The Panama Hotel Restaurant

4.3
1705 reviews
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$30 and under
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Contemporary American
The Panama Hotel Restaurant is a historic bed & breakfast inn located in San Rafael, CA, midway between SF and California’s wine country. Our on-site restaurant offers food influenced by Latin America, the Mediterranean and California’s wine country. Featuring presentation that is simple, yet stylish—menus are prepared with the finest available organic products and highest quality ingredients from Bay Area purveyors. Beautiful surroundings offer an excellent venue for getaway weekends, weddings, receptions and private events.
The Panama is proud to present accomplished and versatile musicians as part of your dining experience. We feature local, Bay Area artists every Tues, Wed and Thurs evenings throughout the year from 7-10pm. Dinner reservations recommended.
Have Lunch, Brunch, Dinner or Yappy Hour with your "furry friend". Let us know you are coming by reserving a pet-friendly table.
If your desired time is not available, please call the Panama restaurant.
Dining Style
Fine Dining
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Cuisines
Contemporary American, Latin American, Mediterranean
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Hours of operation
LUNCH Tuesday - Friday | 11:30am - 2:30pm
BRUNCH Sunday | 10am - 2pm
DINNER Tuesday - Saturday | 5:30 - 9:30pm
DINNER Sunday | 5 - 9pm
YAPPY HOUR {pets are optional} Tuesday - Friday | 4 - 5:30pm
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Phone number
(415) 457-3993
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Payment options
AMEX, MasterCard, Visa
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Dress code
Smart Casual
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Executive chef
Dan Miller
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Private party facilities
Please contact the Panama Restaurant for further details, (415) 457-3993 or visit our website PanamaHotel.com.
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Private party contact
Kani Kido: (415) 457-3993 ext. 120
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Catering
Please contact the Panama Restaurant for further details, (415) 457-3993 or visit our website PanamaHotel.com.
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Neighborhood
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Cross street
B Street & Woodland Avenue
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Entertainment
Dine with Music every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evening. Sunday evenings during Fall and Winter. The best of jazz, R&B and contemporary sounds.
MIDWEEK MUSIC 7 - 10pm every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
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Special events & promotions
Please contact the Panama Restaurant for further details, (415) 457-3993 or visit our website PanamaHotel.com.
Additional
Bar Dining, Beer, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Counter Seating, Entertainment, Happy Hour, Non-Smoking, Outdoor dining, Weekend Brunch, Wine
What 1705 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.3based on recent ratings
4.2
food
4.2
service
4.6
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
96% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
2
1
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f
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 3

Disappointed to find 4 items already out on such a small menu

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FU
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Its always great food cant wait to return.

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R
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

This is an older, quirky spot in San Rafael. The food is good and the staff are friendly. Great for lunch or a Sunday brunch.

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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 5

My food was cold and our waitress disappeared.

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A
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on October 10, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful food,service and company! Can’t wait to return!

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LM
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 8, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

LOVE the Panama Hotel. Very comfortable with a great outdoor seating area. Food good. Highly recommend.

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LU
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on October 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Brunch on the patio at The Panama, what could be better? The setting is so charming. They shield you from the sun with big umbrellas. Our waiter was terrific, made recommendations which turned out to be wonderful. He was friendly and attentive. The food was delicious. It's always hard to make a choice because there are so many tempting options. I had Rosie's Scramble--eggs, portobello mushrooms, spinach, sautéed onions, garlic and jack cheese, a delicious combination. My friend had the polenta which was topped with poached eggs, roasted pepper, tomato and basil salsa, with italian sausage placed like a big smiley face on the plate. As fun to look at as it was to eat. And, oh, did I mention the mimosas made with fresh squeezed orange juice? Can't wait to go back to this favorite neighborhood place.

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b
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 7, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 3

While the ambiance here is nice, the food and the service are less than optimal. Our waitress had too many tables and felt rushed and pre-occupied. After being seated, it took almost 10 minutes before she came to the table - about twice as long as it should be, given the food prices. Then, about half-way through our meal, my wife discovers a six inch human hair in her food which was obviously disgusting. And while we were not charged for that, my wife lost her appetite quickly. Lastly, the food was acceptable but nothing to write home about. I had the poblano chile stuffed with quinoa which was very average. I would give this place a grade of C overall.

