Enjoying Dinner at Cafe Rene Panama City

Rene Café: $25 Degustation in Panama City

In Food & Drink, North America, Panama by Erik @ DIY Travel HQ4 Comments

Rene Café is the best value restaurant in Panama City. For only $25 you get a 10 course degustation in the trendy Casco Viejo district. Find out what dishes are on the menu!

Rene Café Location

Rene Café is located in Casco Viejo, Panama City on the corner of Independence Plaza & across from the Metropolitan Cathedral.

You couldn’t ask for a better location for a restaurant in the capital!

The old town is currently being gentrified with historic properties constantly being renovated & converted into hotels & restaurants.

Despite or in spite of this, Panama City is still undoubtedly one of the best places to visit in Panama.

Panama City Simon Bolivar Plaza in Casco Viejo

The Metropolitan Cathedral was under construction when we visited, here is Simon Bolivar Plaza in Casco Viejo.

The majority of the attractions in Panama City are within walking distance in & around Casco Viejo.

There is also an excellent skyline view of the business district from the Paseo de Las Bovedas.

Panama City Skyline of Business District

We never would have imagined Panama City’s skyline would be so gorgeous!

Rene Café

For us here at DIY Travel HQ Rene Café checks off all the requirements for an excellent dining experience.

The restaurant is conveniently located, has innovative & scrumptious dishes, is great value with the quantity & variety of courses, & has a very intimate setting.

What’s not to love?

Although they only serve a set menu, Rene Café does have the ability to cater to many dietary restrictions.

Rene Cafe Intimate & Cozy Restaurant Seating

Could Rene Cafe be the perfect restaurant?

During the day, there is outdoor seating to enjoy the warm weather.

At night time, the dining experience is focused inside.

The lights are dimmed, elegant wooden tables reflect the light between the place settings, & the open kitchen starts to heat up as guests start to arrive.

Let’s take a look at what the chefs cooked up for our visit!

Rene Cafe Casco Viejo Panama City

Whether you choose lunch or dinner, you can’t miss with Rene Cafe.

Dinner at Rene Café

Although you can visit during lunch ($10), we wanted to enjoy the additional 5 appetizers served during dinner ($25).

We started our meal at Rene Café with fluffy bread accompanied by a whipped butter flavored with herbs.

It was a great combination, especially when paired with our glasses of wine from Chile

. We ordered Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay so we would be ready to compliment whatever flavors came out over the course of the degustation.

Rene Cafe Dinner Bread with Whipped Butter & Wine

Start with the classics & then get ready for surprise after surprise at Rene Cafe.

Our next dish was a shared pumpkin salad with a healthy vinegar dressing.

The main ingredients were lettuce, tomato, pumpkin, & cucumber.

The pumpkin’s sweetness balanced the acidity of the vinegar for a pleasant taste that left you wanting more.

Panama City Rene Cafe Pumpkin Salad

Pumpkin salad anyone?

Things really started to heat up when our spring rolls arrived with a sweet tomato puree accented with bell peppers.

The contrasting flavor for this course was ginger, which was found inside the spring rolls along with other vegetables.

Casco Viejo Cafe Rene Spring Rolls

When was the last time you had spring rolls in Central America…& enjoyed them?

Another hot course arrived next, featuring patacones with tender pulled beef inside.

The official name of the dish is patacones with ropa vieja, which is a traditional Panamanian staple but with a twist.

Normally, the pulled beef is accompanied by rice and flat patacones.

Café Rene made their own version that is best compared to a meat pie with a plantain crust.

Rene Cafe Patacones with Ropa Vieja

We are always happy when restaurants like Rene Cafe put a fresh spin on a classic dish.

The next course must have been music to Sheena’s ears.

How could she refuse a shrimp skewer smothered with herbs & layered with tomatoes, onions, & bell peppers?

That must take her back to Australia where they always want to put ‘another shrimp on the barbie’!

Panama City Rene Cafe Shrimp Kebabs

Who doesn’t love shrimp mixed with vegetables on a skewer?

