Ever since I remember, I’ve always liked to visit coffee shops.
Maybe it’s the atmosphere – totally different in every place but with a similar „artsy” sense.
Maybe it’s about the possibility to take a break during a busy, stressful day while enjoying a sip of aromatic, strong coffee.
But the truth can also be – I’m just a coffee addict.
No matter what the reason is – even though it is important – it made me check out many Panamanian coffee shops in order to find the best one.
In my ranking I paid attention to the quality of food and (of course) coffee, customer service, local atmosphere, and general assessment of the place.
So my 5 choices (in no particular order) for the best coffee shops are:
They define themselves as the first artisanal coffee brew bar in Panama.
You can find this local in San Francisco and Costa del Este.
I visited the first destination. Twice.
I tried Cappuccino, Blue Matcha and waffle with peanut butter and banana. The Cappuccino was really tasty – properly brewed, strong enaugh with a bit of almond milk, but Blue Matcha was what took my heart. I don’t like sweet coffee but here sweet was on the right level. The natural powder don’t erase the taste of coffee and you know guys, as a women, I love the visual part of my drinks, food etc – this creamy, intense blue Matcha in a cute yellow cup was just perfect.
What about Waffle, you might ask? It was good, but I think it is hard to make a bad peanut butter Waffle 🙂
Leto has a half-service, so you have to first order and pay for your drink/meal in the bar and then, the waiter will bring your order to the table. The staff is all right. They won’t welcome you with the biggest smile on their faces but Panama has a specific customer service so I would like to say; comparing to some others locals – they are fine.
The coffee shop has a nice interior with a quiet color scheme. On the wall there is a big logo with small lights around. Everything together makes a cozy, relaxing atmosphere.
Customer service 7.5/10
I’m not a big fan of franchise locals, but Athanasiou keeps a high level of service and products. This family-owned Greek coffee shop has a beautiful interior – wooden shelves with books, cotton coffee bags, plants and local food products. In the main part of the shop you will find a big table with a lot of sweets, cakes and baclava (Try not to buy everything! 😉 )
Athanasiou’s coffee is good, but I have a feeling that the baristas here are not that professional and coffee educated like in Leto or Mentiritas Blancas.
However, if you are not a huge coffee specialist and you are just looking for a nice coffee shop you wont be disappointed.
I’m assuming also that a lot of people choose Athanasiou because of the food menu, deli products, sandwiches and desserts.
It’s hard to find other coffee shop with that rich menu.
Customer service 8/10
I like innovative ideas and original names so this place got a plus already for the name itself. „Mentiritas Blancas” mean literally „White lies”; interesting name, right?
Other interesting thing is – when the owner opened the first local he/she didn’t think to serve coffee at all here! The first couple of years ‚Mentiritas’ was just a pastry shop. Fortunately they change their mind.
Some time ago they started to build a strong coffee offer and employ good, professional baristas.
Now, they are one of the most popular coffee shop in Panama City. Believe me, it’s not a lie 😉
Looking for breakfast or a lunch place? Definitely visit ‚Mentiritas’! You can find healthy options like; granola with yogurt and fruits, sandwich with salmon/chicken/bacon, avocado/other vegetables, eggs and cheese, salads and vegan bowls as well pancakes, French toast, waffles, cookies and a lots of desserts.
I tried French toast with banana and honey, scrambled eggs, quinoa bowl and ‚El criminal’ (with bread instead of croissant because the run out)
Personally I would like a bit more spiciness in my quinoa bowl, but I can understand it is safer to make a dish with more neutral taste. On the other hand, „El Criminal sandwich” was really delicious – each ingredient harmonized with others creates great taste composition. (Of course I added ketchup but it’s my personal perversion 😉 )
French toast was at most in medium level, something was missing here. Also the texture should be a bit more soft.
I’m not sure what I think about the customer service in Mentiritas Blancas.
They are not bad, but also they don’t give me a great feeling. It’s a bit like „take your stuff and enjoy it, we don’t really care what you are doing”
It can be a positive thing – a lot of people come here to work or study (expect a classic table, you can use a special bar-table to put your books/computer. Wifi is also fast here) so they probably don’t want to be bothered by the local employees.
You will have to judge it by your own point of view.
Mentiritas Blancas has a specific chillout atmosphere. You can come here with your dog. You can play a guitar, work or just spend an afternoon with your friends.
Whatever you choose you will feel comfortable and relaxed., and that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?
Customer service 7/10
Raining season not encourage you to get out of home? Come on
Book Nerds, you just found a cool place for you!
Bring your favorite book or just take one from the library, sit down, order coffee and one of the delicious dessert and forget about the whole world.
If you love sweets – take the „Cruffin con Nutella” – I promise you a gastronomic orgasm.
Reading is not your thing and you need something stronger than coffee? No problem my friend – cold drinks, beers and wine are waiting for you. Add to that a burger with crunchy bacon, cheddar cheese and French fries or toast with eggs, avocado and salmon (I love this combination of flavors) and you will have a perfect afternoon.
Maybe you decide that you want to stay… longer? On selected days when Local closes its doors after the last set of coffee lovers, its opens them for people who are looking for live music, drinks and party
Workers are nice and friendly. They don’t have any problem if you want to change some ingredients in your dish or add something more. Minus? One time I waited 20min for a bill, but I forgive them 😉
The cafe’s décor is simple but cozy, there is a lot of space here so everyone can feel comfortable and have a bit of privacy.
Don’t miss the funny picture-descriptions in toilet 😉
Customer service 8.5/10
This is the second chain coffee shop on my list but I have a good reason to put it here. In this cozy, elegant interior you will find 5 different blends of gourmet roasted coffee from Panama with really good prices.
What’s more – they almost always welcome me with a smile and when I didn’t speak Spanish, some of them made an effort and tried to speak English.
Unido has eight coffee shops in Panama, which means, one of them will be close to you every time when you need a cup of strong, aromatic coffee.
But if you are hungry better look for other options.
Unido has delicious sandwiches but I’m afraid the list of good dishes ends here.
I tried Smoked Salmon Sandwich, Sandwich Montecristo, Sweet potato hash and Huevos Sarten.
Both of these sandwiches are served with French fries.
The first one has a lof of creamy cheese, salmon, and tomato. The second one is like a normal sandwich with ham and cheese but they give you a ‚Christmas Marmolada’ and honey mustard to dip it. It’s a interesting combination of taste with a great end results.
Time for the worst part of the menu – Sweet potato hash – I believe they make it in the morning and just heat it before serving.
This small plate of smash sweet potato and eggs was really disappointing. No spices were added, and it was served with two pieces of dry, poor quality toasted bread
Huevos Sartén (fried eggs with tomato and onion) accompanied by the same poor, toasted bread is also a dish which you can make better yourself.
Coffee and sandwich – hell yes.
Others meals – don’t spent your money without sense.
Customer service 9/10
Let me know in comment if you agree with my opinion about these places? And which coffee shop in Panama is your favorite?