Restaurants in Panama City Panama – The Good, The Ok and the Bad

As always, I want to share with you all my review of the restaurants that we visit during our trip, in this case the restaurants in Panama City Panama.

I wish I can tell you that every single place we tried was amazing, but unfortunately I have some that fit the category of just ok and one that was pretty bad, so keep reading to make sure you don’t have to waste your time and money on these and spend all you energy on those that are worth coming back.

Restaurants in Panama City Panama – The Good Ones

There were three restaurants in Panama City Panama that are worthy of not only being mentioned on this review, but that absolutely made it to the group of Good restaurants that I would definitely go back to and you should include in your itinerary when you are traveling to Panama.

restaurants in Panama City Panama

1. The best restaurant in Panama City Panama that we ate during this trip was:  Marzola Parrilla in Casco Viejo.  Marzola is an Argentinean restaurant which implies that steak is what’s for dinner when you visit this place.

The food was amazing, and the athomsphere was so unique that it’s hard to forget about it.

In terms of food I had Entraña, one of the least expensive cuts of meat used in an asado, entraña is what many know as the skirt steak. The cuts are exactly the same. The meat is rich in flavor and extremely juicy.  This is what I had and I was wowed by the flavor of it.

My friends had Rib-Eye, the Proveletta, and the Ribs and they were swearing for it.

Ben had vacio, which is an extremely popular cut of beef in Argentina, often cooked as asado, the general term for an Argentine grill — and in France, where it is called bavette, often served as steak frites. he cut is one of the flank primal cuts, although it’s not really a  flank steak, and had nothing but great things to say about the restaurant either.

2. The second restaurant in Panama City Panama that you need to make sure you visit is La Strega, located at the beginning of 50th Street on the right hand side.

The place doesn’t look like much from the the outside, but don’t let that fool you because it’s an amazing Italian experience.

We decided to go here after the recommendation of one of my best friends, but really was sold me was when I read in their website about their fetuccini.

They basically prepare the sauce in a huge block of parmesan cheese, table side and so you get all the flavors from the cheese in your food.

restaurants in Panama City Panama

Ben had the penne pomedoro and I heard it was superb.

My friends had everything from an oven roasted pizza to pork chops with a side of veggies.

restaurants in Panama City Panama

We all had a great time.

restaurants in Panama City Panama

3. The third place you want to go eat at when you are visiting Panama, and definitely one of the best restaurants with Panamanian food is La Casa de Lourdes en El Valle de Anton.

El Valle is about 2 hours drive from Panama, so yes you have to plan this, but it’s also a great place to visit, as you can read in our future post about El Valle.

A good friend from Brazil that lives in Dallas that went to Panama with his wife recommended this place to us.  For some reason we thought it was Italian, and so when we saw the menu we were a little dissapointed, well I wasn’t but Ben was, until…. we tried the food.

OMG!

I mean the place alone was so unique an perfect.  It’s a family owned hotel with 4 rooms and this huge dinning room, perfect for weddings or celebrations.

restaurants in Panama City Panama

I think I’d like to rent it for a family reunion in Panama.

So we started with sangria and a an avocado shirmp coctail, served with plantains.  So yummy, but sorry forgot to take that picture.

Then we had a blackened chickend in tamarind sauce because I wanted to have some fancy gourmet dish that didn’t sounded like something I’ve tried before, althought I knew tamarind was something that will give this dish the Panamanian flair, and Ben had a traditional rice, guandules, beef dish; and he ate every single bite of it.

restaurants in Panama City Panama

restaurants in Panama City Panama

The only reason I didn’t have Marzola and La Casa de Lourdes as a tie for number one place, is because for La Casa de Lourdes you have to drive 2 hours, and plan your day around that.

Due the road to get to El Valle is very curvy, unless you are going to spend the night, I would recommend you to go for lunch like we did instead of a dinner.

Restaurants in Panama City Panama – The OK ones

When you are comparing restaurants there are always going to be ones that are better than others and even in this group there are better ones among themselves.

4.  The forth place I want to mention for you is La Rana Dorada.  Nothing fancy, great for snacks and hanging out, but it’s a microbrewery in Panama with intersting selection of beers and snacks.

Ben mentiones that the IPA was good because it was a real beer and not the glorified water that other Panamanian beers can feel like.  However, and here is my editorial, when you are on the sun all day, like when we went fishing in Panama  on the charter boat that took us to Taboga Island I guarantee that the glorified water, aka the light Panamanian beers feel great and refreshing.  Which by the way also have amazing restaurants and I have pictures in that post.

5. With mixed feelings I’ve decided to add the restaurant at the Agua Clara, which are the set of Locks in the Atlantic on the Panama Canal to this group.

My food was not very good, I ordered a salad and it was horrendous, but Ben and my cousin had the Garlicky Sea Bass and it was delicious. So that gives them a 70% rating I guess.  However the appetizer which was prawns was pretty good too, and so I’m giving them an 80%.

The service was also good and the view, eating while watching boats go through in the Panama Canal was an experience pretty unbeatable.

restaurants in Panama City Panama

Restaurants in Panama City Panama – The Do not come back one

I always have mixed feelings when I write a bad review about a place, but it’s actually my fiduiciary responsibiltiy to keep you informed and aware of what’s good and what’s not, so here comes the story about why you should not go to L Azotea Panama, also in the Casco Viejo.

So we landed Saturday morning to Panama and we had such a tight schedule that we had decided go out to dinner with my friends and their significant others that same night.

We wanted to make sure we had a nice place, with a nice view as I was also showing Ben around.

My friends recommended we’d go to Casco Viejo for dinner.  I liked the idea.

They picked the place, and in paper it looked good, although the prices were astronomical, especially for Panama.

They also requiered us to give 50% deposit of the dinner (it was a fixed menu with 3 options) to reserve the table.  At first that sounded like maybe they are so good they get so full.

Well, it turned out it was all marketing…

The place was a complete dissapointment.

Other than the view, which we kind of had, the drinks were watered down, the food was a tiny bit of food with not much flavor and my cousin got sick from the food.

So I’m sorry L Azotea Panama, but I’m recommending my readers not to go to your place.

Conclusion

Hopefully this review gives you an idea of which restaurants in Panama City Panama to add to your list during your trip to Panama, and if you have any specific question, don’t hesitate in dropping it in the comments below.

Remember to keep traveling and to travel often, because Life is a Getaway!

Carmen

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