Restaurant Spotlight: Águila Pabellón
The best bread and butter in Buenos Aires can be found in the zoo.
Águila Pabellón occupies a refurbished Art Nouveau building in the Ecoparque (Formally the Buenos Aires Zoo). This building opened in 1905 as a cafe and restaurant and also served other functions over the years, such as an art & nature center. With time, the building became abandoned and deteriorated.
The building recently underwent a year-and-a-half renovation with an investment of $700k USD to restore it to its former glory. This new restaurant opened in July of 2023 and, in record time, received a mention in the Michelin Guide. There was some controversy surrounding this since they had only just opened. Does it deserve the mention?
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The cuisine of Águila Pabellón is contemporary Argentine, with proteins like steak and fish, along with pasta, salads, and vegetable-based sides. They are also open for breakfast, with the typical Argentine classics like medialunas, ham and cheese toast, as well as international classics like avocado toast, yogurt w/ fruit and scrambled eggs.
The building is beautiful and has excellent seating, inside or outside, with a view of the Ecoparque. While the restaurant is technically inside the Ecoparque, the only access is on Sarmiento Ave. So, to pop in from inside the park, you must walk out and around. From the entrance to the Ecoparque at Las Heras and Sarmiento, it is around a 5-minute walk. Having direct access in and out of the Ecoparque would be nice. However, having its only entrance on Sarmiento gives the restaurant a feel of exclusivity and most likely keeps the casual foot traffic from inside the park out.
I have been twice in the last month, both times for lunch. The first time was with a group of 8 people, and I had no problem making the reservation the day of. The restaurant was packed on this visit, and the service was not up to par for a restaurant recommended in the Michelin guide. On top of that, many items on the menu were not available. The waitress was amiable and explained they were not expecting the demand. After a rocky start, the food arrived and made up for the slow service (I don’t want to say bad service as the waitress was very friendly, just overwhelmed).
On my second visit, I went by myself around 3 pm, and the place was empty, with maybe one or two other tables occupied. I ordered the same thing on both trips: Entraña (skirt steak) with smashed sweet potato. I should have tried something different for “restaurant spotlight” sake, but I enjoyed the entraña so much the first time I wanted another go at it.
One thing that needs a mention is the bread and butter. It is hands down the best I have eaten in Buenos Aires.
I can’t rate the service on this second trip, as practically no one else was there. There was no way to mess it up.
So, does Águila Pabellón deserve a mention in the Michelin guide? For the food and ambiance totally. But they will need to improve their service and be able to handle a full house. I have also discussed this with some friends who have been, and they have said the same thing. The food was great, but the service was slow. Regardless, it makes for a unique dining experience or a casual trip in the morning for a coffee and medialuna.
Bottom Line: Águila Pabellón is worth checking out, although expect slow service if it is busy. Hopefully, they can get their service issues figured out.
Open everyday for breakfast, lunch and dinner: 9 AM–12 AM
Make reservations here.