Buenos Aires Cafe

Located just south of the Cash American Pawn shop on South 1st St past Oltorf, Buenos Aires Cafe takes one completely by surprise and delight. From the location and the exterior of the restaurant you’d guess it was a place to get cheap tacos or burritos. However, step inside and it’s transformed. The tiny interior is modern, calm and elegant, the food delicious, and the desserts. What a find!

I took a friend to lunch a few weeks ago. She had the hot Vegetariano sandwich with black olives, roasted eggplant and peppers–a large sandwich with a generous serving of fries. I opted for the special sandwich of the day, portobello mushroom and pesto. We were in sandwich heaven. We didn’t think it could get better than that. And then we had dessert, a sponge cake rolled with cream center and topped with strawberries. The texture was light but moist and the cake itself flavorful. And the coffee was fantastic. I have to drink decaf these days and I’ve never had a really good cup of decaf before–which is why I usually order a latte. But this coffee tasted as good as roasting coffee smells.

A couple of weeks later I went back with AJ for dinner. The tiny tables were dressed up in white and black cloth tablecloths. Very pleasant and unobtrusive background music made the small dining room even more intimate. We started with empanadas: carne picante and carne suave. They were tasty but not very large and only whetted our appetites. We decided to split the entree and save room for dessert. The chef’s special sounded delicious but AJ, being British, couldn’t resist the Argentinean version of Shepherd’s pie, Pastel de Papas. I thought it was only okay. My disappointment stemmed more from the choice of the dish (shepherd’s pie, after all!) than the preparation. But I do think the lunch portions were more generous. However, once again dessert and coffee were excellent.

I’m really glad I discovered Buenos Aires Cafe. I feel lucky to have such a nice restaurant nearby at a crossroads otherwise populated by fast food joints. The prices are in keeping with the truly outstanding food, which makes them above average for the area. Some might consider it gentrification of dear 78704 but if the owner’s were paying rent downtown instead, I wouldn’t be able to afford to eat here. Buenos Aires Cafe is definitely my latest neighborhood fave.


Buenos Aires Cafe has opened a second location in east Austin at 1201 East 6th Street.