Restaurants In Panama

Restaurants in Panama: A Culinary Adventure Awaits

Panama is a beautiful country with a rich culinary heritage that reflects its diverse history and culture. From traditional Panamanian dishes to international cuisine, there’s something for everyone in this Central American paradise. In this travel guide, we’ll introduce you to some of the best restaurants in Panama, giving you a taste of the incredible dining experiences you can look forward to on your visit.

1. Mercado de Mariscos

Let’s start our culinary journey at Panama City’s famous fish market, the Mercado de Mariscos. This bustling market is a great place to try some of the freshest seafood in the city. While there are several small eateries within the market itself, the most popular one is the open-air restaurant upstairs. Here, you can savor ceviche, a local favorite made from raw fish marinated in citrus juice and spices. Don’t miss out on other seafood delights like the corvina (sea bass) and pargo (snapper).

2. Caliope

Located in the heart of Panama City’s Casco Viejo district, Caliope offers an upscale dining experience with a fusion of Panamanian and international flavors. The restaurant’s interior is both elegant and welcoming, with exposed brick walls and warm lighting. Caliope’s menu is constantly evolving, but you can expect to find dishes like ropa vieja (shredded beef) with a modern twist, octopus with black garlic sauce, and passion fruit cheesecake for dessert. Be sure to pair your meal with one of their excellent cocktails or a glass of wine from their extensive list.

3. Maito

Maito is a must-visit for those seeking a true Panamanian gastronomic experience. Chef Mario Castrellón, a pioneer of the Panamanian food movement, showcases the country’s diverse ingredients and flavors through his innovative dishes. The menu at Maito is a mix of traditional and contemporary, featuring options like the Maito Tasting Menu, which includes ten courses of Panamanian-inspired cuisine. With a lush outdoor terrace and stylish indoor dining space, Maito is perfect for a special night out.

4. Ochoymedio

Located in the vibrant neighborhood of Obarrio, Ochoymedio is a trendy restaurant that specializes in international fusion cuisine. The menu is a delightful mix of Latin, Asian, and Mediterranean flavors, with dishes like the lamb shank with cilantro and mint chimichurri, and the sea bass with coconut risotto. The restaurant’s chic atmosphere and creative cocktails make it an ideal spot for a night out with friends or a romantic dinner date.

5. El Trapiche

For a taste of authentic Panamanian cuisine, head to El Trapiche. This family-owned restaurant has been serving traditional Panamanian dishes for over 35 years. The menu is full of classic options like sancocho (a hearty chicken and vegetable soup), carimañolas (stuffed yuca fritters), and arroz con pollo (chicken with rice). With its colorful décor and lively atmosphere, El Trapiche is a great place to enjoy a casual meal with friends or family.

6. Nazca 21

If you’re craving Peruvian cuisine, look no further than Nazca 21. This cozy restaurant in the Obarrio neighborhood offers a taste of Peru with a Panamanian touch. The menu features a variety of traditional Peruvian dishes, such as lomo saltado (stir-fried beef with vegetables and French fries) and causa limeña (a layered potato dish with avocado and chicken or seafood). Don’t forget to try their outstanding ceviche, which is made with fresh fish and a perfect balance of tangy and spicy flavors. The warm and inviting atmosphere at Nazca 21 makes it an excellent choice for a memorable meal.

7. Diablicos

Located in the historic Casco Viejo district, Diablicos offers a unique dining experience that combines traditional Panamanian cuisine with live folkloric performances. The restaurant’s menu features classic dishes like tamal de olla (a meat and vegetable-filled cornmeal dish), patacones (fried green plantains), and flan de coco (coconut flan). The colorful décor and vibrant atmosphere, complete with traditional Panamanian music and dance, make Diablicos a must-visit for a lively and cultural dining experience.

8. La Vespa Ristorante & Cocktail Bar

If you’re in the mood for Italian cuisine, La Vespa Ristorante & Cocktail Bar in Obarrio is the place to go. This stylish eatery offers a wide range of Italian classics, such as pasta, risotto, and pizza, all prepared with fresh, high-quality ingredients. Some standout dishes include the black ink seafood pasta, the truffle risotto, and the pizza margherita. Pair your meal with a refreshing cocktail or a glass of wine from their extensive list, and you’re in for a delightful Italian dining experience in Panama.

9. Los Años Locos

For steak lovers, Los Años Locos in San Francisco is a must-visit. This Argentine-style steakhouse boasts a cozy, rustic ambiance and offers a variety of cuts, including tenderloin, ribeye, and striploin. The menu also features other Argentine specialties like empanadas, provoleta (grilled provolone cheese), and chorizo. Complete your meal with a glass of Malbec from their extensive wine list, and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported to Buenos Aires.

10. Casa Blanca

Last but not least, we have Casa Blanca, a charming restaurant situated in a beautifully restored colonial house in Casco Viejo. The menu at Casa Blanca is a fusion of Mediterranean and Panamanian cuisine, with dishes like grilled octopus, seafood paella, and pistachio-crusted tuna. The outdoor patio, surrounded by lush greenery, is the perfect setting for a relaxing meal under the stars.

There you have it, a comprehensive guide to some of the best restaurants in Panama. With such a diverse array of culinary options, there’s truly something for everyone. Whether you’re a seafood lover, a fan of traditional Panamanian cuisine, or just in search of a delicious meal, you’ll find plenty to savor during your visit to this beautiful country.