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“The anti-Panamanians”
Review of Manolo Caracol

Manolo Caracol
Ranked #107 of 1,041 Restaurants in Panama City
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Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Large groups, Special occasions, Local cuisine, Business meetings
Dining options: Late Night, Dinner, Lunch, Reservations
Description: One of the most renowned restaurants in Panama City, this Casco Viejo gem requires guests to put their tastebuds in the hands of Spanish chef/owner Manolo Madueño. You don’t order off the menu—about 12 courses of seasonal dishes will arrive at your table during either lunch or dinner. A cozy dining room adds to the hours-long experience.
Reviewed June 9, 2013

The anti-Panamanians

If your thing is loud, touristy eateries with over-the-top noise and under-the-expectation food, Manolo Caracol is the place to go in Panama City, Panama. Located in the Casco Viejo (old city) in an area under intensive renovation, it can be found by following tourist busses, which swarm it. At least on the Saturday night we were there.
The eatery’s hook is a prix fixe menu that changes according to available ingredients and the whims of the chef. The restaurant is simply decorated and there is no menu, only a wine list on what appears to be a metal paddle. We had 8 courses, including dessert, only two of which were above substandard.
I have usually found that high levels of noise in restaurants are ameliorated by alcohol, but the rock concert level of sonic violence defeated our wine and we were reduced to shouting at each other to converse. Manolo Carcol should be renamed Cacophony. This was primarily from three large bus filled tables that turned out to be from our hotel.
The service was humorless, inattentive and occasionally surly. We were into our fourth course and fifth or sixth request before the wait staff deigned to bring us bread.
When we asked they call us a taxi, we were brusquely directed to the square (Plaza Balboa) where we had no trouble acquiring one.
Our treatment by the wait staff was diametrically opposed to all of the other interactions we have had in this rapidly developing country. Although our Spanish is limited we have enjoyed the Panamanians, who are easily some of the kindest and friendliest people we have met in our travels.
Perhaps the Manolo Carcolians have studied service, although not cuisine, at the Sorbonne.

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1  Thank HeronymousMerkin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (544)
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135 - 139 of 544 reviews

Reviewed June 6, 2013

It is a famous restaurant in Panama, the location is very good; you can walk around, you can do some shopping; and then after it you can have a good dinner. The service is excellent, the food is delicious. Just be sure you have time and you are not running for dinner. It will take one hour and a half to have your complete food. Different dishes, you have to try all of them; they are so good!!. Sometimes aire condition is not working and that does not help; be sure it is working before you go; if you do not want hot weather.

Thank Perla35
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 7, 2013

The 10-course preset menu prepared with in-season ingredients and creative touches of flavors and design never ceases to pleasantly surprise me at Manolo Caracol. 10 courses may sound like a lot of food, however, the portions are such that you don't walk away feeling stuffed. On the contrary, the experience is such that you feel you've had 10 different amazing foods that somehow have been perfectly pared and sequenced. The articulate server also takes the time to explain each dish concisely. I make time to go to Manolo Caracol whenever I'm in Panama.

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Thank wpco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 19, 2013

I visited Panama City in March 2013 and had a great time. Loved the city and Casco Viejo while under a lot of construction should not be missed. Manolo Caracol was expensive at $45 a head not including drinks but it was worth every penny. Not only was the 11 course meal fantastic, but the service was great and it was plated so creatively.

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Thank Barbara T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 12, 2013

$36 for 7 courses (I thought we were going to have 9 or 10)- you have to be adventurous of course but I love the concept of just having food brought to you. The food was good, and compared to what it would have cost in other countries, a good value. But we weren't blown away- some course were great (seafood soup), others were meh (cold shrimp with string beans was flavorless, and the chicken mole rice tasted like a frozen dinner). I did like how they gave us a wine recommendation based on the night's menu. What I didn't like was how they completely rushed us through the courses, sometimes we weren't even done with our existing plate. Not cool. Overall, it's a decent bet in town, but I would like the service to improve and see a little more innovation in the kitchen with ingredients, flavors, spices etc. I wanted it to be better

1  Thank megmcnutz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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