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Feb 2, 2006 12:00 PM

Panamanian Restaurant in bay area

  • c

Does anyone have a recommendation for a Panamanian restaurant?

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  1. Why? I lived in Panama for two years and the "cuisine" is not very good. Seriously. It is not something that would translate well out of the culture and I would be surprised if there were any Panamanian restaurants anywhere that isn't struggling financially!

    7 Replies
    1. re: Beauregard

      When I lived in San Rafael, the Panama Hotel was a great place to eat. Havent been there since I moved (5years) but checked it out and still looks good. Here's the link:

      1. re: Phil
        MIck Ruthven

        But does the Panama Hotel serve Panamanian food? They describe it as a blend of Italian, Mexican and California cuisine.

        1. re: MIck Ruthven

          I stand corrected, should have read their menu before posting. Mostly Italian, looks good but not Panamanian!!!

          Like I said it was a fews years back when they did serve food from Panama. Phil

      2. re: Beauregard

        Beauregard, why would you ask why? It is plainly obvious that Connie is Panamanian or maybe her parents are. I found this site because I am also looking for a Panamanian restaurant, but in Southern CA. My father was Panamanian, and most of his familly live on the East Coast. I did not learn to cook the typical dishes I grew up loving, or as you state "cuisine". I miss the food and am craving it so bad...

        1. re: UnicornBeuty

          This is a three year old thread and I'd be really surprised if Beauregard answered it.

          Post on the Los Angeles and California boards and aski if there is any Panamanian food down that way.

          If worse comes to worse, ask for Panamanian recipes on the Home Cooking board. Googling turned up a few sites.with recipes here's just one

          However, it is surprising the people from all over that read the site. I once mentioned breakfast on some obscure island and someone from that place responded. It doesn't happen immediately, but keep an eye out.

          There once was a restaurant serving some food from Guam in the Bay Area, but it just closed.

          1. re: rworange

            I am from Panama. Lived there until I went to collage. What food do you miss. I probably have the recipe and would be happy to share.

            1. re: gatun

              The problem is that my sister and I don't know the names of the food my father would cook. In 2002, my grandmother and aunts were gathered in NY and I happened to ask them for recipes to some of the food my dad cooked. I had to describe what it was and what it tasted like. LOL, like describing the bread my dad baked many times. My grandmother said it was Johnny cake. They gave me the recipe, but I still haven't baked any. Ox tail!!!.... My mom (Salvadoran) and I know how to make the bacalao and the rice n peas (is that how you say it? El arroz que se cocina con coco). Um, geez, I can't think right now. Actually any recipes you may have would be good. Thank you for offering, and my family would surely appreciate it.

      3. Yes I know a good one called"El Montuno" in Brentwood CA94513

        6 Replies
        1. re: Ednah

          Do you have an address or approximate location. Nothing shows on yelp. Nothing shows on Goggle search.

          1. re: Ednah

            What dishes do you recommend at Montuno?

            I called today and learned that it opened two weeks ago. Owned by a husband-and-wife, they'd previously owned a restaurant in Panama. Liquor license is still pending, in the meantime, the lady said that they have chica _____, and unfortunately I couldn't quite understand the rest of the name. But she said any Panamanian would know what this beverage is.

            50 Sand Creek Rd, Brentwood, CA 94513

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Chicheme? Chicha de limón con raspadura?

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    Dang, was hoping it was chichita ... maybe when they get the liquor license


                    Unlikely they'd have it but the thing I liked best was aranitas, spider crab, something that looked like fried calamari but tasted like clams.

                    I'd be happy with Panamanian tamales, especially tamal de olla or pot tamales ... kind of tamal caserole ... no wrapper of either corn or plantano ... real comfort food, even from the first bite the first time I tried it

                    From my brief visit, I gotta disagree with that original 2006 reply that Panamanian food is not interesting. There is a lot of masa-like corn thingies though. For restaurants specializing in Panamanian cuisine, this one from Las Tinajas is kind of typical ... gotta have that sancocho (Panamanian chicken soup)


                    El Trapiche had a more extensive menu and wasn't as tourist-oriented, but doesn't have an online menu and my photos of the menu kind of suck.

                    I'll be interested in seeing how many similar items are on the menu at Montuno

                    Thanks for getting the address. Hope to hear some reports. Wiki sort of has a good list of better known Panamanian food.