Diablo Rosso, located in the historic Casco Viejo neighborhood of Panamá City, seems like it would be more at home in the hipster-lands of L.A. or New York City. This funky little gallery/store/café is doing it’s part “to fill the void that existed for emerging art spaces in the region,” according to the gallery’s website. Since its opening in 2006, Diablo Rosso has become a hub for young artists, challenging political and social commentary, bold fashion and artwork, engaging events, and great dining.
When you walk into the inconspicuous storefront, you are immediately confronted with a barrage of colorful clothing, neon lights, and a huge wall made of bright red Coca Cola crates, the whole interior popping like one big Andy Warhol piece. The gallery space showcases modern art exhibits which change monthly, while the shop and restaurant feature huge paintings which are for sale, as well as a variety of antique/eclectic furnishings, all of which function as art pieces themselves. Diablo Rosso also hosts periodic events, including weekly “Dinner and a Movie” nights every Tuesday.
The fashion in the shop seems like a mix of cleverly thrifted items and crazily designed masterpieces, such as a dress made entirely of fuzzy pompoms.
As if the shopping and the gallery were not stimulation enough, the food is also fantastic. A menu of international cuisine features delicious appetizers, creative salads, and tasty sandwiches, most of which have clever names referencing pop culture (such as the Kevin Bacon sandwich). On our visit, we started with the Salmon Dice (“Salmon Says”) appetizer, a great combination of toasted foccacia, goat cheese, smoked salmon, tomato, and pesto.
We followed this with two excellent sandwiches: I had the Catalina Grill and Zach had the Tuna de Lobos. The highlight of the Catalina Grill was the amazing homemade chewy bread, although the portobello/pepper/goat cheese filling was also to die for. Zach’s sandwich contained fresh grilled tuna, cucumbers, and an awesome wasabi mayonnaise, served in an overstuffed pita. The wasabi mayonnaise provided the perfect amount of kick! Both sandwiches were huge and came with a serving of zesty, mustard-ey potato salad with green onions. Delectable!
By the end of the meal, we were stuffed and only wished we had more time in Panamá City to try more of the awesome-sounding creations on the menu! Other highlights of Diablo Rosso include the indie-music soundtrack and the professional, English-speaking staff (our server was the BEST server we have had on our whole trip!). This eclectic, progressive gallery/cafe is definitely not to be missed by anyone craving some good culture and good food in Panamá City!
Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 11am-8:30pm, Closed Sunday, Monday
Address:Avenue A and Calle 7, Casco Antiguo, Panamá City
Phone: 228-4833 / 37
This post was sponsored by Diablo Rosso.