The restaurant scene in Panama continues to expand with offerings to please everyone from music buffs to vegetarians.There are also some sad departures.
MARBELLA, the old lady of Calle 39, (the road that leads from Avenida Balboa to the National Hospital on Cuba)is no more. The familiar landmark, that stood between the former American Embassy and the US Consulate building, was renowned for its paellas, and seafood and, over the years, was known as a meeting place for diplomats, politicians and those who liked well prepared sea food cooked with the spice of love, and meat grilled to succulent perfection, all served with style and attention to our idiosyncracies Now it's under the wreckers hammer and only the ghosts and memories of former banquets linger.
But 39 will not be without its wining and dining spots.
CASA RICARDO, two blocks from the old Marbella, on the corner of Mexico is attracting lovers of fine foods from across the city and beyond. You won’t find a street name or a sign identifying the restaurant, but it sits behind its own white painted tree.
The restaurant, previously reviewed here, is now serving an executive lunch three course llunch from ll a.m. You can dine elegantly and well, inside or out.
OLDIES a Pub and restaurant whose forte will be music dating back to the 60’s and 70’s hippie era, is also on 39, a few meters away from Ricardo’s. It opens on Friday January 22, and is sure to attract those wanting to reminisce about their rebellious youth, Woodstock, peace marches or time in Vietnam. The younger crowd who still collect music by the Rolling Stones, may also feel at home and will have the chance to hear some golden oldies that won’t need a ghetto blaster to soothe the soul.
PANGEA , in El Cangrejo, another newcomer to the social scene provides a series of intimate rooms highlighting spots from around the world. Wednesday is Meet Someone New night, 6-9 p.m. with happy hour prices when you can hop onto the magic carpet and match your mood with a destination. Wisconsin exile Gary Doherty will be your affable host. It’s located on Calle Alberto Navarro, which runs parallel to Via Argentina, A full review coming up soon.
RADAH is a newcomer to the vegetarian scene, located in Marbella, away from the farandula of Calle Uruguay. Everything is made fresh, including its own sumptious veggie burgers. You need a good appetite to eat the large version. The restaurant looks out onto a swimming pool, and at lunch time is filled with local office workers who may not all be vegetarian but enjoy the taste and freshness of the servings, and of course the price. For diners on a budget and health kick, this is the place to be. It's also open in the evening until 9. A full review coming soon.