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s
Central Coast
4 reviews
Dined on October 5, 2018
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 3

quaint restaurant,casual and cozy.good service. loved the scallop tostada and the fried calamari was crisp and flavourful. the salmon was over cooked even though we asked for medium. the mushroom ravioli was to die for!! i would go again. dishes are hit or miss but its a neigborhood gem.

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JJ
San Francisco
61 reviews
Dined on October 5, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

The music was a little too loud for our foursome to converse

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KD
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on October 5, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

I usually enjoy live music but during our dinner the electric guitar was quite loud.

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JO
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on October 4, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

We enjoyed an incredible afternoon snack of scallops and a side guacamole dish. Our dinners were just wonderful and the staff was friendly and efficient.
The morning spread was put out by a true gentleman...Juan. Scones, home made granola, fresh strawberries, great, great coffee and much more all displayed in an eye pleasing manner.

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OT
San Francisco
35 reviews
Dined on October 3, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Noise Level: I chose energetic only because of the table behind me. There was a couple, and luckily they ate and left before our lunch was done. The woman was SO loud, and my friend and I could barely hear our own conversation. There was a table for 8 next to us who were great, no problem with their volume.
Our lunch was very good.

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m
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on October 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My favorite restaurant for over 35 years! I was concerned about the new ownership but no need to worry. Just as good as ever.

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KM
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on September 26, 2018
Overall 5food 3service 4ambience 5

A local, almost unknown, gem that I'm almost glad that IS unknown.

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A
San Francisco
39 reviews
Dined on September 26, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 1ambience 5

I am a frequent guest at Panama and was very disappointed at the recent experience. Service was slow/ we were not asked if everything was ok, one guest said her chicken dish was “disgusting”- it did look very unappetizing. /it was floating in a pool of brown liquid and she was comped for this as appropriate. We didn’t have the opportunity to get second rolls which are delicious. Fries were cold. We asked for a heat lamp - it was not put up until the end of the meal. it took way to long to get desserts..
I love the Panama and will come back - hoping this was an off night. It was crowded and it appeared the kitchen was overwhelmed...

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NB
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on September 16, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

An unexpected find for me as I learned the restaurant has been here for a long time. They were very accommodating to our need to eat and run. Everything was delicious and I can’t wait to return.

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DP
1 review
Dined on September 14, 2018
Overall 3food 5service 4ambience 3

I always have loved this place but Thursday with the music was not a good choice for visiting and having a conversation. ☹

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l
San Francisco
20 reviews
Dined on September 13, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 5

Have been coming to Panama restaurant for years, love the ambience and love the food and the servers. But something happened on my visit this past week. First the restaurant which is normally bustling with customers, was dead empty. Which is odd because we were told that we couldn’t reserve a table in the place where we wanted, but when we got there they said sure. We ordered the special of the day which turned out to be very tasteless, was a fajita dish but came with tiny little tortillas, very odd. Our server Tim was great, but that’s all I can say about this visit to the Panama. I hope things improve, as it all seems very strange to be eating in an empty restaurant with a meal that didn’t match up to my past experience.

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KB
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious food in a cozy atmosphere. We sat in the garden which felt a million miles away from downtown. Great service as well. My companion is very picky and made several change requests, the waiter was very acomodating and my friend got exactly what she was hoping for.

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OT
Detroit
12 reviews
Dined on September 12, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 2ambience 4

Have always enjoyed the Panama, for lunchtime, cocktails, and also for dinners. This visit was no exception, and all three of us really enjoyed our lunches - delicious food! Only negative was that for a business lunch crowd it seemed they were understaffed, which slowed service. Perhaps it was the day, or an unexpected rush, but it's imperative that local business people be able to get in and out in approximately an hour or we'll have to choose another destination and miss this fine food!

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DS
Minneapolis
1 review
Dined on September 9, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Just love this little gem. Such lovely food, wonderful service, and atmosphere that is comforting and welcoming .

