Lunch at Carlito's

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by Mandan Lynn on March 6, 2013

My boyfriend and I stopped off at Carlito's for a late lunch. We had been there once before, sipping sangria while we waited for some friends to meet us, and we decided then we wanted to come back and try the food.

There is plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. Usually in Panama, you opt for the outdoor table, but it was so windy that day that we wanted to be inside. Our waiter was really friendly and promptly attended to us.

The pizza menu is enormous. They offer pizzas both with and without cheese, and then list every possible ingredient combination you can think of. Prices range from about $6-10, depending on which ingredients you choose. I finally decided on the vegetarian pizza, and it arrived covered in chopped onions, peppers, black olives, and mushrooms. It was a personal-sized pizza, but big enough that I took 1/4 of it home (and probably would have taken 1/2 of it home, except that my boyfriend took a longer time eating and just staring at the delicious pizza drove me crazy enough that I slowly ate the third piece).

This is really some of the best pizza I've had in Panama. Often, when you order a pizza, there are only a few pieces of the toppings you ordered. This was absolutely covered; the emphasis was definitely on the veggies. The crust was thin and flavorful, and it wasn't too greasy.

My boyfriend eyed the various meat and fish options before deciding on the ribs. It came with choice of salad, fries, or plantains -- he had the salad. He requested hot sauce (which I also used on my meal), and it was absolutely delicious. It came in a tiny little bowl and appeared to be homemade. It was so spicy; I think it is probably the hottest hot sauce we've come across so far in Panama. The flavor was fantastic, as well -- it wasn't just a bowl of heat. This made using it very difficult: the taste encouraged you to add more and more, the heat factor reminded you to use far less.

They also serve empanadas, but after Argentina (see the journal Eating Buenos Aires), we are kind of burned out on empanadas at the moment. Besides, I heard from a friend who has tried them that they are a bit on the bready side, and could use a little more filling.

There are some awesome paintings on the wall inside -- the woman we took to be the owner (or at least manager) of the place said that her daughter painted them.

Carlito's is right off the Pan-American Highway in San Carlos and is a decent place to break up your drive.
Carlito's Pizza & Empanadas
At the entrance to Playa Palmar
San Carlos, Panama

© LP 2000-2009