The Panama Hotel Restaurant

4.4
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1945 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.

Specials

New Year's Eve Special Menus & Offers

Come join us for a very special New Years Eve Dinner!

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

What 1945 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
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
97% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
4
3
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1
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m
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall5food5service5ambience5

We always love the Panama and especially Rolando!!!

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall1food2service4ambience1

Didn’t realize music night and unbearable loud. Has to shout. Almost food has garlic and not gluten free friendly.

C
San Francisco
18 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall3food3service4ambience5

Lovely location. Great music. Sat in patio which was really nice so could hear music but not be so overwhelmed we couldn’t hear each other. A bit disappointed in our food which was lukewarm and salmon tasted “fishy” so not that fresh. Our first experience with mediocre food here and really impressed with location and service so will go back.

RD
San Francisco
19 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall4food5service5ambience3

Good service and excellent wine pours. the Pork Chop is unbelievable. the scallop appetizer was different and would definitely get it again. this a quaint place with funky decor and can get noisy as it fills up. Good value and would definitely return.

m
San Francisco
11 reviews
Dined 7 days ago
Overall3food2service2ambience4

I've been going to the Panama Hotel for years. The Sunday brunch yesterday was the first time that I've been disappointed. Te service was not particularly friendly (very unusual) and the food mediocre. I had polenta with poached eggs and sausage. The polenta was tasteless.

OT
Louisville
3 reviews
Dined on November 9, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience4

Very accommodating staff. Two of our party are severely hearing impaired and we had no trouble at all conversing.

ME
1 review
Dined on November 7, 2019
Overall4food5service1ambience4

If the food weren’t 5 stars, I wouldn’t recommend Panama Hotel, at least not for dinner.

The “hostess” took forever to acknowledge us (and barely did that); A couple, looking haggard, no shoes, messy hair and clothes, speaking loudly, wandered past our table to the back of the room somewhere.

Do you want the last piece of bread?”....,Huh? “What do you mean?” “It’s our last piece of bread.” Who runs out of bread!!!

Our waitress took forever to take our order and ran off as soon as we ordered our main dishes, never asked, “Is there anything else?”...I had to yell to her to come back as we decided to have an appetizer. She did, however, ask us if we wanted anything to drink. Maybe since we just had water, she decided we weren’t a big ticket?

While we were eating ( Delicious meal, thank God) she said Goodbye to another employee and ran out the front door. I looked outside, only to see a woman and child parked right in front, waiting for someone; she was plucking her eyebrows or popping a pimple...something you do at home.

It was like a Felini movie.

We thoroughly enjoyed the appetizer and main dishes...EXCELLENT chef/ kitchen staff.

M
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined on November 6, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

I enjoyed the lunch in the outdoors patio. Chile Poblano with quinoa was delicious and filling. I had the hot sauce on the side, and it was tasty and really not that Hot.

OT
San Francisco
4 reviews
Dined on November 3, 2019
Overall4food4service5ambience4

Excellent neighborhood restaurant reasonable prices slight Mexican influence in menu

OT
San Diego
4 reviews
Dined on October 29, 2019
Overall1food1service1ambience1

The restaurant was closed when we arrived for our dinner reservation.

The Panama Hotel Restaurant
Responded a day ago

There were power in the whole town. We did not have power from Saturday 26th thru Wednesday 30th at 4:30pm apologies for not be able to see your reservation and call you before you arrive.

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JO
San Francisco
5 reviews
Dined on October 22, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

The restaurant is charming, with a retro feel in a pleasant old-style building, on a quiet street and surrounded by trees. It is a delightful ambience for a quiet conversational dinner. There's live music but not offensive or intrusive, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The service is cheerful and attentive. The menu is expansive. The food is good but not superb. The calamari fritti were excellent and the salads fair. I would not go there if you are interested in meat. We will go back there because the ambience was so pleasing and quiet, as were the restaurants of our youth, before brashness and echoing noisiness became the fashion.

HQ
San Francisco
21 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

My husband and I love this place. Everything, from the bread and butter to the main course to dessert, is done just so well. Attention to details, a light touch in the soups and sauces - they are light as a feather, packed with flavor, yet light on salt and fat. How do they do it? The service and ambience are also first class. You can't go wrong taking a special someone out to dinner here. Neighborhood gem which can compete with any big name restaurant.

DG
San Francisco
12 reviews
Dined on October 20, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

Always a good place to go, especially on a nice day. Great outdoor dining.

SB
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on October 19, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Lovely ambiance for a romantic dinner. We had a very attentive server who recommended dishes that we loved. Wine list was good -we enjoyed an Argentinian Malbec that paired well with short ribs-yum!

CM
Dallas
1 review
Dined on October 18, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Great service, delicious food, great ambiance. Recommended!

R
Palm Springs
30 reviews
Dined on October 18, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fun and funky place especially nice for lunch on a pretty day.

JL
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on October 16, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience3

Food is not as good as it use to be. Very dry chicken pieces in the enchilada. Not fresh

t
San Francisco
22 reviews
Dined on October 13, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience4

Great service great food an ideal place for brunch on Sunday we will go back again soon.

