Conoce Mi Panama Menu

Hours: Lunch, dinner: Sunday, Tuesday-Saturday
Closed Monday

Price: $$

New Panamanian restaurant, offering Latin specialties like arroz con pollo, empanadas, and carimañolas, stuffed yuca.

Restaurant Details

Logan Square's Conoce Mi Panama claims to be the only Panamanian restaurant in the U.S.; it's almost certainly the only one around Chicago. Some have argued that this is because the cuisine of Panama is nothing special, but while many of the items on the menu are also typical of other Latin American countries--ceviche, empanadas, tamales, ropa vieja--here they're deftly prepared and nothing disappointed. The highlight was an appetizer of carimañolas, yuca stuffed with ground beef and fried until it was light and crispy outside and creamy inside. Patacones, or twice-fried green plantain slices, come with crushed garlic in butter and oil for dipping--because what deep-fried food isn't better for being dipped in more oil? But fried appetizers nothwithstanding, most of the fare here isn't gut-bustingly heavy. Thanks to owner and server Antonio Bailey, who’s a vegetarian, there’s even a veggie burger and veggie "chicken" strips, which he swears taste exactly like chicken. They don't, but they’re still pretty good, panfried with peppers and onions and served with house-made hot sauce on the side as well as the white rice, beans, fried plantain strips, and vegetables or salad that accompany all entrees. The drinks are also worth trying, especially chicha de raspadura con limon, which is like lemonade sweetened with raw brown sugar, and chicheme, a rich, creamy Panamanian drink with corn and spices in it (a little like eggnog with kernels of corn at the bottom).

Julia Thiel

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Price: $$

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