La placita restaurant: La Placita Restaurant & Bakery

Old Town Cafe fills empty La Placita location

By Alaina Mencinger / Journal Staff Writer

Michelle La Meres, owner of Old Town Cafe and Blackbird Coffeehouse, sits in the dining room of her new restaurant. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal

Patrons eat lunch at Old Town Cafe, which opened Tuesday. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

The sign outside Old Town Cafe, which now occupies the historic Casa de Armijo. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)




When Michelle La Meres saw that the historic Casa de Armijo was up for sale this January, she knew she was meant to have it.

“I just knew I had to keep it a restaurant,” La Meres said. The 316-year-old building had housed La Placita Dining Rooms, known for the tree growing in its dining room, since 1931. As of Tuesday, it now houses Old Town Cafe, La Meres’ fourth business in Old Town.

“Old Town has me hooked,” the restaurateur said.

La Meres worked as a fused glass artist before getting into the restaurant business five years ago when she opened Blackbird Coffeehouse. Now, she owns a gallery in Old Town and has fostered friendships with other artists, many of whom helped her set up her newest business. A team of local artists lined the walls with punched tin and sacred heart sculptures. At the heart of the restaurant is a mural of Lady Guadalupe, painted by local artist Nikki Zabicki.

Dozens of license plates make a mosaic in the dining room. La Meres said she hopes that people will recognize their home states when they visit Old Town Cafe.

“I kind of wanted them to feel part of the restaurant and part of Old Town,” La Meres said.

Juan Nepomuceno Armijo built the family house in 1706; serendipitously, one of La Meres’ employees is a descendant of the original Armijo family. La Meres, a history buff, spent months researching the family.

“I feel like I knew them,” La Meres said.

The building has stood under five flags: the Spanish, the Mexican, the Confederate, the Union, and finally, the New Mexican.

Although La Meres has opened restaurants before – she owns Blackbird Coffeehouse next door and Raven Blues across the street — Old Town Cafe is her largest project yet. The menu features New Mexican comfort food, including fry bread that La Meres has delivered daily, frito pie and pastries concocted by Le Chantilly owner Laura Shirley.

“I’ve lived for this day,” La Meres said before her grand opening.

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La Plata — the ideal city of Argentina

La Plata ( La Plata ) is a small city an hour by train from the capital and the first planned city of Argentina, the administrative center of the province of Buenos Aires and the country’s student mecca. Here you can not only see numerous government buildings, but also study the ideal urban planning, and just escape here from the noise of Byres for a day, wander around excellent museums and look at the largest cathedral in Argentina. We liked to take a leisurely walk along La Plata, inspired by its former grandeur. In general, if you want to gain new knowledge on a trip to Argentina, then La Plata is a great option for a day trip from Buenos Aires.

Content of Article

  • 1 La Plata (La Plata)
    • 1.1 Main information
    • 1.2 How to get
    • 1.3 Where to stop
    • 1.4 What to see
    • 1.5 Our impressions of la-payment-whether it is worth going
    • 11111111111111111 1.6 Our photos
    • 1.7 Video
  • 2 La Plata on the card

La Plata

La Plata ( La Plata ) is a rather nice city in the Argentin with Argentin with a population of 650 thousand people, located at the mouth of the river of the same name, about 56 km south of the city of Buenos Aires, which is conveniently reached by train. This city is called the “city of diagonals”, and if you look at its plan from above, then everything immediately becomes clear.

Interesting facts about La Plata:

  • The city of La Plata, with its squares surrounding the central part and clear and thoughtful streets, is very reminiscent of the ideal city of Philadelphia built by the Masons.
  • La Plata is also called “the city of limes” because of the large number of these trees planted along the streets.
  • Also in La Plata was born Cristina Elisabeth Fernandez de Kirchner, a well-known woman politician, the 55th President of Argentina.

Basic information

The city of La Plata is a mixture of great history, which can be read in the beautiful buildings of the city and perfectly planned streets, and the economic decline of Argentina. It was designed in strict Masonic symbolism by the architect Pedro Benoit, in the form of a square with a central square (like Savannah in the state of Georgia, USA) and diagonal main streets directed exactly to the cardinal points, under the leadership of Dardo Rocha, the governor of the province of Buenos Aires, who laid the first stone to founding a new city 19November 1882.

Good to know: before traveling to La Plata, check the tourist information on the official website

Pasaje Dardo Rocha — cultural center in La Plata

city ​​from the railway station, it immediately became clear that we were in the province. If Tigre is a town for the rich, then La Plata gives the impression of vintage antiquity.

Basically La Plata looks like this

But there are quite modern buildings

The city was undoubtedly very beautiful, but not all buildings are properly looked after. For this, the province simply does not have the money. People here are dressed much more simply than in the capital, there are no numerous street cafes and expensive restaurants with wealthy visitors.

