Via Circunvalacion, , Chitre
Terra Nostra, as the name implies, is an Italian restraurant. (The name is "our land" in Italian, in Spanish it would be "Tierra Nuestra" FYI) On the awning, outside, it says "Pizzaria" but inside they offer much more than delicous pizza! As my title indicates they also offer a large assortment of Greek dishes, such as Zatziki, souvlaki (gyro), and what I call "Greek Pizza", their name for it is Lodopsomo". They also offer a wide variety of Panamanian food. They have a typical Panamanian lunch of rice, grilled or fried (parillado, guisado, frito) meat and a small salad. They also have Mexican food. Which is partly why I tried this restaurant, I was told that they have excellent flautas. So I decided to give them a try. But did not realize they had so many Greek items on the menu, too. Which was a pleasant surprise and decided to give them a try, too.
The food is similar to many items on the menu at Hotel Karla, about three blocks away, but they are much less expensive and the quality is at least as good. Plus they have the Greek items that I have not seen anywhere else in the area.
I wanted to go back Sunday to have some pizza, but they were closed. We had lunch there on Monday, however, my boss had a "Comida Panamania completa". With grilled chicken, rice and salad. I had a personal pizza with salami. It was very tasty. New York-style crust and really enough for two people, it was about a 7-8 inch pizza, more than a personal-size!
Because this place is very inexpensive, the most expensive item on the menu is $5.75,
I will be coming here more often. Saturday the three dishes we tried came to $9.25 and Monday our two meals were $4.90. Definitely not bank breakers. So if you want to try a restaurant in Chitre that has variety, is cheap and has delicious food, Terra Nostra is it!
The restaurant is located "kitty corner" to the Baseball Stadium. It is across the street from the rec center where there are a couple half-pitch football (soccer) fields. About 2 blocks from the centre of town and across from the big water tower.
Favorite Dish: On our first visit, a Saturday night, we came about 8-ish. Had it not been a fiesta weekend in nearby Villa de los Santos, I would have been nervous about the lack of customers. There were very few people there. Not a good sign in a restaraunt on a Saturday night, except that most folks were a couple miles down the road partying in La Villa.
As stated above, we came to try the flautas, which my boss ordered. I decided on the lodopsomo (Greek Pizza) and we also got a Cuban Sandwich. I love Cuban Sandwiches and that is how I test restaurants here, since most of them offer this type if sandwich on the menu. Although we came to try other dishes I will focus on the Greek Pizza, which was simply marvelous. Only complaint I have, it was a little too salty for my taste, but then I am not a salt lover. (I have had the lodopsomo a couple of other times since and the salt level was greatly reduced. I think someone was overzealous with the salt that day!) The dish was a large, toasted pita bread topped with fresh chopped veggies; tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, cilantro mixed with feta cheese and greek dressing drizzled over the top. It was a meal for two people, easily. We couldn't finish it and our other dishes. The flautas were very good, they were kind of thick for flautas, more like egg rolls or spring rolls, and the fillings in them, ground beef, pork and chicken, were more like Filipino lumpias. But they were very tasty and we would order again, even if they weren't close to authentic flautas. The sauce (salsa) that came with them wasn't very spicy and my boss added some picante to it, if she does that, you know it wasn't very spicy! She isn't into very spicy condiments, but she likes a little kick. They also served some pico de gallo with it to add as desired.
The Cuban Sandwich was very tasty, grilled Cuban bread (like a sub roll) filled with julienned pork, tomato, lettuce and melted white cheese. Was very authentic, and very inexpensive. I will definitely get one from here again some time!
Los Alacranes is a typical restaurant for Panama, has open-sided walls and a menu above the serving station.
The menu is simple, mostly fish, but they offer some chicken dishes as well. The most expensive item on the menu is the mixed seafood platter (mariscos mixtos) for $6.
As with most restaurants in Panama, ask if what you want is available, and have an alternative in mind, as usually not everything on the menu is available that day.
If you want ceviche, you order it from the bar, and pay your bar bill seperately from the meal order. That is a quirk about this place.
They serve some alcoholic beverages; local beer, wine, coolers, and soft drinks.
Meals come with fries, patacones, or yucca (casava) and a very small salad, more like garnish!
The food is good if not excellent, and very reasonable. I will come back!
Favorite Dish: I've had fried corvina and the fish fingers in the past. The corvina was excellent, it was nice and crisp on the outside and light and flakey inside, not greasey at all. The fish fingers were OK, they were edible, but some pieces were a little rubbery. I had yucca with the dinners, some of the yucca was hard, like it wasn't boiled long enough and then over-cooked. The salads were miniscule, a leaf of lettuce and a slice of tomato and onion slivers, looked more like garnish. I didn't even eat it. For $4 I can't complain. Besides Panamanian beers, they had Bartles and Jaymes Pina Coladas and Smirnoff Ice. They were about $3, each. Not bad! The mixed ceviche was the best, it was a decent amount and came with crackers, of course. The items were nice and firm, not mushy at all, and tasted very fresh. The ceviche was $2.50. I would come back here just to have the ceviche and a beer sometime. The total bill for 2 dinners, ceviches and drinks was $18.50. Not expensive at all, even for Panama!
