French restaurants in Panama City
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Restaurant-goers with very large expense accounts should consider a meal of unparalleled decadence at Restaurante 1985, one of the city's most highly regarded culinary institutions. Located inside the Chalet Suizo (Swiss Chalet), this French restaurant provides impeccable service, elegant decor and an extensive wine list. Steak morilles (steak with morel mushrooms), lobster Provençal, shrimp cognac and the many changing daily specials highlight the talents of chef Willy Diggelmann.
This utterly unique French restaurant is set in the vaults of a 300-year-old fort that housed political prisoners for most of the 19th century - fortunately for the crowds who converge here on the weekends, the ghosts of the past haven't had a deleterious effect on the cooking. Specializing in local seafood with a French twist, the menu varies daily, subject to the catch of the day, but always includes a fish fillet, mixed seafood and a cut of steak just to round things out a bit.
A guitarist performs in the last vault nightly except Friday and Saturday, when there's jazz; the music usually starts around 21:00.
Fine Parisian cuisine reigns supreme under the stewardship of chef Fabien Migny, who studied at the Ecole Hotelliére Belliard while simultaneously training at the renowned Restaurant Jamin de Joel Robouchon in Paris. Appetizers like pâté de canard (duck pate) meld nicely with entrées of confit de canard (roasted duck) or fresh salmon in a red wine sauce, and everything is expertly topped off with crêpes soufflées au chocolat (chocolate crepes soufflé).
The fixed-price lunch is a good way to sample Migny's cuisine without breaking the bank, though there are certainly less enjoyable ways to spend your hard-earned money.