The last appetizer we received at Rene Café was a chicken & peach-palm tamale smothered in a rich sauce.

Say goodbye to the banana wrapped tamales with chicken bones in Guatemala, & hello to the gourmet version.

The pulled chicken wrapped inside a soft shell was juicy and pleasantly different than traditional corn flour.

Casco Viejo Cafe Rene Tamale

The tamale isn’t Panamanian, but who says you can’t adopt the techniques & put your own spin on it.

The main courses were threefold, & heavily protein based. T

he friendly staff at Rene Café served us filleted fish, chicken breast, & fried rice.

You could really see the fusion of Panamanian & International cuisine come together.

The fish fillet was lightly breaded with sour orange to squeeze at your discretion.

Meanwhile, the chicken breast was very moist with a creamy sauce.

The Asian inspired Thai rice was surprisingly better than many Chinese restaurants we have eaten at.

Rene Cafe Main Course Thai Rice with Chicken & Fish

Yum yum! If you weren’t full before, you will be after this combo course.

After a breather, we received the rich tres leches dessert.

The cake, sprinkled with cinnamon, was a great send off to a fantastic 10 course degustation at Rene Café.

One thing for sure is that you will not leave hungry, & probably won’t eat this well again for the rest of your time in Panama unless you visit Big Daddy’s Grill in Boquete!

Rene Cafe Tres Leches Dessert

Make sure you save room for dessert!

Rene Café Service

If you are visiting from the United States, or another country with high customer service expectations, then you will not be disappointed

. Rene Café is a small business that delivers on a high level.

They are able to achieve this as the owner, Rene, manages the front of house while his wife is in charge of the kitchen.

Rene Cafe Open Restaurants with Intimate Seating in Casco Viejo Panama City

Rene Cafe is a family run restaurant with delicious food & friendly staff.

Our waiter was very friendly & prompt with refilling our water glasses.

With over 10 years of experience, Rene Café has mastered timing for the 10 course degustation as we never felt rushed & the food was always hot when it was placed in front of us. Our entire dining experience took just under 2 hours from start to finish.

It was actually refreshing not having to choose what to eat at a restaurant, & still receiving so many delicious flavors.

Cheers to Rene Cafe for a relaxing & memorable dining experience!

Rene Cafe Romantic Restaurant Casco Viejo Panama City

Rene Cafe is very intimate & cozy.

Know Before You Go

Location: Rene Café is located adjacent to the Metropolitan Cathedral in Casco Viejo, Panama City

Food Style: Panamanian & International Fusion

Price: $10 for 5 course lunch; $25 for 10 course dinner – tax additional

Dishes: The set meals exist each day & vary season to season

Reservations & Hours: Required to secure a table, but you may always try walk-in. Lunch is served 10 am – 3 pm; Dinner is served 6 pm – 10 pm

Contact Information:

Read Rene Cafe’s Tripadvisor reviews here

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Rene Café is the best value restaurant in Panama City. For only $25 you get a 10 course degustation in the trendy Casco Viejo district. Find out what Panamanian & International fusion dishes are on the menu!

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***The Final Word – Rene Café is a steal at $25 for a 10 course degustation in Panama City. Don’t miss this opportunity to try truly inspirational food.***

Do you prefer to choose your dishes, or just be surprised when they arrive?

* We received a complimentary meal at Rene Cafe, thank you to Rene, Lourdes, & Maria for hosting us. We only recommend fun, value for money experiences that we believe our readers would enjoy. As always, all opinions & photos are our own.

Visited in February 2017


  1. Looks like a beautiful place with delicious food! There is so much to see nearby as wel.

  2. I keep this address in mind! Good price and yummy food, what else can we ask for 😀

  3. I didn’t know Panama city can have such affordable and delicious places to eat in. Now I know – foods looks tasty and you can get really full with those 10 dishes 🙂

  4. The food looks really tasty, nice and a lot! Is always good to know about nice places to eat if you ever plan to visit a city.

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