Is there a US equivalent of pan dulce? Italian imports of pan dulce - panettone - are widely sold in the US and are infinitely better than the Argentine imitation. The problem seems to be the Argentine tendency to use the cheapest ingredients, the reason in my opinion, that Argentine medialunas are usually bad (lack of butter) and that baked goods in general are inferior to what you get in Europe.
What they call pandulce here is the Spanish version of Pan Dulce from Genova, which was a sort of bread filled with dried and candied fruits (see below).
Here they use the same name also for Panettone (the spongy, tall one, see below) from Milan which is the one I think @sergio is referring to. You can find some place selling panettone, but as @sergio said, the fact that here they tend to use the cheapest ingredient and put an overload of dried fruit, which makes the result far from the original.
I buy mine from Mauro.it (11 de Septiembre de 1888 2465, C1428 CABA) but it is expensive. He does 2-3 types, the most expensive is the 'Veneziano' with sugar, almonds and hazelnut on top and it was $1200 one month ago (see below). The classic 'Milano' I think it was $900.
Argentinian bakers are lacking breading skills and Argentinian customers are lacking the spending power to buy quality product. Terrible combination.
I have tried the famous Pan Dulce from Plaza Mayor and to me, it was not something I could swallow... Like everything in Argentina, it sells only because of its name and the striving effort to find 'traditions' and 'food staples' in a country with very little gastronomical traditions. Tradition to 'queue' outside of a place selling pan dulce only during certain times of the day it is just the kind of abuse the Argentinian thrive for. For me, it's lacking of respect toward customers.
If you think that people here consider 'a nice meal' going to La Farola and a 'nice ice cream' going to eat an industrial-made Freddo ice-cream, you'll learn fast to never trust locals on food...
Not surprisingly, not even on La Nación they actually comment the food when they talk about places and restaurant. There is NEVER a negative word on any food in any place. Those are not food critic piece, those are advertisings.
People are so used to food made with low quality ingredients that they often consider it the standard by which they judge food. We've had discussions on this forum about medialunas. There are people who dislike the ones made in France -- lots of butter, light and fluffy - they prefer dense medialunas made with lard or whatever they use here. Same for cakes. They are invariably revoltingly sweet with loads of fake cream and dulce de leche but the worst are the pastafrolas you see in bakery windows -- they're invariably as tough as nails. They even look bad. How they can sell them is beyond me. For a country with such a large population of relatively recent European descent it's hard to understand how they have lost their culinary skills or even appreciation.