Buenos Aires, Downtown - Microcentro

  • Ambience 70%
  • Service 70%
  • Food 75%
  • Creativity 80%
  • Value 80%

Restaurant Details
Locale: Buenos Aires, Downtown - Microcentro
Address: Nicaragua 6044
Telephone: +54 11 4516-0665
Restaurant Type: Cafe, Casual Dining
Cuisine: Coffee - Bread - Pastries
Service Type: Table Service
Price: $$$
Menu items offered: Alfajores (cookies), Apple Pie, Breads and Pastries, Brownies or Blondies, Cheesecake, Chocolate Cake, Coffee, Cookies, Crème brûlée, Desserts, Egg Breakfast Dishes, Empanadas, Fried Calamari, Hamburgers, Ice Cream, Key Lime Pie, Lemon Pie, Pizza, Quiche, Salads, Sandwiches, Scrambled Eggs, Seafood, Soups, Tapas - Finger Foods - Snacks, Veal cutlets - Milanesas, Waffles
Sun-Thu: 8:30am to 9pm, Fri-Sat: 9:30am to 10pm,

Review Summary
Pani is hit or miss. Pani's forté is pastries and coffee. Expanded menu with sandwiches, quiche and salads is hit or miss. Service is hit or miss too. They have one of the best salad's in the city. But one of the worst sandwiches. Our advice. Order the cheesecake or a salad. Skip the rest.

The full review for Paní

Review by: Ollie O Rating: 3.4 stars Review Date: 09/13/2015

Pani is one of several restaurants in Buenos Aires that started as a pastry shop, serving croissants, coffee and pastries, that has recently expanded the menu to encompass a much wider offering of savory dishes.

The redesigned menu offers quiche, sandwiches, salads, and limited number of main course dishes.

We began revisiting Pani in November of 2016 to sample some items on the expanded menu. We were looking for candidates for our “best sandwiches” and “best salads” lists in Buenos Aires and the expanded menu now had some promising nominees in these two categories.

We’ve been in Pani in two locations. The décor, which is similar in both, is sort of like a trip to Alice’s “Wonderland”. Bright colors and art deco furnishings create a quirky but pleasant ambiance. We note that a poor choice of fabrics and colors has created some issues. In the downtown location, there are many booths with upholstered benches in a tufted yellow fabric that over time has become noticeably dirty, in dire need of a serious steam cleaning.

That said, the bright fabrics, funky furnishings and colorful wall murals create a pleasant casual ambiance.

On a recent visit at lunch to the downtown location, behind Gallerias Pacifico, we ordered the Media Dulzona salad.

We were delighted with both the creativity and execution of this menu item. A host of unlikely ingredients, brie cheese, slices of mango, avocado and cherry tomatoes, set atop a base of spring greens, dressed with a slightly-sweet vinaigrette made for an unique and delicious salad. The menu states the dressing was honey-mustard. Not even close. I detected neither honey nor mustard in the dressing. But it was very good and worked perfectly on this salad so no harm done.

The service on this lunch visit, although somewhat inattentive, was acceptable.

On a different occasion, about two weeks later, we had lunch at the Recoleta Mall location, and ordered the Crispy Chicken Sandwich. It’s a breaded, fried chicken breast, covered in melted cheese, set on a brioche bun with a small dab of mayonnaise. This odd combination of ingredients was a total miss. The chicken was a bit overcooked on the edges, the breading was not really crisp at all (as indicated on the menu), the cheddar cheese was an odd coupling with the chicken breast (normally a swiss or other mild white cheese would be matched with chicken), the brioche was sweet and spongy, and there was no further garnish on the sandwich. It was just an odd mixture that didn’t work. Bottom line, it wasn’t bad. It was executed as intended. But just was an unimaginative and boring combination of ingredients that didn’t work.

And the service on our second visit was well below average in a city where service is not so good anyway. After being seated and provided a menu, it was at least 45 minutes before a waiter acknowledged our presence. And then 20 minutes after we finished the sandwich before we were forced to flag-down the waiter to get the check.

Although the service on the visit downtown wasn’t stellar, it was immensely better than the service we received in Recoleta.

Our rating reflects the overall experience at both locations. But clearly, the service we received downtown was superior to that in Recoleta.

That salad was great. I presume it would be as good at any of the locations. But be prepared to endure erratic service. Also, note that our rating is based on two savory dishes. This restaurant’s forte is desserts and would likely be a good choice for something sweet with a cup of coffee. But you’d still be facing mediocre service.

I note that the prices seemed a bit high for the quality and genre of the food served. Some of the sandwiches were has high as US $12.50 (ARS$200). You can get a quality steak at one of the city’s best restaurants for that price.

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