I always loved watching those TV series like The Sopranos or classic Italian mafia movies where the “fasade” business for their crime organizations was always a restaurant. Seeing all those bullies having penne arrabiatta trying not to stain their shirts while discussing who to “ice” was always fun. In Casco Viejo, Panama´s colonial district, we have our very own “gang restaurant”!
Far from The Sopranos, the initiative is the result of a program where gangs re orient their lives and become entrepreneurs. Experiment No.1 was a barbershop, which didn´t work out. The girls within the group took over and created a wonderful Juice Bar which has become the best fresh juice post in the Casco Viejo (and for a $1!!!). Now, they´ve grown and brought in the rest of the family. The result is a restaurant called “Bohemios” which is really performing as a good neighborhood restaurant should.
Friendly ambiance, the staff is all family and friends (and bilingual!). The chef has a great personality and will come out to chat, check out everything and make recommendations. The place is small, only a few tables, but the ambiance is cozy and you are welcome to post your comments with a marker on the wall. If you feel like drawing art, you get beer for free!!! (as long as it is good art, though, no “stick cartoons” ).
Their gin and tonic is very good, and so are the samosas with mango sauce. Their best so far has been the chicken satay and the fish tacos. And yes, they do have “ice”… by the bucket, as you can order a bucket of beer!
The restaurant is located at Avenida A, between 4th and 5th. Open only for dinner (so far), but looking forward to expand to lunches.