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The authentic taste of Panama
There are no prizes for guessing the culinary proclivities of El Trapiche restaurant in Albrook Mall. A trapiche is a traditional sugar cane press for squeezing the juice or “guarapo” from sugar cane and the restaurant is themed with palm thatch and Spanish tile. So obviously you are going to enjoy Panamanian country fare. But that is not by any means the whole story. Recently owner/manager, Domingo Obaldía, has expanded its menu with new twists and presentations of traditional dishes.
El Trapiche of Albrook Mall is a branch of the Via Argentina location which has been delighting its clientele for four decades or so. Domingo is a scion of the Obaldía family which started the business.
Owner/manager, Domingo Obaldia has made his career in the hospitality trade. A stint with Disney in Orlando marked his early years. He opened the Decameron at Playa Blanca, worked at the Sandals Resort in Jamaica and the Hyatt in Florida – and between jobs he always pitched in at the family restaurant.
All the original family recipes are used at the Mall restaurant. A glance at the menu shows how wide the array of typical Panamanian food is. The “frituras” are of course a great speciality. The chicharrón (pork rinds) are incomparable, as is the “sancocho,” the chicken and “ñame” soup widely considered the country’s national dish.
A popular lunchtime treat, exclusive to El Trapiche, is the sandwich “en hojaldre” using flour fritters instead of bread. Fresh seafood and excellent steaks rub shoulders on the menu with country specialties like “tamal de olla” (tamale casserole), liver and onions and “arroz con pollo.”
You won’t spend a fortune at El Trapiche. Because the restaurant is so popular, customer volume leads to lower prices. El Trapiche Albrook Mall is open Sunday – Thursday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and on Fridays and Saturdays from 7 a.m. – 11 p.m. They can be reached by calling Tel. 314-7427, 314-7426 or visiting