My husband and I dined at one of the best restaurants we have eaten at in the entire country of Panama. Caracoles Cafe, located in the Playa Coronado area, has been in business almost a year and they are putting their stamp on Panama’s culinary scene. Owner Matt, originally from the United States, has a great business and staff of fine workers showcasing his menu options.
It all starts with an open, airy concept restaurant, tastefully decorated in neutral tones with pops of orange color here and there. The bar frame is adorned with seashells which worked well with the lighting and table settings. You immediately feel welcome by the friendly staff who speaks great English and even offers suggestions for menu selections. I appreciated the extra effort to make the menu itself look appealing, as well as the items listed on it. Kudos for listing each food in Spanish, followed by a complete English description.
Appetizers and Cocktails
The menu at Caracoles Cafe is all across the board. You will find many types of food offered, including comfort foods that will bring a dash of nostalgia to your dining experience. Chef JR is preparing dishes from Chicken Tikka Masala, to country style Ribs, Hot Dogs, Meat Loaf, Chicken Piccata, and fresh seafood options. It certainly is an impressive list to choose from.
For starters, Eddie ordered a classic margarita. The drink came out and it was incredibly smooth. No afterbite from the tequila, but a nice mix of flavors. I had the Basil Lemonade, a healthy option that was refreshing and very tasty. We ordered appetizers of BBQ Chicken Wings (Eddie’s favorite!) and a cup of the Soup of the Day, Roasted Tomato Tortellini.
Our plates arrived looking lovely. Eddie’s wings were meaty and had a delicious flavor. The waiter even brought over a finger bowl to clean his hands afterwards. How thoughtful! My soup was honestly the best thing I had eaten in my three week trip to Panama. Luscious tomato soup, drizzled with olive oil and made with a cream base, floated skillet roasted tortellinis that gave the soup a nice texture from the crispiness. It was so freaking good! If I lived in Coronado, I would come to Caracoles Cafe daily just to have soup.
Delicious Dinner Entrees at Caracoles Cafe
Next up were our dinner selections. Eddie went for the Ribs, paired with mashed potatoes and recommended by our waiter. The rack contained 4-5 bones, which was a nice portion size. I had the Chicken Tikka Masala, about medium heat, and served with what I think was Basmati Rice. The dish was beautiful to look at and yummy to devour. A small side salad with lettuce, carrots, cucumbers, and tomatoes did a fine job of helping to cut the heat of the dish. Eddie and I were both very happy with our choices.
Highlights and Overall Thoughts
The best part of the night was meeting the owner, Matt, and chatting with him about life in Coronado and his Caracoles Cafe restaurant concept. This is one of the best spots for food quality and service that we have encountered in nearly three years of being part-time residents in Panama. The presentation of the drinks and food was brilliant! You will definitely need to put the Caracoles Cafe on your dining bucket list.
Bonus: Their dessert selection was seriously off the hook. A display counter inside of the door offered a peek at all of the desserts currently available. They ranged from Key Lime Pie, 5 types of Cheesecakes, Apple Pie, Carrot Cake (their best seller), Chocolate Cake, and Cake Balls. In fact, the owner brought a cake ball to our table to share for dessert. It looked so lovely on the plate that neither of us wanted to cut into it. When we did, the sweet and crunchy taste of Butterfinger surprised us. Butterfinger Cheesecake ball dipped in chocolate. OMG, it was so good! I wish that my partner and daughter, Taylor, had been there because these are two of her favorite things.
Note: Playa Coronado is located about one hour outside of Panama City. It is a beautiful beach community.
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