Restaurant Los Establos

By: Epicurious EmQUOTE:  “If you hear an onion ring, answer it!”  --AnonymousHato Viejo is a green community development with a boutique hotel located between Rio Hato and Anton, about 10 km from the Rio Hato Airport. 

The property is pristine.  Chef Johnny Barreto is a great addition to the mix, bringing his culinary talents to Los Establos Steakhouse.

The restaurant is colorful with four different colored wine glasses set on bright table linens.  You can dine inside or out, and the ambiance is “western eclectic.”  The menu is a mix of BBQ, American, Mexican, Panamanian, and a bit of Asian, offering a variety of appetizers, from crab cakes to ceviches to quesadillas, langostinos, and Oriental chicken bites.  The salad selection is truly a welcome change from the norm, with a refreshingly substantial Cobb, Santa Fe (Ole’!), and Caprese, along with the obligatory Caesar (with or without chicken or camarones), and a grilled vegetable dish.  There is also a soup of the day.  The sandwich selection is small but mighty, as well.  You can choose from the big burger, a mushroom/onion burger, fish burger, or the tropical chicken ($10-$12).  All of them are humungous.  We chose the big burger (Look out Carl, Jr.!) and the fish burger.  We could have easily shared either, as they are huge and came on Artisan buns with all the accompaniments, including crispy French fries and “to die for” fried onion rings.  The grill announces BBQ ribs (1/2 rack-$15, full rack-$28).  The suave ribs are flavorful, and literally fall off the bone.  We named them the “3 napkin, lick-your-finger ribs.”  The filet was very nice, topped with my choice of a mushroom wine sauce and accompanied with those devilish onion rings and a salad ($16-$28).  In addition to the carnivorous delights mentioned above, the restaurant offers three pasta dishes, grilled chicken breast, salmon, corvina, mixed seafood, and octopus ($11-$17).  You have your choice of two sides, from a selection of 9, including salad, vegetables, yucca, potatoes, and patacones.  This restaurant is generous and does not know the definition of small portions.

The service at Los Establos has been superb, with Griselda easily handling the full bar and wait staff duties.  The hotel boasts a gorgeous swimming pool area with a bohio and grill, specializing in snacks, tropical drinks, and BBQ.  Los Establos opens at 7 a.m. for breakfast and closes whenever.

TIP:  Need to make the trip to Penonome to renew your driver’s license?  Hopefully, you can celebrate your accomplishment by stopping on your way home at Los Establos for a late lunch or early dinner.

Epicurious Em welcomes your comments and suggestions.  As always, the information in this article was accurate at the time of the writing, but restaurant owners have the option of changing prices, menu, and hours at any time.  Feel free to e-mail me at