Cityscape from Sultan Restaurant, Las Terrazas, Multiplaza Mall
One of our favorite places to eat here in Panama City is a Lebanese restaurant, Sultan. This place has pretty good food, but it is the location that brings us back, time and time again. The open-air situation and outstanding cityscape views from Las Terrazas (literally, The Terraces) in Multiplaza mall make this a special place to visit, rendered even more special and otherworldly by the Great White Egrets that frequently fly past. They fly so slowly, in such a relaxed manner, and look so incongruous against their high rise backdrop.
This place even has a Hookah Menu, which, so far, we have not been brave enough to try! I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure this would be illegal back in the UK. Anyway, a lot of the clientele sit puffing these at their tables, giving the place a very exotic air. I think they are just ‘smoking’ fruit-flavored water, but I don’t really get it.
Hookah Menu, which I do not pretend to understand
Anyway, the food: the best thing to order for a family or a group of friends is a ‘Mesa Libanesa’, literally a ‘Lebanese Table’. This gets you all the best items from the menu in portions to share, a little like the idea of Tapas, but with enough for everyone to get a good meal (unlike Tapas, in my experience). There are lots of hummous and hummous-like mysterious pastes with this option, as well as stuffed vine leaves, which I love, but my husband and children do not, as well as Mozarella sticks, which are too yummy and cannot be good for you at all! Giant portions of kebab meat, succulent lamb, chicken that tastes so much more interesting than it normally does, and non-chewy beef (a rare find in Panama) usually arrive just when you feel you can’t eat any more, but, somehow, you manage!
Lebanese Family Meal – Una Mesa Libanesa
Assorted Yummy Kebab Meat. Sultan Lebanese restaurant
Wraps, salads, fried Corvina (Panama’s favorite fish dish, roughly equivalent to Sea Bass), there is plenty to please all tastes here, from the more adventurous to the slightly less so. Buffalo wings and chicken fingers are available in the Starters menu - these make great meals for your children if they are not mad on the Mesa Libenesa.
Something to be aware of here is that they have a (to me) confusing system of having a separate bill for food with soft drinks, and another for alcohol. Many times we have been chased through Las Terrazas by a waiter waving the alcohol bill! Another thing is that when we asked for desserts during our last visit, the waiter told us the desserts would be coming from a different restaurant. All very bizarre, so obviously we skipped dessert! So – definitely not a restaurant for the sweet of tooth.
If you like savoury, exotic food followed by Turkish coffee, or, I suppose it must be Lebanese coffee (coffee with a kick!), and the exciting big city atmosphere and views, you will greatly enjoy your experience here.
Turkish, or, I suppose, Lebanese, coffee at Sultan Restaurant
Until we moved to Panama three years ago, I had never even heard of Lebanese cuisine, let alone tasted it. For some reason there is a large Lebanese diaspora here and hence many Lebanese restaurants.
There is actually a really outstanding Lebanese restaurant in the city, name of Azul. The food is slightly more tender, and just that little bit better all round, with a hefty price mark-up accordingly. But, for me, dining out is about more than just simply food, and the ambience of Sultan, coupled with the outstanding urban views, plus being outside at night in the beautiful warm air of Las Terrazas, make this the Lebanese restaurant we return to again and again. It was the first restaurant we visited at nighttime after our arrival here all that time ago, and for this reason as well, it will always have a special place in our hearts.
Approximate cost: $80 for a family of five, including wine and coffee along with smoothies for the children. This price is based on a Mesa Libanesa for three, which fed our family of two adults and three children ranging from 5 – 10 years old, more than adequately.
Ambience and cityscape views 5/5