The service was really fast, I was surprised, I'd like to come on a busy Friday or Saturday and see how fast the service is then. The waitresses were older women tho, I find they tend to be more attentive, the younger girls that wait tables tend to avoid doing much and you hardly see them. They usually just want to kill time so they can go hang with their friends or get on Facebook.
Memories is one of the "fancier" restaurants in Chitre. It is above some stores next to the movie theater in Chitre. One walks up the stairs to the restaurant where one finds a bar inside and a dining area, outside. The bar is air conditioned. On a balmy night it is not unpleasant to sit on the balcony/patio. There usually is a nice breeze. The decor is sports-bar/bistro, there are antiques and old photos of Chitre and several large TVs that usually play medley mix videos of rock songs. During baseball season (Feb-Mar) in Panama, if the game of the Chitre team is on TV, they will play that. They also will show any sporting event that involves Panamanian teams or athletes. It is not an unpleasant atmosphere, as it is not obnoxiously loud or rowdy. It has some class.
The food is good to excellent, depending on the dish. The American dishes such as Buffalo wings, are OK, not spectacular, but edible. The dishes that are more local are better, such as the corvina. Their pasta dishes are very nice, too. It is not that expensive for an American tourist, but for the locals, it is pricey and usually they only go there for special occasions, so the locals you see there are probably too dressed-up for the place, we would consider it to be a more casual restaurant.
Favorite Dish: I've been here several times over the past three plus years and I have tried several dishes, I would say that their pasta dishes are very good. They have a shrimp with penne and alfredo sauce that I enjoy very much. It comes with garlic bread and is not a bad price at $6.50.
Their wings are OK, I've had better, and they are kinda steep $5.95 for 6 wings, and you don't get much to go with them, a couple of small julienned carrot and celery slices and they don't offer ranch or blue cheese dressing, just catsup or picante sauce. But if you are an ex-pat jonesing for wings, they will do. They have a plate of mini burritos that are good, and not a bad deal at $6.50, they fill you up and taste great! Their burgers are pretty good, too. but kinda pricey at around $6. I think Hotel Rex are about as good for about half the price. The fish dishes are very good and priced around $6-8. A little expensive, but their presentation is very good.
The bar is not expensive, either and they have a decent selection, however, they usually don't have all the beers they portray in their menu, they have usually only Panamanian beers
available, you'll have to ask. I asked for Quilmes once and got "no hay".
Their desserts are pretty good at about $2 a piece, not a big wallet denter and the portions are very adequate to satisfy the sweetest tooth.
Every town in Panama of any size has at least one casino. Chitre has three that I know of, and a bingo hall. The biggest, and best is the Fiesta Casino next to Hotel Guayacanes. It boasts live table games, not just slots. They offer blackjack, roulette and pai gow poker tables. They tried Texas Hold 'Em but couldn't get enough interest, so it has been dropped. There are plenty of slots from 1-cent to one dollar. There are a lot of penny slots.
The Casino has a decent restaurant, their nachos are very good, albeit expensive. The drinks are fairly reasonable, I can get a bottle of Cerveza Panama for a dollar, that includes the 10 per cent tax.
They have the huge screen TVs that play sports 24/7, and they have live music at times, usually on weekends, or when there are festivals, which is fairly often.
This casino is fairly new, opened in 2007, along with Hotel Guaycanes.
Dress Code: Men are not allowed to wear shorts or muscle (sleeveless) shirts in the casino.
Chitre has one of the most elaborate, loud and rowdy Carnavale parties. They last from Friday afternoon to the wee hours of Ash Wednesday. If you like to drink and carouse, this is the place to be in the days leading to Lent! Only Las Tablas boasts a bigger, rowdier, more elaborate fiesta. Being only 20 miles apart, one can compare the two towns the same day, even!
I stayed at the hotel rex the other night and it was a nightmare! We had our room changed twice due to somebody watching a television that could be heard on the entire first floor and also the shower head was broken and the water shot out like a bullet. The drain on the shower floor was broken and metal sharp was sticking up which could slice your foot open. The room was worn out,dirty looking and in disrepair.
Towels are cheap and toilet seats have worn out paint on them.
Then the kicker,the included breakfast the next morning was another nightmare, i was eating the 2 eggs and toast they give you and while I was eating the buttered toast it tasted sour,so my friend looked at the butter wrapper and it was from 2006, yes 2006! I complained to the front desk girl and she gave me some broken english excuse that it was not their fault. You are not safe in this place and they do not care one bit about your stay there. Stay out of this place and read my next story about the clothing store next to the hotel rex.
I was buying a bathing suit for my friend next store to the hotel rex and the purchase was about $15.00, after paying for the suit,my friend tried it on and found it did not fit right. the store owner said we cannot give your money back, I said are you crazy if it does not fit and I have given you back your merchandise you cannot keep my money,this whole issue was withing 10 minutes time from purchase.
Finally after searching this place for another 20 minutes we found another suit and left this place as fast as possible.
I have never seen people like this in my life!
There is really nothing to see in this town if you can get out with your life and money and not physically ill!