Panela Restaurant [Lowell, MA]

Report is a bit late, but DH and I went to Lowell Folk Festival two weekends ago with some senior relatives. We sampled quite a few stalls in the festival (the Burmese and gumbo stalls are excellent as always) but left around 6pm in search of dinner and landed at Panela.

Panela is tucked away on a quite side street in Lowell downtown, and said street was doing construction, which I’m hoping is not affecting their business. We got some complimentary fried green plantains, which were crispy and works well with the spicy salsa. The relatives ordered shrimp ceviche and cucumber salad, and find them light and refreshing after a hot day. The waiter kindly swapped out sugar for stevia so they can enjoy a blackberry juice; DH and I got regular passion fruit juice and coconut lemonade (thick like a shake but also pucker-inducing in a pleasant way).

We also got shrimp and fish encocado and shredded beef arepa as entries. The fried shrimp and fish is battered lightly with coconut shreds, almost tempura-like, and the green rice work nicely too. Didn’t taste DH’s arepa but positive review was given as well. According to the lovely waiter (whose sister cooks in the back), the food is generally Colombian but they are trying to preserve the traditional flavors while putting their own creative touches on it, and the thoughtfulness certainly shows in the dishes we tried. Definitely will go back when around the area.


@sunnyday, thank you for sharing. Panela must have opened recently, because we pass through that stretch every few weeks on our way to Sophia’s Greek Pantry.

Road construction in the area has indeed
affected local business, according to the good folks at Sophia’s.

Planning to try Panela and will report back. Because, arepas.

P.S. We also hit the Lowell Folk Festival with friends back in July. We needed to cut this year’s visit short, but still we managed to get in a losh kebab sandwich from the Armenian booth near JFK Plaza. The Festival is perennially on our July calendar.


Great report and pics, thanks so much! All sounds really delicious.

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