Street in the center of the city of La Plata

It seemed to me that this is such a small Mendoza, which is also famous for its layout, tree-shaded streets and aristocratic poverty with a touch of provinciality. Nevertheless, a walk along La Plata was quite interesting precisely because of getting to know how people usually live in Argentina.

How to get there

We left for La Plata in the morning by train from the Plaza Constitucion station (General Roca line). And you can get there both by land transport (bus, taxi), and by metro blue line C — the station of the same name — Constitution Plaza. You can also go to La Plata by bus from another station — Retiro.

Train to La Plata

Tren Roca suburban line scheme (yellow above — to La Plata)

Tourist information:

  • Trains to La Plata run from Buenos Aires every 20-30 minutes from morning to evening and every day.
  • Travel time is an hour and a half, depending on the day of the week (trains run slower on weekends).
  • The fare on the train is quite low, in terms of US dollars — about $0.2.
  • The train station in La Plata is located near Paseo del Bosque, one of the attractions of this city.

Railway station in La Plata

You can use the SUBE card to pay for the train to La Plata, which is suitable for almost all types of public transport in Buenos Aires, as well as many other cities in Argentina. For example, we successfully rode along it on buses in Bariloche to the places where hiking trails begin in the mountains.

Trains come across different — both new and old, but in general they are comfortable. An hour on the road flies by unnoticed, especially since sandwiches, waffles, alfahors and other sweets are sold along the way, and nugget artists perform — who sing with the guitar, who show tricks or arrange whole performances.

Where to stay

There aren’t many decent hotels in La Plata, but there is still a choice. All hotels in La Plata see here

Our recommendations:

  • The best hotel in La Plata is considered affordable Grand Brizo with modern rooms and an indoor rooftop pool with a view, located in the heart of the city directly opposite Cathedral.
  • Also good accommodation options that we have looked at for ourselves is the new hotel Land Plaza with spacious rooms, next to Plaza Italia.

What to see

Despite the fact that there is a classic walking route for tourists to get to know the city of La Plata, we went our own way. We decided to first see the city sights of La Plata, and finish with the forest and museums.

Recommended walking route in the city of La Plata

Tourist places of La Plata (highlighted in purple)

Therefore, from the station, we went along one of the Diagonals towards San Martin Square — yes, there is one in every city in Argentina.

Monument to San Martin in La Plata

The first impression of La Plata was not winning, to be honest. It was as if we were back in the 90s, in a country where nothing has changed — they trade like in a market, goods lie right on the ground. After the metropolitan Buenos Aires, which lives in the early 2000s, we again, as if by a time machine, moved to another period of time.

Buildings seem unkempt, although you can see how beautiful they used to be. And if La Plata is put in order, it will indeed become an exemplary and comfortable city for life.

But now two-storey buildings are suddenly replaced by high-rises-candles, because someone still bought the old wreck and built a house with apartments in its place. This weight looks unsightly in the ensemble — not the most profitable mixture of styles. This is especially striking just on San Martin Square — when a Soviet-style skyscraper is adjacent to the 19th century Obelisk.

Nevertheless, there are many beautiful buildings in San Martin Square. For example, the Legislature is an example of the German Renaissance.

Legislature — an example of the German style in architecture

When old buildings appear that still perform their function — cathedrals or government buildings — it becomes clear why La Plata used to be in all guidebooks. A couple of decades ago, everyone vying with each other advised to come here without fail.

After walking around San Martin Square, we turned and walked along 53rd Street. Here the new building of the Theater surprised me.

Teatro Argentino de La Plata is the second most important opera house in Argentina, after the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires

Well, the first building that really made me gasp was the City Hall Building. This is a snow-white building with a tower. Two buildings are built around the cylindrical central part of the City Hall. The clock tower of the town hall looks at the central square of the city — Plaza Moreno.

In the heart of the city on Plaza Moreno stands the majestic neo-Gothic Cathedral, just like in Quito, the capital of Ecuador. Built in the 19th century, inspired by the Gothic cathedrals of Germany and France, it is the largest church building in Argentina. Does it remind you of the cathedral in Cologne?

La Plata Cathedral

View inside

In addition to the grandeur of the building itself, you can be amazed by the views around if you climb up the spiral staircase and look at the city from above and check if it is really ideal.

Interesting fact: if you climb one of the towers of La Plata Cathedral in clear weather, you can see the city of Colonia de Sacramento located 50 km on the other side of the Rio de La Plata river in Uruguay.

