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Big mugs, bigger plates – the best portion sizes in Panama City. The most bang for your buck, and the best space for mingling, lingering, working remotely, or spacing out and flat out enjoying the wonderfully cozy ambiance of this spacious café.

Can you tell I really like this place?

New York Bagel Café is the one that I keep returning to, time after time, despite how many (and there are so many!) coffee shops and cozy cafes I’ve tried throughout every nook and cranny of Panama City.

Perhaps the most telling sign of a coffeeholic like myself is that when we go out for coffee, we will want to sit and enjoy more than just one cup of joe. Sometimes, I lose count of my refills when I am really in the zone. As a writer, coffee is my fuel. As I sip the sweet elixir that warms my soul and ignites creativity, the words pour out effortlessly. I thrive on caffeine!

The problem with that is the lack of cafés that offer free refills. Actually, I have yet to find another café in all of Panama to give even a discount for that always-needed second cup of coffee (at the very least!). And while I will be the first to say that Panama has some outstanding coffee, the shops here are aware, and they want your money.

The only one that does not operate this way is New York Bagel Café. There, you pay $2.50, and you get as much coffee as you want. Refill after refill, no one’s counting. And the options! From French Roast to Latin Roast, Amaretto, Altura, Ethiopian, just to name a few… the options are endless. Just help yourself!

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I haven’t even begun to describe the fresh-baked bagels, of which there are as many, if not more options as there are types of coffee. From parmesan to chocolate chip, the bagels are amazing, and waiting to be paired with each one is a lovely assortment of cream cheeses, as well. From chives and garlic to strawberry and cinnamon, there is a bagel-and-cream-cheese for every taste bud, and they’re all to-die-for. Important to note, bagels, in general, are not common throughout Panama. Of the very few spots that you may find them, none compare.

New York Bagel Café doesn’t stop at bagels and coffee, though I firmly believe they could and be just fine. Instead, they offer a wealth of options for hearty breakfasts, from huge omelets to the most delectable French toast. Lunch is served, and dinner, too, with a variety of incredibly fresh salads, hearty sandwiches, and the traditional Panamanian favorite: Sancocho soup. If you come on an empty stomach, you certainly won’t leave that way.

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One small but noteworthy perk of the Via Argentina construction right now is that to walk is the fastest, most efficient way to get around. Because so many roads are closed and traffic is slowed down, you will find that crossing streets on foot is far less chaotic than it would be on any given normal day in Panama City.

Don’t let a few orange cones come between you and bottomless coffee with a wealth of great food being served all day.

This was a guest post by Brittney Schering (@existential_bls), an international writer fluent in wanderlust and wild abandon that made the recent move to Panama. Have an article, idea, opinion, tips, or just about anything else Panama related you would like to write about on PTY Life? Become a guest blogger like Brittney by sending a message to

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Brittney is a global writer and editor fluent in wanderlust with work published in Forbes Travel Guide, Time Out, Culture Trip, International Living, and more. Hailing from Detroit, MI, she first moved to NYC, then LA, and from there, NOLA, before venturing overseas to Panama. Follow Brittney on Instagram at @existential_bls.

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