café con leche (coffee with milk) and their range of flavoured cappuccinos. For those who are not as dedicated coffee lovers there is also a decent choice of flavoured frappuccinos and smoothies, as well as yummy hot chocolates to choose from. No matter what you like one should not visit Mendoza without having a cup in this straightforward café that has a few branches dotted around town.
Bonafide, Av. San Martín 1483, +54 261 423 3575
In the leafy suburb of Chacras de Coria lies this hugely popular and classic café and bakery. With a big outdoor seating area perfect for breezy summer afternoons and a traditional counter with pastries, sandwiches and irresistible medialunas (Argentine croissants) it’s hard not to feel at home here. The ambience invites to long and very relaxing afternoons sipping coffee (although they also make delicious hot chocolates and thirst quenching freshly squeezed orange juices) and reading the newspaper and soak in the amicable atmosphere of Mendoza life. Once you managed to leave you can pick up some bread to enjoy later for dinner or a classic ham and cheese empanada to savour on the way.
Jebbs, Mitre 1460, Chacras de Coria, +54 261 496 2183
The most stylish and sophisticated café in town serves coffee made by passionate baristas Maximiliano García Blanco and Carlos Arón Rojas, lighter food composed by skilled chef Vitaly Kozelkov and beautifully created cakes by baker Macarena Arancibia. Silla 14 is owner Julieta Soldini’s dream of what a great café is, serving high quality coffee and delicious food and cakes to match and devour. The elegant and airy interior heightens the experience and if you want coffee seen as an art form this is the place to go. Try the croissants and scones or if you feel a bit indulgent a cup cake or alfajor.
Silla 14, San Lorenzo 656, +54 261 423 8837
Tea and Company
There’s a lot of focus on coffee in this Italian and French inspired city called Mendoza, but for tea aficionados there are places like Tea and Company. It has chosen to specialise in healthy infusions and aromatic brews and with one branch out in Chacras de Coria and another one in Godoy Cruz, this is for when you’re in the city’s suburbs and long for a steaming, relaxing cup of tea. The place has a huge variety of flavours to choose from. In summer go for the blood orange or lemonade iced teas and on cool days opt for tea flavours like Belgium Nougat or Hot Compat – a blend of plum, pear, apple, cinnamon and chilli. If you really feel like splurging out on delicious sweet and spoil yourself, Tea and Company also serves afternoon teas.
Tea and Company, Viamonte and Larrea, Chacras de Coria, +54 261 496 1051
Madelaine Triebe works as a freelance travel journalist and has a degree in journalism from City University London. She first fell in love with Argentina when she studied Spanish in Buenos Aires in 2008 and really got into the habit of having late dinners. It was also back then she first sat on a polo horse and galloped in the Pampas. Since then she is too fast on horseback and has cultivated an ever growing passion for horses, Patagonia and wild places. She is one of the authors of Rough Guide to Argentina and she has also written about the country for The Explorer and Matador Network. Follow her on Twitter at @mymaddytravel or read more on her blog: MyMaddyTravel.com