Crepes and Waffles (Avenida 5B between Calle Uruguay and Calle Aquilino de la Guardia, tel. 269-1574 or 305-6536, www.crepesandwaffles.com, noon–11 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 9 a.m.–11 p.m. Sun.) is a popular Latin American chain that serves—guess what?—in a sunny, modern, brick-and-glass building with an air-conditioned interior, outdoor terrace, and yuppie vibe. Only the 1970s soft rock mars the pleasant atmosphere. Its large selection of savory and sweet crepes include some vegetarian options. Other offerings include lots of coffee drinks, a salad bar, pita sandwiches, and other café goodies. It’d be hard to spend more than US$10 here without getting sugar poisoning. There are newer branches in the Multiplaza Pacific and Albrook malls.
A newer creation by the chef behind Tre Scalini, Peperoncini (Calle 49 and Calle Uruguay, tel. 265-1312, www.peperoncinipanama.com, noon–4 P.M. and 6–11 P.M. daily, US$10–15) is a trendy, overly bright new place that attracts the nouveau riche. The food is fairly tasty if over-salted, and the mod, orange-and-white decor is sleek and cheerful. A sitting area outside is pleasant on dry season evenings. A similar-looking sister restaurant, Peperoncini de Mare, is near the Marriott on Calle Manuel María Icaza. As the name suggests, it specializes in seafood.
The menu at Ozone Café (Calle Uruguay near Calle 48, tel. 214-9616, 11 a.m.–3 p.m. and 6–10 p.m. or so daily, US$5–15) is almost comically eclectic: Among other things it features Indian, Iraqi, Indonesian, German, Lebanese, Senegalese, Italian, Tunisian, and Alabaman(!) cuisine. Of these, the Middle Eastern fare is probably the safest bet, and you’d probably also do okay with the pastas, salads, and grilled meats. The food is tasty but the chef has a fondness for oil. This is a cozy, popular little place with a low slanting ceiling and little lamps that hang above the tables. The servers are gracious and attentive.
© William Friar from Moon Panama, 3rd Edition