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OT
Las Vegas
1 review
Dined on September 8, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The crab and avocado appetizer is amazing!

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l
San Francisco
52 reviews
Dined on September 7, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Good food and nice atmosphere....food is consistent
must reserve outside because pretty crowded

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KM
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on September 5, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

I love the placement of this restaurant in the neighborhood, and the new operator has brought a revived energy to the menu and ambience.

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DJ
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on September 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

as usual, creative menu items and good service at a reasonable value

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CB
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on August 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Food and Service fantastic from start to finish! A great local spot. Parking may sometimes be a bit of a
challenge but totally well worth it! We (my wife and I) have never had a bad experience, can't wait to go back! Thank You!

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CA
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on August 31, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 3

I have eaten here for years and was sorely disappointed in the food. I had the Baja Seafood Salad and the spices overpowered the seafood. Salmon was dry, scallops were coated in something that totally ruined the scallops. Is there a new chef or something? This is a good place for mellow music and for lunch on the patio (provided the chef does a better job).

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OT
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on August 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great Service without hovering. Wonderful setting on the outside patio. Live music but not so loud that you couldn’t enjoy conversation with friends. Always really good food at a reasonable price. Overall lovely dining experience.

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P
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on August 29, 2018
Overall 4food 3service 3ambience 4

Listen to music & meet with friends

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OT
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on August 27, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I chose the Panama Hotel for a lunch with two friends. I had forgotten what a delightful spot this is. Colourful and cozy with excellent service and a superb well-priced lunch menu. Many choices for both vegetarians and meat-eaters. We started with white wine spritzers and chose delicious salads from the interesting options. Two of us enjoyed the Baja Salad, one with grilled chicken and the third person had a delicious grilled apple, toasted pecan, feta, radicchio, and roasted pepper salad. All highly recommended and accompanied by a fresh baked roll. Desserts looked great but we were too full and enjoyed cappuccinos to finish. We appreciated our patient server who cheerfully let us catch up for awhile before we ordered.

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m
Philadelphia
16 reviews
Dined on August 26, 2018
Overall 2food 2service 2ambience 2

Our third try in 4 years at this place. Very mediocre for the price. No specials. No live music or upbeat vibe on a Saturday night. Very quiet. Bread is tell tail for me and it unfortunately was very uninteresting. We told them it was a birthday, and there was no acknowledgement. We won't return, sorry to say.

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LA
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on August 25, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

Without a doubt, this is one of the best restaurants in Marin county.

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JW
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on August 24, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

This is an odd little flash-back of a place, reminding me of movies from the 1930's. Some of the dishes are very good, and it is worth a visit.

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p
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on August 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great as always.

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e
1 review
Dined on August 23, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Lovely setting. We sat inside and enjoyed the music, and the outside patio looked very nice as well. Too many delicious choices on the menu--we need to return to try some more. The mussels were outstanding--large and a very substantial portion. Definitely recommend.

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j
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on August 22, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Love the food and Love the ambiance..anyway to control the bee situation?

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n
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on August 20, 2018
Overall 3food 2service 3ambience 4

I ordered a butter lettuce salad with apples and I think this was ready made and came directly from the refrigerator to our table. Owners should make sure that the lettuce served is fresh, and obviously, this was not. It was limp and parts were brown, as in old. We frequent this restaurant often and this is the first time I was extremely disappointed in my food. Otherwise, it's a great restaurant with great ambiance, and good live music during the week.

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C
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on August 17, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

I love the Panama Hotel, it's just a charming little place with a delightful patio and very good food.

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d
San Francisco
94 reviews
Dined on August 16, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

With a group of 8 ladies this was a superb luncheon on the one and only round table for 8 people.
We definitely enjoyed our day celebrating 2 birthdays on the patio.
Many of us ordered the specialty of the cook - Col... don't recall the proper name. However it was delicious with a potato-leek pancake with sprigs of asparagus & sliced ham and a poached egg on top, it was superb! One of our guests didn't want the ham and was substituted with chicken as an option w/$2 addition. That's what I say is accommodating! THANKS for a wonderful day!

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