Tag Archives: Meals

The Pavilion Cafe- A Gem in the National Mall

By Rohan:  (Updated September 20, 2014)

It’s a gift to find the time to enjoy a sunny D.C. day under the shade of the Washington Monument in the National Mall. With world-class museums to visit, families are running from one institution to the next, and taking the time to sit back and revel in the historic sights or even just enjoy a nice lunch can be foreign to a busy schedule. Unfortunately, many people have come back to me telling me that their meals at the museum food courts were subpar. Perhaps the Pavilion Cafe, an often missed gem in the National Sculpture Garden, is the ideal solution.

The Pavilion Cafe opens bright and early. For breakfast, enjoy a welcoming latte with a scone or pastry to satisfy your sweet tooth. They open at 10 AM, half an hour before all the museums, so I highly recommend getting here first and grabbing a quick bite for breakfast. If you come back at lunch time, you will be paying two or three dollars more for a significantly better dish than what you would usually find in a food court. Instead of the typical hamburger or pizza, excite your tastebuds with a variety of flavors from around the world. Try a Middle-Eastern wrap, a fresh Italian panini, or an American hot dog. Your options are endless and the food is quite affordable.

What’s a restaurant without ambiance? After all, your eyes will probably want something calming to look at after staring at a Tyrannosaurus Rex or a chunk of a Lunar Satellite. Fear not, the Pavilion Cafe is located in the heart of the National Sculpture Garden in a building that looks like the entrance to a Parisian metro station. There is limited seating indoors and a decent amount of tables on the restaurant patio. However, if your stomach is up for the challenge, I suggest ordering something portable (like a sandwich) and walking around the garden, admiring some eclectic modern art as you digest your lunch.

The best part about the Pavilion Cafe is its proximity to… everything. It is located in between the Museum of Natural History and the National Art Gallery. The Air and Space Museum is right across the street, and the American History Museum is a block towards the Washington Monument. Plus, you can get some great photos in front of the Capitol, so make sure that camera is charged!

If you are in Washington D.C. and are touring some of the museums, give Pavilion Cafe a shot! Information about the restaurant as well as the other facilities they manage can be found here: