Archive for the ‘restaurants’ Category

Restaurant Segundo Muelle in Panama City

Restaurant Segundo Muelle in Panama City

Loved It!

Excellent Peruvian restaurant in San Fransisco, Panama. We went recently, the service was top notch, the food delicious, elegantly presented, price for Panama City was mid to high depending on what you order, decor modern.

I won´t get into a flowery description of what we ate here because it was all delicious, you can get a better idea from the menu online, complete with photos. Dessert was fabulous, we devoured the “Crocante de Lucuma”.

I will attach the website which has the menu with prices, directions, photos, check it out here:


Location: Calle Crisantemos Nº 16 esquina con calle 68, corregimiento de San Francisco, Ciudad de Panamá.

Tel: (507) 3919234 Fax: (507) 3919235

Reserve via e-mail: sanfrancisco@segundomuelle.com


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Taboga Island, Playa Honda

Taboga Island, Playa Honda

03-07-2009 | ROB KIRCHER

Taboga, the garden paradise only a few kilometers offshore and less than an hour ferry away.

We’ve all heard the phrase, “So close, but yet so far away”; which by the way originated during the US Civil War between the States when bales of cotton would be stacked close together, so the enemy would face a seemingly impregnable barrier.

Well, that phrase couldn’t be any more accurate than describing quaint little Isla Taboga; which I’ve heard much about and finally visited a short time ago. To me, it was always an intriguing place, but unfortunately more than a taxi drive away. So therefore, it wasn’t a realistic destination that fit with my hectic schedule.

It wasn’t until I met a new friend of mine, Monarch, that the thought of traveling to the close but seemingly far away island became a real desire. As we were sitting last month in the Café Havana in Casco Antiguo enjoying one of the best mojitos on this planet, she enthusiastically introduced me to the finer aspects of the garden paradise only 20km offshore and less than an hour ferry away.

But, being a previous New Yorker with an engrained mentality that whatever someone needs should be attainable within a 5-block area of where they reside, the thought of traveling over an hour by boat just to see some pretty flowers was becoming a tough sell. And, oh by the way, that was just one way. Another hour would be needed for the return trip. My mind started to race. What if I get bored because there are not enough things to keep my interest? What if there are no quality restaurants? What if it rains? What if I miss the last ferry back and I have to stay the night? Will there be an available hotel room? What then? Should I make reservations just in case? No. The whole notion of visiting this seemingly far away island was becoming a big hassle.

Being the clever person she is and knowing how much I enjoy historical places such as Casco Viejo, Monarch ordered another round of mojitos and started to relieve my concerns by filling me in on the fascinating past of the scenic island? a place she was very passionate about.

Over the next half-hour I learned that Taboga was founded in the XVI Century by the Spaniard Sancho Clavija and that the island’s original name was “Aboga”, which means “an abundance of fish”. She also told me that Taboga is surrounded by several other islands, including Isla Taboguilla, Isla Urava, and Isla El Morro and that they were a small group of more than a thousand islands found within the Gulf of Panama. Then with a big smile Monarch began to enlighten me about the picturesque pueblo of San Pedro and how small eateries and shops line its main street and continue down some of its constricted paths too narrow for automobiles.

With my concern about finding adequate restaurants successfully satisfied, Monarch launched herself onto the main reason why Taboga is known as “The Island of Flowers” by reciting a list of floral species that are abundant throughout much of the island, such as lianas, bromeliads, orchids and ferns; along with a host of fruit trees that include nisperos, mameyes, nance, mango, tamarind and pineapple.

Finally, she appealed to my love of fishing and expounded upon the fact that Isla Taboga is world famous for its sport fishing and that the majority of its roughly 1000 inhabitants make their living from the sea. Some of the prized trophy fish caught off its shores are Amberjack, Pacific Sailfish, Black Marlin, Yellowfin Tuna, Wahoo, Cubera Snapper, Blue Marlin, Corvina and Roosterfish.
Then with a twinkle in her eye, Monarch added that the dazzling skyline of Panama City can be easily observed at night anywhere on the island and when there is a full moon the island lights up with a special air of romance. As things happen, it rained the day I visited the island, so I never got to experience what she described. However, blooming flowers were everywhere and the food was very tasty.

Rob Kircher is marketing and advertising specialist, writer and filmmaker

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This was our first visit to The Palms in Panama City. We loved it. Elegant decor, relaxing atmosphere, attentive service, creative and delicious food. An excellent location for a special date, dinner meeting, or to simply enjoy some elegant, fine dining in Panama.

We started with a full red wine from Spain; Protos Cosecha Roble $6 per glass. They also offered an extensive wine list. Before the meal we were brought a bread basket of fresh homeade breads and breadsticks which we devoured. Then I savored the delicate Mesclun salad with pear, nuts and goat cheese ($8). For my main dish, I chose the rabbit filled with dates and basil accompanied by a mixed vegetable tart ($17). My husband, who leans toward more a more traditional tastes, ordered beef medallions in a three pepper and coffee sauce, served with vegetables and mashed potatoes ($17). Our friend ordered robalo fish in calamari ink, served with ricotta and spinach canelloni (it looked really interesting and delicious) ($18).