OT
San Francisco
7 reviews
Dined on October 9, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I love the location, though parking is not always convenient. The staff is wonderful. The food is excellent. They have live music too. We heard a group called Two Smooth. It was the perfect ambiance for an evening meal.

IH
San Francisco
22 reviews
Dined on October 5, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience5

Always a favorite in my city. Great ambiance, food, location.

SD
1 review
Dined on October 1, 2019
Overall5food4service4ambience5

Great food and drink selections. One person in our party had diet restrictions and the chef did a wonderful job creating a delicious meal for her and met all her needs. The outdoor setting is fabulous.
We were not rushed at all and spent a very relaxed afternoon chatting away. Highly recommended.

C
New England
3 reviews
Dined on September 29, 2019
Overall4food4service3ambience4

Mussles were fantastic. Beet salad had a dressing i was not too fond of but not bad.

d
San Francisco
47 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Fun and somewhat funky place with very good food, wonderful staff and atmosphere. It has been around for years and has a dedicated clientele because the menu is updated frequently and the food is worth the
drive. There is also music many days during the week.
In summer lunch and dinner can be outdoors on a cute patio, with heat lamps/blankets when necessary for our northern California cooler evenings
We are locals and go every chance we get, take friends and often see other local people we know! We always have a good time and a good meal. It is a neighborhood gem

OT
San Francisco
3 reviews
Dined on September 28, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Everyone in our group enjoyed their meal

BA
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on September 26, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience4

I’ve always loved Panama Hotel. For lunch or dinner it is great.
I made reservations in advance. I think because the restaurant is small the owners may consider informing customers that many people reserve a select table, leaving less desirable tables for the rest. If a table is going to be occupied in the next 1/2 hour, it’s unavailable for you.
Running a restaurant is an art. Overall, Panama Hotel exceeds above the rest.

R
San Francisco
84 reviews
Dined on September 25, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience2

The Ceviche was good. The salmon they serve on the salads and as an entree is farmed not wild. The restaurant is a bit tired in every way and needs to be spruced up. The waiter did a good job explaining the differences on the wines and beers on the menu.

VK
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on September 24, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

One of my favorite places to go to. The food is great. I like the ambiance. Dine in or outside.
Highly Recomend

NP
1 review
Dined on September 22, 2019
Overall4food5service1ambience4

You need to improve your service., I have had to deal with service that is much too slow both at dinner and lunch.

T
127 reviews
Dined on September 22, 2019
Overall3food3service3ambience4

My comments will be unduly negative because I went there on a Sunday for lunch and discovered when I arrived that they don't serve lunch on Sundays, only brunch. So my first recommendation is to make that clear on Open Table so another poor unfortunate does not get in the bind that I did.
That being said, the ambiance is nice, you feel like you're in the lush tropics of Panama.
The food was mediocre, ordered the caesar salad that didn't have any personality at all. The stuffed raviolis were undercooked because it took effort to cut them.
The service was acceptable as were the wines.
Before forming too harsh a judgement kindly return to the paragraph above.

A
San Francisco
34 reviews
Dined on September 21, 2019
Overall5food5service4ambience5

Upon entering at opening time we had a somewhat unusual greeting and seating, but once seated we were fine. The food and drinks was excellent and staff provided follow up service without being interruptive.

JC
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on September 20, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Cute atmosphere! If you’re looking for a new place to dine! Highly recommend!
Food was very good! We sat in inside but, the outside is really nice!

I would recommend they have organic options! Didn’t see any!

RH
San Francisco
39 reviews
Dined on September 20, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

Sit on the patio. On a warm night it’s one of the most delightful spots in Marin.

OT
San Francisco
8 reviews
Dined on September 20, 2019
Overall5food4service5ambience5

It was a fine dining experience.

m
San Francisco
38 reviews
Dined on September 20, 2019
Overall5food4service4ambience4

Since I live nearby, I have dined and had lunch at The Panama Hotel many times over the years. I love the outdoor seating, the charming decoration in the main dining room, and the stable menu. I have two complaints: how can a restaurant offer such lame rolls when Bordenave's bakery, making fabulous bread, is right up the street? I have long complained about The Panama's rolls. Secondly, the dessert menu does not reflect the season. Other than an apple dessert, there was nothing indicative of mid-September. They need to use what's in the market, such as pears.

KD
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on September 19, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

I love coming to the Panama - great food, wonderful music and a neighborhood vibe that is so unique. My favorite place to go!

CS
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 15, 2019
Overall5food4service4ambience5

The patio is such a nice setting, and we were able to enjoy a relaxed brunch with family. The food was awesome, and the service was perfect. Not rushing us but there when we needed something.

p
San Francisco
18 reviews
Dined on September 13, 2019
Overall4food4service4ambience5

Great patio and food. Service was ok, perhaps a little stretched.

R
San Francisco
6 reviews
Dined on September 12, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Lovely restaurant, nestled in a quiet San Rafael, neighborhood. We dined outside on a balmy Thursday evening. Assorted hats hung along the fence, giving it the Panama vibe. Excellent service and food!

OT
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on September 11, 2019
Overall5food5service5ambience5

Love! Such a fabulous place for a date night.

OT
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on September 7, 2019
Overall3food2service3ambience5

Chicken and seafood was overcooked