The Panama Hotel Restaurant

4.4
1892 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.
What 1892 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.4based on recent ratings
4.3
food
4.4
service
4.5
ambience
4.2
value
Noise · Moderate
94% of people would recommend it to a friend
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SY
London
1 review
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 5food 4service 4ambience 5

Was happy to introduce Panama Hotel to friends who had never been there. They loved it.

JH
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall 4food 3service 5ambience 4

Outside seating is great. Food was not as good as I had expected. Boring rolls, ceviche not so fresh. Salad was excellent. Desert yummy. Service was good. “Old” crowd.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 10, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Always fun and relaxed. Great place to meet up with friends. Love the outdoor seating area.

JJ
San Francisco
50 reviews
Dined on August 9, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

The Panama Hotel is one of my favorite spots for lunch and Friday's lunch did not disappoint. I have 3 or 4 favorites that are hard to choose among (the goat cheese and quinoa stuffed pepper, the calamari fritti salad) but my friend and I shared the burger -- it was great! And plenty to share.
Sitting on the patio is so relaxing, the wait staff is friendly and lets you enjoy being there with no pressure. All good reasons for being my favorite lunch spot.

P
San Francisco
24 reviews
Dined on August 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

we sat outside on the porch, so it was very quiet. Inside there was music which is also very nice!!

JJ
1 review
Dined on August 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Brought my friend out to lunch for her birthday. The restaurant was up to her choosing, and, since I have not been here, she's a big fan and thought I would love it. She was right, I definitely did! Thank you!

OT
San Francisco
18 reviews
Dined on August 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love sitting outside on a warm evening. Everything was excellent.

CK
San Francisco
150 reviews
Dined on August 1, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 5

We had a good dinner though it seems as the staff may have changed recently. Service was a little slow and the Caesar salad was forgotten. The items we did eat were very good. We have loved the Panama Hotel for years and hope that they get their current staffing challenges under control.

m
San Francisco
10 reviews
Dined on August 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Love the place! Eat here regularly. Staff is warm and friendly and food is excellent.

S
San Francisco
14 reviews
Dined on July 31, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 5

Excellent choice summertime lunch
on their patio.
Plenty of shade ......relax with friends

LB
San Francisco
21 reviews
Dined on July 28, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We were greeted promptly by the cheerful hostess and were seated on the patio as requested. Our waitress was very on top of things and tried to do her best to please everybody. Warm dinner what rolls came immediately along with ice water. We ordered some drinks and they let us mull over the menu but were there when we were ready to order. The food is always delicious. The beet salad was excellent as well as the wild mushroom ravioli - seriously great and rich. Someone ordered the burger that Was too big to finish in one sitting and cooked exactly how ordered. The salad was chocked with seafood and lots of other ingredients with a light dressing. We ordered two desserts - a lemon tart and a chocolate sundae that topped off the mail perfectly. Highly recommend this pleasant spot.

JB
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 28, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

I like the ambiance and convenient location as I can walk there. This is a review based on weekend brunch not dinner or lunch. The menu has not changed in eons and this is the second time I waited 10 minutes for a waiter to approach and at least another 20 minutes to receive food. Disappointing when the menu lacks creativity.

L
1 review
Dined on July 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food and service! The pork chop and the salmon dinners were excellent. We would return anytime we are in the area!

SB
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Excellent ambience, food, service, and overall enjoyable meal. Thank you.

GN
1 review
Dined on July 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Indoors dining was just right. Too hot for outside dining that day.

AD
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on July 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Sitting outdoors is lovely. Our server was excellent and got every order correct despite a large group and lots of customizing the food orders! Food is delicious. I highly recommend this “one of a kind” quaint restaurant.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on July 23, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

Food is delicious and creative. Live jazz, fantastic!

h
San Francisco
18 reviews
Dined on July 23, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

It was very nice and crowded as usual but the service was good and so is the food

JS
Sacramento
3 reviews
Dined on July 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Dinner on the Patio - quite delightfu on a warm summerly afternoon! Lovely setting, food and service.

SD
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on July 19, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 5

I have been going to Panama Hotel for years on special occasions. The food is very good, ambiance is so cozy and beautiful. Wonderful outdoor dining.
The service was lacking. Perhaps they were understaffed. Waitperson barely checked in.
Still going back! Great restsurant.

OT
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on July 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My high school friends try to meet up at least once a year and sitting on the patio for our latest gathering was the optimal experiance for catching up with long time friends.