The portions were generous, so we had no space for dessert but we have already decided to return.

They have a great website to peruse. Plenty of sharp, professional photos, and the menu is listed.
Calle 48, Bella Vista (off Uruguay)

Tel: 265-PALM / 265-7256

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DOLCE CAFE is located as you go up Via Argentina in Panama City from Via Espana on the right side. The café is the creation of Angel Bakx, an honest to goodness pastry chef from Canada. Not too many of those around these areas eh? (I have to let my Canadian background hang out somewhere!) Dolce is a delightful little cafe, decorated with a cosy, relaxed ambiance; a quiet retreat away from the hustle and bustle of Via Argentina and Panama City.


Savor and linger with sweet and sensational homeade delights such as Butter Tarts, Flourless Chocolate Cake (meaning it is mostly luscious chocolate!), Lemon Pie, Strudel, Muffins, Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies, Peanut Butter Cookies.

Notice I have started with the sweet stuff first, now you know where my soft spot is. So before the dessert you can order homeade soup, chili, quiche, bratwurst and sauerkraut, chicken wings, salads…. and more. If you are craving an American style breakfast, in the mornings you can order up 2 eggs and bacon.

Angel´s food is created from scratch, and with a lot of love I´d say. That is a rarity nowadays. She even offers old-fashioned Root Beer Floats and Brownie Parfaits.

I tested Angel´s butter tarts and cherry crumble. Absolutely buttery-delicious made with real brown sugar. Mouth watering and rich. Reminded me of eating special treats in my grandmother´s kitchen, Nanny baked cookies and sweets almost every day. Everything she made too was from scratch.

Prices are reasonable: Coffee $1.50, Breakfast $3.50, Cookies and Butter Tarts $1.00 ea, Cakes $3.00 piece, Soup $3.25 bowl, Bratwurst on a Bun with Sauerkraut $5.00.

Dolce 3

Chef Angel smiled and told me “a lot of my pastries are made when the mood strikes the chef”, that can be translated to: menu varies from day to day.

Angel has an English book-exchange library where you can bring on your novels and trade for new ones. She will soon have a mailing list to let her fans know about special events. Drop in for tea (or coffee), she always greets her guests.

Dolce 2

Dolce Cafe, Via Argentina before Taco Loco. 8 am to 8 pm, Mon to Sat, Sun 8 am to 4 pm. Tel: 264-1216 angiebakx@yahoo.com

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Tucked away in Paitilla, creative food, modern upscale ambiance.
Viso 52 Entrance

Viso Fifty Two Restaurant: It wasn´t by chance that I am writing this review tonight, several readers have requested it. I enjoy Viso Fifty Two, having eaten there a number of times already. It opened in Panama City late January this year and the food is truly creative, none of the menu items are ho-hum, they are all interesting and new. Well prepared in the spotless show kitchen by highly trained chefs. Not only that, it is in my neighborhood. I can enjoy a nice glass of wine and walk home!

Tucked away in a corner of Punta Paitilla, Panama City, Viso Fifty Two is conveniently located to downtown areas, only a few minutes by cab to major hotels. Unless of course it is rush hour when Ave. Balboa is jammed, but they are not open until 7 pm when the traffic is settling down.

Panamanian Chef Mario Castrellon is no stranger to great food. He studied near Barcelona, in Sant Pol de Mar for 4 years, then did a stint in the Canary Islands before returning home. He was the opening chef at La Posta restaurant where he worked for two years before opening his own catering company Mas Catering.

He changes the menu on a regular basis, every couple of months and offers specials on the weekends. In fact they have just changed and expanded the dessert menu. No diet food on that menu, sorry. Chef Mario calls his food Creative Comfort Food which is a little Fusion and a lot of Comfort he says. He focuses on fresh Panamanian ingredients and favorites when creating his signature dishes.

Chef Mario Recommends: Starter: Polenta Tamale with Ossobuco and Spicy Shrimp $6. Main: Grilled Octopus with Hearts of Palm $12.50. Green Mango and Avocado Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette $6.50. Dessert for the sweet tooth: Apple Crisp with Almond Topping $6 or Flourless Chocolate Cake $6 (a chocoholic´s dream).

Just as I was talking to Chef Mario friends walked in. They were just starting their meal when I finished my meeting with the Chef and were enjoying the green mango salad, the bread basket which has an assortment of unique breads and crackers, and a full bodied 2003 Rioja. They described their salad as delightful and felt that the wine was very good value. Later I will report on how they felt their meal was, I didn´t want to intrude any longer.

Other recommendations from friends who frequent Viso 52: Zucchini Wraps with Ricotta Cheese, Lemongrass and Pepper $7.50. Ravioli with Portobello Mushrooms in Crimini Sauce $13. Grilled Lamb with Pistachio and Mint $21.50. Angus Filet with Mushroom Risotto and Asparagus $14.50. Tuna in Miso Glaze with Green Beans, Crimini and Sprouts $14.50.

