We have guests in from Panama City for Carnival and yesterday, after church, we decided to try a restaurant I don’t frequent often, that being TGIF. Currently, the cheapest burger is about $11.25 at TGIF and most other meals are higher. For our party of seven, we would probably have had a bill over $100 and a tip over $10. 10% is the expected tip in Panama.
When we entered, there were two large dirty tables and no staff in sight. There was another table of 6 waiting with menus ready to order. There was no one minding the door and seating people. We pulled three tables together and found a couple menus.
After about 10 minutes the other table of 6 left, because no one came to take their order. We looked for someone to wait on us and were basically told that they would be by soon. After another 5 minutes, we decided that something as special as TGIF was not to be had today. If the TGIF franchise becomes aware of how this management and staff are preforming, several people will probably be looking for jobs. It will be a long time before I decide to try it again.
I suggested we go to the new Verona Pizza place. It turned out to be the perfect place. For me, it has my favorite pizza in David. However, I love thin italian crust pizza, which is what Verona serves.
We ordered pizzas, sandwiches and salads and everyone was extremely pleased. For dessert, we had one of the Nutella pizzas, which was outstanding. That was a first for me, but won’t be my last.
We enjoyed great food and outstanding service for less than $50 including tip. It turned out to be a special day after all. If you are not aware of Verona’s Pizza, you can see my original post HERE. Also, Verona’s Pizza has a new Facebook page here.
If you stop in, tell Chef Franco that Chiriquí Chatter sent you.
I received an email from Franco, the owner of Verona, that the new hours are 11:00 AM to 11:00 PM. Monday through Sunday, My original post said it is was closed on Monday. I have eaten there several times now and every time was good. I still like the thin crust and the fact that you can watch it being made.
Never one to pass up the opportunity for pizza I tried it not once but twice over the next few days.
I did find it to be good pizza. In fact, it is the first I have found that competes with the pizza I liked when Pino had Popeyes. It is thin crust and the flavors were very good.
The restaurant is new, very clean, open, friendly, and with plenty of space for a large group. There is also very good parking!
My iPhone battery died, so some of the photos were taken with Lilliam’s Android (i.e. not very good photos).
One thing I liked about the restaurant is that you can watch everything being prepared. You don’t have to worry about the cleanliness of the kitchen. You see everything.
Let me introduce you to Nora and Paula, who will take your order and make you feel welcome. If you stop in, tell them that Chiriquí Chatter sent you.
Chef Franco has his diploma from Pizza school in Italy. Hey, you can’t get more Italian than that. He had a Pizzeria in Albrook in Panama City for a couple years and found he didn’t like living in PC and got smart and moved to Chiriquí. Lucky for us!
While we were there, Chef Franco was just finishing up some loaves of bread. I took one loaf home and have had it for breakfast for the last couple of days. Watch for it, there might be fresh bread when you go too.
Over two days we tried a medium sized pizza, a small pizza, salads, a ham and cheese sandwich, and a lasagna. All got high marks. They are only closed on Monday, so it is now on my Sunday list of restaurants. 730-5984 is the business number if you want to order ahead of time.
Must be the time of year to open pizza locations. Across from Cuatro, Delicia Italiana has opened. I think this must be a restructuring of the previous business, which was a fruit, salad and fruit drink location.
I am just guessing and could be wrong, but fruit, fruit drinks and deserts are provided and it just appears to be by the same owner.
What brought me in was the sign, which implies Italian pizza and gelato. The hope for outstanding ice cream was dashed when I realized that Estrella Azul was the source of the ice cream.
This restaurant is comfortable and if extremely clean. It is another pizza by the meter format. I don’t remember which pizza I ordered, but it was supposed to have ham and if it was there, it was sparse and well hidden.
I think this location will be more of interest to vegetarians and fruit salad aficionados. If you were hoping for an authentic Italian Gelateria, you will need to keep looking and the closest is still located at the Chiriquí Mall.
UPDATE: November 28. The comment today says that the ice cream is indeed Italian gelato and comes from Boquete. That being the case, I will have to stop back by and give it a try.
The other day we were near Super 99 in the evening and decided to see if Popeye’s was open. It used to be my favorite Pizza place. However, for well over a year, when I dropped by near noon, it would be closed. The sign with the hours hasn’t changed and the hours are wrong.
Now I know why it was never open when I was there. It is open from 4 PM until 10 PM monday through Saturday.
I always liked Popeyes because it uses a wood fired oven and the pizza was unique. When Pino, the Italian owner was there, he always had a small appetizer of fresh baked bread, that he gave you prior to the pizza being ready. Really good and a nice touch! When Pino headed back to Italy it became another pizza place. Makes me think of the difference between an artist and a painter.
This time I ordered what I alway used to order “Cuatro Estaciones” and waited with hopeful expectations. When the pizza came, it looked similar, but was a little different. It was good , but not great. After thinking about it, I think the difference was the care that the cook used when spreading the cheese. It didn’t seem to be uniformly spread and that caused it to be thicker in some places than others resulting in the crust not being uniformly toasted.
As I said, it was good, but not the same as when Pino was there. Still worth a try, if you are in the area during the time it is open.
Speaking of Pizza, I have seen two more Pizza places that have opened and since I like Pizza, they are on my list to try. One is on the one way street known as calle rapida that exits at the InterAmerican highway by Cochez. The restaurant is across the street from plaza Mallorca. I have heard they sell pizza by the yard.
Another is across the street from Cuatro’s Restaurant. If you get there before me, give me a heads up.