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“Surprisingly good”
Review of Rene Cafe

Rene Cafe
Ranked #14 of 986 Restaurants in Panama City
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $8 - $25
Cuisines: Latin, Spanish, Central American
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Kids, Families with children, Special occasions, Local cuisine
Dining options: Lunch, Late Night, Dinner, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff
Venice, CA
Level Contributor
180 reviews
71 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
“Surprisingly good”
Reviewed August 28, 2012

My wife and I just happened upon this place while walking around and we stopped for lunch. My wife enjoyed the salad and some egg-spinach-papaya quiche-like dish. I enjoyed the chicken and the rice. It was fun because what was served was a surprise -- you just order fish, chicken, or vegetable and everything else is up to the chef.

  • Visited August 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Jack L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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468 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
San Francisco, California
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“The absolute worst restaurant I have”
Reviewed August 23, 2012

We wanted to go to Manolo Caricol (MC) because it had good reviews, was recommended by the hotel concierge and was featured on "No Reservations" with Anthony Bourdain. We were walking around old town, it was getting late (around 9pm, but not late for Panama) and MC was closed for a private party, so we decided to go to Cafe Rene as it had decent reviews on Trip Advisor. We arrive to sit down and it seemed clean and nice enough. There was one other couple finishing up their meal, but otherwise it was empty. Not a good sign. The waiter/owner explained it was a prix-fixe meal of 5 courses including wine. We thought. "great". We asked what were the courses and he explained pasta appetizer, ceviche, garden salad, fish dish, etc. The reason I write etc. is because we did not get that far.

They initially brought us each a glass of wine that was actually pretty good, so we thought, Ok we're off to a good start. Then they bring out this past appetizer that I'm telling you, was chef-boy-ardee ravioli from the can. We were so stunned and shocked, we were not sure what to do. Starved as we were, we both tasted the dish and pushed it to the side. Horrible! Flavorless canned ravioli that was cold in the center! We told them we did not like it, so they brought the next course which was a garden salad. No kidding, here, wilted lettuce and a few slices of tomatoes drenched in oil and vinegar. Pathetic! It looked like a dressed salad you might have left over from dinner and try to save but come back the next day to find it wilted and unedible. That is precisely what we were served. It looked so bad we did not even attempt to eat it. The breaking point that forced us to run was when they brought out a ceviche dish. It was a small bowl filled with canned tuna, with chopped white onions on top. That's it. I kid you not. We could not believe it. At that point it was clear that the owner, who was our waiter was a complete jerk for having the audacity to serve us this crap. We were insulted, hungry and angry. We tried to leave without paying for this crap and he threatened to call the police. I threw some money at him and we left with the quickness.

We're not so much of fine diners that we cannot eat at and enjoy an economy restaurant, but this was the absolute worst meal experience I have ever encountered in a public restaurant bar none. I would never recommend this dump to anyone let alone my worst enemy. This place should be closed immediately,the staff fired and the owner banned from the restaurant business.

We took no photos as there were none worth taking.

  • Visited April 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
3 Thank 7seaswanderer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Orleans, Louisiana
Level Contributor
33 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 36 helpful votes
“Loved Cafe Rene!”
Reviewed August 13, 2012

We happened upon Cafe Rene while strolling around Casco on our last night before going to the Kuna islands. We didn't want to spend alot but wanted a good meal. This was the place for us! We had the "lunch" meal...a big salad, a piece of a quiche like thing, a choice of a meat dish , fried rice, a veggie, bread and tasty butter and dessert for $8.50. To top it off, they had the best hot sauce we have ever had and guess what? They make their own and gave us some to bring home! They get our vote.

Visited August 2012
Thank rnmph
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
18 reviews
11 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Please support Rene's!”
Reviewed August 12, 2012 via mobile

I hope Rene can survive the construction on the plaza. The night we went there were only two other patrons. Many people we met thought they were closed. We had a great five course meal that included an appetizer and desert. We felt like we were dining at someone's home and really enjoyed it.

Thank Toni C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
14 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Great place to grab a coffee”
Reviewed July 15, 2012

You may not know this, but Panama has great coffee! I discovered this about 2 days into my trip to Panama this summer. Rene Cafe is a great spot in the the Cathedral Square to grab a cup. (I liked their Cafe Con Leche).
Please note that right now (July, 2012) there is a lot of construction going on in that part of the city so you may not be able to eat/drink outside, but the inside of Rene Cafe is quaint and a perfect place to whip out your journal, a book, or chat with a friend.

Coffee in more rural parts of the country cost about $1.00 a cup. At Rene, the same cup will cost you $2.00 but that seems to be pretty average in the cafes around the Casco Vijeo.
Enjoy, and try to strike up a conversation with the owners who can often be found behind the counter:)

  • Visited July 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank travelchik24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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