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The cream of the crop
The new section of MultiPlaza Mall in Punta Pacifica has a restaurant that delivers what its name promises: The Upper Crust, quality, fresh ingredients are employed to create a great cafe-style menu for those in the mood for a bite to eat while at Panama’s premier shopping mall. Superb breads are a major part of the menu. The place has a polished air that could cause diners to wonder if it is yet another successful international chain that has arrived on the isthmus – but this is not the case. This singular and unique restaurant is borne of and administered by Panamanian talent.
The well-regarded bakery cafe is the creation of Edna Cochez, who runs the place with her husband Ricardo Zubieta. Her interest in the gastronomic world began in Casco Antiguo, where she took an internship at a restaurant which led her to study the culinary arts with local chefs including Elena Hernandez.
A bread lover, she began to experiment baking different types of bread when she couldn’t find what she was looking for in the market. This led to her opening a bakery called Bistro Express, that supplies a great number of Panama City’s coffee shops with baked goods from its artisan kitchen. Naturally, Bistro Express supplies all of the breads used on the menu at The Upper Crust.
What to order
The menu offers appetizers, sandwiches, salads and desserts. The restaurant does not “believe in” processed foods, all the sauces and dressings are creations of the chef and the meat is roasted in-house. To drink enjoy a hibiscus iced tea or one of the natural fruit juices like strawberry, lulo, soursop or passion fruit.
For $16 pick between half a sandwich and half a salad or the soup of the day. Most popular sandwiches include “Le Oink” with roast pork, pickled red onion, chili mayonnaise, chicharrón and cilantro ($11.75) or “El Zacatecas” with breaded chicken, avocado, provolone cheese, chipotle sauce and onions ($11.25). Other options include “The Benedict,” a twist on the classic eggs Benedict, “Gobbler-Gobbler” with home roasted turkey or “Ciprianito” with lamb and tzatsiki sauce.
The Upper Crust
Open Monday through Friday from
10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.,
Saturday and Sunday
11:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.
No salad is boring here, two must-trys are “Kalamata-Memata” a variation of a Greek salad with garbanzo, kalamatra olives, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, edamame, over a bed of hummus, with a feta cheese vinaigrette ($11.75) or “Maria Antonieta” with roasted pears, blue cheese, and toasted nuts over a bed of lettuce and arugula with a Dijon vinaigrette ($11.50).
Coffee and desserts
A hot cup of Ruíz coffee goes perfectly with one of the delicious desserts. “Bombastik de Maní” will bring back childhood memories of eating Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups ($5.95) or try the Lemon Cake with a cookie base filled with lemon, sponge cake with a buttercream lemon icing ($5.90).