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“Random success or failure is part of the Manolo Caracol concept”
Review of Manolo Caracol

Manolo Caracol
Ranked #113 of 1,016 Restaurants in Panama City
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romantic, Large groups, Special occasions, Local cuisine, Business meetings
Dining options: Lunch, Late Night, Dinner, 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.
Singapore, Singapore
Level 4 Contributor
45 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Random success or failure is part of the Manolo Caracol concept”
Reviewed July 6, 2013

It is always surprising when one sees reviews scattered equally from the 1 to the 5 ratings. I would argue this is part fo the Manolo Caracol concept. i may have been there about 10 times in the last 4 years and have had the best and some very bad evenings. The best : the experience : you dont choose your foods, they have a set menu ( from 7 to 10 courses, sample size ). the place ; the open kitchen gives it a very cosy homey feeling. And the wine list is really enjoyable The worst : sometimes, the menu simply...'does not cut it AT ALL", some choices are bland or cold...it IS uneven. then you know it is going to be a looong evening. As they work with whatever inspiration strikes, sometimes, inspiration defaults. The other main default for me is the time it takes to eat there. I am a fan of the concept but 90 to 120 minutes sitting to sample food is too much. When you wait 10 minutes for the next course and it disappoints you, the next 10 minutes always seem very long. There should be a way to have some drinks in between or something to fill in the wait....With reference to other reviews, Casco Viejo is a tourist destination so my advice would be to run away from any place if you see a bus full of tourists disembark....unless you are part of the group ;-) My rating is an encouragement to something different with the risk to be unhappy sometimes. I just hope they dont get too complacent after reviews in some fancy magazines. It is a huge effort to make that concept work. i will go back anyway and try my luck again

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank domtouche
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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540 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    256
    148
    70
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    40
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Czech first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
San Francisco, California
Level 3 Contributor
9 reviews
7 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Save Your Money”
Reviewed June 23, 2013

We chose to dine here because of the many good reviews but boy did we regret it. The eight course dinner was not a dinner but mere splashes of color thrown on a plate, that would require one to pick up the plate and lick if one wished to partake. The picture attached is one of the courses, one other was a boiled red potato and so forth and so on. A HUGE waste of money. At the end of the meal it was over $100. This is a mere hype restaurant that someone decided was tres chic so others jumped on the bandwagon.

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Billspill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Best, Nederland
Level 4 Contributor
32 reviews
22 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Eight course dinner!”
Reviewed June 21, 2013

I've been to this place two times. It is located in a nice colonial style building in the old city (Casco Viejo). Manolo Caracol offers an eight course dinner. They have no menu, this is the only option you have.

The place is wel decorated and has a great ambiance. In the middle is an open kitchen which adds to the ambiance even more. The courses are mostly tasty and good. The courses are often small versions of traditional latin dishes, and a nice balance between meat and fish. Both of the times I went there, one or two of the courses were not that good. Sometimes they felt incomplete, tasteless or too simple. But the other 6 or 7 courses made up for that in my opinion.

The place is pretty expensive. The second time we ate there with 3 people. All three the same eight course dinner of course and a bottle of wine. The total bill was $210, $70 per person. One of the more expensive places to eat in Panama City, but Manolo Caracol offers a good experience.

  • Visited December 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank LvdTuin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boston
Level 3 Contributor
16 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Nice ambience, but food needed salt/spices”
Reviewed June 17, 2013

We read about this restaurant on line and in the New York Times, and had high expectations. We had the 10 course meal. Service was great. Some of the food was good (great hamburger sliders), but most of it needed salt, spice and creativity. The pumpkin soup was almost tasteless, the dessert was a "bread pudding" which was rock hard. I hope they can revive this spot, because it has great ambience.

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Alysse W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Orotina, Costa Rica
Level 4 Contributor
31 reviews
10 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Nice, unusual.”
Reviewed June 14, 2013

A pleasant atmosphere and a slightly unusual style of small plate presentation. You pay your money and you are presented with a series of starter sized portions of different foods, one after the other. There's not a choice, the menu is set at whatever has been planned for the night, everyone gets the same. I lost count but it felt like 8 or so courses. It's enjoyable, unusual and the variety and the unexpected is part of the fun. All the dishes were pleasant, several were very good indeed, and my usual reluctance around octopus was overcome because I trusted (by then) that whatever was put before me would be a pleasure. Try it - you will enjoy it!

Visited June 2013
Helpful?
Thank ayacastle1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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