Argentina has quite the café culture, with Argentines spending hours over cafecitos with friends or newspapers at their favorite spot. Over the past decade, Argentines—who tend to be impossibly thin and beautiful regardless—have grown health conscious, with health food cafés and lunch spots popping up across the city.
Located in the slightly run down but historic neighborhood of San Telmo, Café Hierbabuena exudes charm and kitsch. The café, bar, and restaurant is easy to spot with its bright green-and-white striped awning and outdoor patio with potted plants, wooden tables and kelly green seating. Inside, the decór is shabby chic, with green-and-white striped wallpaper, kitschy seating, and shelves lined with mismatched tea kettles. The walls had playful quotes from Roald Dahl and there were large chalkboards decorated with Café Hierbabuena logos and slightly odd cartoons.
We nestled in at a table for two by the door, as it was quite chilly in Buenos Aires this time of year. Neither Cara nor I are morning people, so we were arriving at the tail end of brunch. I convinced the waitress to let us order brunch—which was concluding in approximately 3 minutes— and while she acquiesced, she was rude the rest of our meal.
Cafe Hierbabuena is a juice bar, offering green and superfood juices, green detox juices, and superfood smoothies. They serve breakfast, lunch, dinner and weekend brunch.
At brunch, there are prix fixe options, which includes coffee, an entree, and a side dish. We both began with smoothies—an almond milk banana protein smoothie for me, which is what I make at home, and a raspberry, blueberry, and banana smoothie for Cara. Both were delicious, as was the coffee.
I chose the smoked salmon with scrambled eggs, served open face atop hearty wheat bread and topped with a bit of fresh sprouts. The eggs were perfectly scrambled—moist and fluffy, and the salmon was fresh and delicious. I appreciated the clean presentation and execution.
My entree also came served with a small side of “granola pancakes,” silver dollar hotcakes topped with blueberries, granola, and a sweet sugar glaze. These were delightful, and I was happy—for my waistline—that Cara shared them with me. They were dense yet fluffy, and very much like the typical American pancake, save for the “healthy” granola toppings.
My bite-sized bestie, Cara, loves to order sandwiches as big as her head—so that’s what she did this brunch! Served on the same fluffy, hearty wheat bread, this sandwich was loaded with all the good stuff: scrambled eggs, slices of chicken breast, avocado, melted cheese, and fresh sliced tomatoes. It was delicious, and enormous, so she could only eat half.
While the service was less than friendly, the people who visited the café were adorable and friendly—particularly the group of elderly Argentine ladies who lunch who jumped into our Instagram photos. If only they’d wanted to combine tables.
The Bitches say: A. An adorable, kitschy breakfast and brunch spot that’s a must-visit when bopping around San Telmo.
Avenida Caseros 454
Buenos Aires, Argentina