DD
San Francisco
36 reviews
Dined on July 10, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 4

Our server started out cute & friendly, she is Czech. We asked her to bring out our order, salad, mussels and salmon in order and NOT all at the same time. Of course, they brought everything out together! The waitress got a little less friendly as we asked her to correct it. She said that she couldn't do anything. We made it work but I can't believe that someone in the kitchen or management didn't catch this.

CM
1 review
Dined on July 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We celebrated my friend's 80th birthday and all had a terrific time. Thanks for the great hospitality.

d
San Francisco
107 reviews
Dined on July 3, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Enjoyed the patio’s ambiance. It was a sunny day but the multiple umbrellas gave shade.
Good recommendations on wine from server. Salmon request of medium rare was executed to perfection. We enjoyed our birthday luncheon.

L
San Francisco
20 reviews
Dined on July 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The perfect place for a girls get together al fresco. Our waiter was the BEST

l
San Francisco
9 reviews
Dined on June 29, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

We hadn't been here for a few years and we felt like this time the food wasn't as good. The setting is very nice. The service was a bit slow. The grilled artichoke was very good. The wild mushroom ravioli was okay....not as good as the ravioli at Il Davide, which is mouth-watering. The avocado stuffed with dungeness crab was so-so...too much orange flavor and not enough lime flavor for my taste. My husband had the poblano chile and he liked it but said it was a bit too spicy. The sauvignon blanc from New Zealand was delicious.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 28, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

It was the perfect place for a first date. It was easy to have a conversation. The food and wine very good and the service was just right.

B
1 review
Dined on June 25, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 3

Service and ambience were both fair to good. Food and wine/beer were both overpriced. Dishes ordered had small portions and were not well prepared.

w
San Francisco
21 reviews
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 2ambience 5

This spot has a nice, friendly neighborhood ambience and I enjoy the patio. The service wasn’t bad, just took a long time to take our orders, bring the check, pick up the check - we were all very tired by the end of the meal as it lasted longer than we wanted. Some dishes are very good and some not so much. The beet salad was disappointing - overdressed and too sweet. The chicken is a reliably good dish. Some in our party really appreciated the warm rolls, and corkage is reasonable.

H
Phoenix
4 reviews
Dined on June 21, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

The Panama Hotel and Restaurant always deliver a good tasting meal and, on a lovely day, a table on the patio. Worth a visit for regular diners or special ocsasion.

SJ
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on June 21, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 5ambience 5

My companion's meal was very good. I had the fish tacos and I think the fish was off. so not good.

C
San Francisco
16 reviews
Dined on June 20, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 5

Lovely local spot with wonderful ambience and food. We all enjoyed our food (festive presentation and delicious taste). Parking is a little difficult but we found something on one of the neighborhood side streets. Decor is amazing and outside seating ample. Had we not been concerned about being too cold, we would have chosen outside seating, because on certain nights of the week there is live music (we should have made ourselves more aware). Unfortunately, although great music, it was very difficult to have a conversation with our friends. Next time (and there will be a next time), we either sit outside or sit inside as a couple to just enjoy the music and conversation is easier. Very nice restaurant.

SS
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Perfect summer venue, sunny, breezy, under a big umbrella with great service and delicious food with those yummy warm rolls. A real gem!

AC
San Francisco
25 reviews
Dined on June 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved the calimari appetizer and the vegetarian enchilada.. Always a great place to eat outside.

FB
1 review
Dined on June 16, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 2

Unfortunately Panama Hotel is not the same since new ownership. We waited for over an hour and a half for our dinner on Father’s Day. The chicken was coated in garlic, salmon and pork chop dry. I’m sad to say we won’t be returning.

N
San Francisco
14 reviews
Dined on June 14, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Service help too busy to be thoughtful snd detail-oriented. We had to ask repeatedly for ice, did refills on. Cocktails. Entrees were very good but a bit expensive given the lunch hour snd the skimpy portion size.

Setting is Wuxi crowded old fashioned charm. The best lace is very popular with small town regulars who don’t mind that the service is slow and the coffee undrinkable .

RE
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on June 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Charming unique restaurant on the edge of downtown San Rafael. Beautiful outdoor patio, great for lunch. Fin-de-siecle ambience. Wonderful salads.

OT
San Francisco
13 reviews
Dined on June 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 4

Nice place and nice service

e
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on June 9, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 3ambience 4

Had a pleasant brunch with friends. Their outdoor patio is very colorful. It allows you to forget you are in an urban environment. The food is good not great, but fairly consistent.

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on June 6, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 2

Food was great, (Baja seafood salad and calamari) although because of the deafening noise level, we rushed through our meal and left. The outside patio and sun room in front are the only places where you can have a conversation. Skip the main dining room. Even when there is no music.

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