View from the steps of the Cathedral on the building of the city hall

And right next to the cathedral, we found graduates of the Faculty of Physics of the University of La Plata, washing their diploma defense in turn. This event itself consists of several stages. And at the Cathedral, its final part takes place, accompanied by the burning of flares to the applause of an invited group of friends, as well as the solemn opening of a bottle of champagne and pouring over a newly minted specialist.

Graduation in La Plata

Due to the pandemic, physics students received their diploma only after the 7th year of study

Further along 13th street we reached Saavedra Park ( Parque Saavedra ). This park is quite unique. On the one hand, there is nothing special about it — just trees, palm trees, a pond in the center. But here the residents consider it very cozy and come here to relax with their families, some fish in the pond. From the time when some money still came to the city, beautiful bridges and structures remained.

Park with a lake in the center of La Plata

The second part of the park is behind a fence. This is a more closed forest area — not only palm trees, but also coniferous trees grow in the park. And this is immediately felt as soon as you get inside — it seems that you were walking around an ordinary city and suddenly found yourself in the realm of palms and pines with a pleasant smell.

In Saavedra Park

Another diagonal took us to the forest Paseo del Bosque, the green heart of La Plata. Here you can ride a boat on the pond, take a walk in the forest, have a picnic on the grass in the shade of trees.

An interesting hill near the lake is now a resting place for the townspeople — couples kiss there, and musician friends rehearse their songs, some drink mate, and some come specially for a photo shoot.

Paseo del Bosque

Monument to Carlos Gardel — the most famous Argentine singer and film actor, the famous tango performer

It is also home to the zoo and Museo de la Plata, which boasts a collection of antiquities, minerals and dinosaur skeletons , in general — a kind of South American Museum of Natural History of New York and the Metropolitan in one person. It is considered the largest museum of its kind in South America.

The main thing is not to come on Monday, when museums usually have a rest.

Museo de La Plata

On the way to the main square of La Plata, you can see the Casa Curutchet, built in 1948, an example of modern architecture, designed by the Swiss architect Le Corbusier for the renowned surgeon Pedro Domingo Curuchet, who practices here. In 2016, this small house was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Casa Curutchet (pictured left)

That little house is easy to find by looking at this red giant

After that we went back to the railway station, got on the train and went back to Buenos Aires.

Update: Since we were in La Plata on a weekday, we did not see all the main tourist sites. So, on Plaza Italia on weekends you can visit the artisan market. It is also called the «hippie market». You can get there if you go from the station to the center not diagonally, but along 44 street. Tourists here also like to visit the children’s town Republica de Los Ninos is a theme park with miniature urban buildings and structures, opened in 1951 by President Perón.

Our impressions of La Plata — is it worth going

The main question: is it worth spending your time visiting La Plata?

This city made a double impression on me: on the one hand, after Tigre it seems that it is better not to go here, and on the other hand, how else to find out how Argentines really live? Not only in the areas of Recoleta and Palermo in Buenos Aires is their real life?

Yes, today’s picture may not be the most joyful, but it will give a more complete impression of the country’s history: both very distant in museums, and quite recent, during the golden age of Argentina.

Here people live as if credit cards have not yet been invented, and cash is the head of everything. Standing in line is a habit. And buried in a mobile phone, almost no one walks the streets.

Even students who spend a lot of time studying — in La Plata there is a 1897th National University, one of the best in Argentina!

My advice about La Plata is if you want to go beyond the usual stereotypes about Argentina, then why not spend your time on this trip? After all, it also has its advantages: a good Museum of Natural History, a lot of places for walking, the opportunity to spend time with children — there are many children’s entertainments in La Plata — a zoo, amusement parks, etc.

during our trip to Argentina, we took a walk along La Plata as an opportunity to change the scenery and get to know what was conceived as an ideal city with a rich history, as another side of this amazingly interesting country.

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    Texts : © Guides Gallimard
    Photo : © pirizluz, diegocardini




    **Offer cannot be combined, valid for an itinerary in at least 2 different Relais & Châteaux establishments until December 31, 2022, booked with one of our Relais & Châteaux concierges. The discount is valid only for certain rates and participating establishments. A list can be obtained from our concierges.

    The total price shown for information is calculated based on the number of nights recommended on this page in the next 3 months and based on double occupancy (excluding recommended events, except for establishments that cannot be booked online).

    Booking service

    Relais & Châteaux offers Happy Ways recommended routes
    which are adapted to the desires and experiences you would like to receive. Our consultants will help you choose the route and book our establishments. Reservation of recommended leisure activities on the territory of the hotel and beyond is made by you independently.
    **Offer cannot be combined, valid for an itinerary in at least 2 different Relais & Châteaux establishments until December 31, 2022, booked with one of our Relais & Châteaux concierges. The discount is valid only for certain rates and participating establishments.

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