From personal experience when I ate there I found the zucchini wraps to be a tasty surprise; a ricotta cheese filling rolled in a paper thin strip of zucchini with punch of spicy pepper. The ravioli rich and elegant, melting in your mouth. The tuna was one of the best prepared steaks I have ever eaten, not at all fishy like tuna can be and with the delicate, salty flavor of miso to balance the bold flavor of the tuna; I ordered it rare, to medium rare. My friend had the medium but it was not the same texture. If you like raw fish, I recommend it on the rare side.

Ambiance and decor are elegant, service excellent. Prices on the upper end but not unexpected or out-of-range for this type of dining experience. Bathrooms are clean with ultra modern decor (Strangely enough, I always check the bathrooms, if restaurateurs put money and/or creativity into bathroom detail as well as the front, I can see they have an eye for detail and understand the total experience of their diners-everyone has to use it!).

Balboa Ave Sign

Wine: They have a well rounded wine list starting at $19 for white and $25 for red up to $190 for Dom Perignon. Over 70 varieties to choose from plus a wide assortment of other alcoholic beverages. Lemonade is tasty too!

Interior Viso 52

Bar: Swig by Viso Fifty Two will open in about 2 weeks and was described to me as an Ultra Lounge. They told me that it will be a modern upscale lounge with dancing. Opening soon, 5 pm till closing.

Viso Fifty Two Restaurant: Galerias Punta Paitilla, Locales 5&6, on the corner of Ave. Balboa (Popeyes corner, near Arrocha) and Via Italia. Open 12 noon – 2:30 pm and 7 pm – 10:30 pm. Reservations are recommended, especially for dinner. Tel: 215-0349, 215-2072 Email: visofiftytwo@yahoo.com Both Chef Mario and the manager spoke English. Valet parking is offered.

Mas Catering: Tel: 6674-2884, catering@mariocastrellon.com


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Intimate Space Pompei

Food is delicious, fresh and consistent, moderately priced, served up in a delightfully friendly atmosphere.

I am a confessed Carb Lover. Pasta is my dream food, add fresh jumbo shrimp, or eggplant with rich tomato sauce and you´ve got a fan!

Attilio Real at Pompei Restaurant in Paitilla has made aficionados out of our entire family. Chef Attilio has plenty of experience with North American taste buds, having worked as a Chef at Miami´s famed Tiramisu Restaurant.

An intimate and informal restaurant run by the dazzling duo of Chef Attilio and his wife who runs the front; they aim to please. Give them some notice and they will whip up something special, even without notice Chef will always do his best to accommodate special diets. The friendly and personal service is relaxing, as is the simple and clean interior decorated in shades of buttercup yellow.

We came upon Pompei quite by accident, we had heard some whispers that there was a new spot in the neighborhood and one day were at a loss, I didn´t want to cook so drove over to the unlikely location at the end of Paitilla strip mall.

Chef Attilio has plenty of experience with North American tastebuds, having worked as a Chef at Miami´s famed Tiramisu Restaurant.

Down to the food! I have eaten there many times (10-20) so the menu is familiar to me. Everything I have been served has always been well prepared, fresh, consistent, and delicious. My favorite appetizers are the Bruschetta with freshest of basil and tomatos $5, imported Prosciutto and just off the vine Melon (enough for 2) $10; my favorite salad is the standard Cesar which is crispy fresh with a well balanced dressing $6. For pasta the Penne is my choice with roasted eggplant, tomato, mozzarella and fresh basil $8. Fillet Gorgonzola is scrumptious with the rich taste of gorgonzola melting with the savory and tender beef $15, as are the fresh off the boat Langostinos (jumbo shrimp-they are fished here in Panama so truly are about as fresh as you can get) in roasted pepper and garlic sauce $16. Lasagna with beef and tomato sauce smothered in cheese, a favorite with my son, never fails $8. For dessert the creamy Panna Cotta is simply to die for $3, and the decadent Tiramisu $4 is always delicious. For people looking for huge bowls of pasta, Pompei is not the place. The servings of pasta are well-presented and sufficient; they are intended to be part of the meal (like in Italy) not the entire meal. Attilio creates seasonal specials daily to add delicious variety to the menu. They do not serve pizza.

Besides the food, what makes us return time after time is the family who run it, and their attention to their clients. When Chef Attilio comes out to check on our meals or greet us with his wife Sofia, we feel like we are in Italy and are part of his family.

Wine, they have a small but well chosen selection or you can bring your own for a small corking charge.

Hours: Monday thru Saturday 12:30 to 3:30 pm, 6:30 to 9:30 pm.
Location: Paitilla Mall, just down the street on the left side after the old DO IT Center in Paitilla and Super Kosher.
Reservations: 399-9728
Email: attilioreale@hotmail.com
Prices: Moderate
Parking: Secure parking lot
Exterior Pompei

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