Matsuei Sushi Bar Panama
Calle Eusebio A. Morales 12-A
Panamá, Rep. de Panamá
(507) 264- 9562
(507) 264- 9547
(507) 265- 4904
movil 6679-0555

So this is a bit of a story & after searching online, I can now see the complaints are basically the same from anyone who knows anything about Japanese food & service. See here from Trip Advisor.

So let’s get to my story.

Before I even purchased from Oferta Simple with this Matsuei restaurant, I had gone to them & paid full price. I already knew their food wasn’t great Japanese food & was VERY VERY expensive & in my opinion, a rip off.

The first time I went I asked for the English menu. Turns out, the English menu hadn’t been updated in a long time, so the prices were lower than on the Spanish menu. When I got my bill, I questioned the prices & in all fairness the manager reduced the bill by the $1 or 2 dollars, but she didn’t looked thrilled about it at all. I know, HUGE move on their part considering the bill was around $60 if memory serves me correctly.

One of the waitresses I had (I somehow had 2) wasn’t friendly, & the service was on the slow side, but I was trying to be patient as I had already been forewarned that Panamanians don’t care about their customers.

When Oferta Simple ran the deal for Matsuei, I figured what the hell, the food wasn’t bad bad, I’m going to go get my money’s worth since I overpaid last time. They charge $6 for Edamame, can you believe that??? I bought TWO ofertas.

So I walk in by myself & ask for the English menu. I’m told by the same manager they pulled it because of what happened last time. So I had to struggle with reading the menu & waste her time & mine with her translating. Even though she was helping me, it was clear she wasn’t liking the situation one bit. In fact, 2 of the staff kept looking at me like they were angry with me. What the hell did I do???


Whatever happened with their pricing months ago was their issue, not mine. It’s not like I was given a $20 discount.

I ordered.

The food was maybe slightly better than last time because I knew what not to order this time & there were some leftovers of course, seeing that I spent $50.

The short older blond woman is the nicest one out of the whole lot. The tall butchy looking brunette is ALWAYS in a bad mood & the manager doesn’t smile either. I have a feeling they hate Gringos.

I tried to enjoy myself despite their clear disdain for me when I didn’t do a dam thing to them. It took FOREVER to get my food packed up & to get the bill. I had to finally start carrying it to the front door area just to get some service.

Then the worst part occurred. I stated to my waitress it’s an oferta simple & I give her my driver’s license which is what I always do. She brings me the bill without the discount (what did she think my driver’s license was for?), so I have to tell her “No, I have the Oferta Simple”.

The next thing I know, the manager (or owner) comes over to me & starts getting upset AT ME. She’s telling me that there has to be TWO people present in order to cash in the oferta. Obviously I’m SHOCKED. I don’t remember reading this anywhere & I told her so. I also told her that I’ve been to MANY restaurants with Oferta Simple & they NEVER demanded there be 2 people present. After she left I thought, what difference does it make??? I ordered enough for 3 people.

She argues with me some more & then has the nerve to tell me that the oferta should be presented at the BEGINNING of the meal when I first arrive. Again I’m shocked. No other restaurant has complained about this & I always present it at the end just in case the restaurant decides they want to skimp on the portion size or just throw the dish together instead of taking care with it. I wouldn’t have to worry if this was Groupon, but because it’s Oferta Simple (see what happened with them), I do have to worry about customer service & being refused service because I complain or point out problems.

I said to her, “well I’m NOT paying for this meal, I don’t have the money for it.” I had even gone over the $50, so they were going to get more out of me.

She takes the money & driver’s license, does whatever, comes back & then proceeds to STERNLY tell me that I will NOT be allowed to come back & use the 2nd oferta unless there’s 2 people. I said fine.

People in the restaurant were staring. I have NEVER been talked to this way in a restaurant & I’m a foodie, I have gone to TONS of restaurants in my lifetime.

When I got back, I went to look at the oferta & NOWHERE did it say that there has to be TWO people present in order for the oferta to be honored. Lie.

Here’s the wording:

“3 vouchers may be purchased per person. An unlimited number of vouchers
may be purchased as gifts but only 3 vouchers may be given to each gift
recipient. Valid for 4 months. Does not include tax or tip. Not
applicable with other offers or the executive menu. 1 voucher may be
used for tables of 1 or more people. 2 vouchers may be used for tables
of 4 people or more. 3 vouchers may be used for tables of 6 people or
more. The full value of the voucher must be used in one visit or it will
be lost. Redeemable on or after October 1st.”

No wonder this restaurant has to resort to ofertas. Now that I see the reviews from the Trip Advisor people who aren’t locals & aren’t expats & who aren’t accustomed to the poor service & quality in Panama, it’s clear it’s not just me. Not that I doubted myself, but it’s good to know that others have had similar experiences.

If you want good Japanese in Panama, go to Sake.




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