Monday, May 27, 2024

11 Bucket List Restaurants in Panama City, Panama

Are you a foodie, like me, heading to Panama and looking for the best restaurants in Panama City? You’re in luck because there’s a ton of choices and I have chosen some of my mouth watering favorites.

From trendy places with Panamanian twists to traditional hotspots, grab your fork and get ready to drool over these restaurants that deserve a spot on your foodie bucket list.

Restaurants in Panama City Pinterest

1. Fonda Lo Que Hay

One of Latin America’s Top 50 restaurants, Fonda Lo Que Hay offers upscale Panamanian food with modern twists, served in a lively, corrugated metal setting. Don’t miss their signature yuca toast with tuna carpaccio and onion ceviche, or my personal favorite, the fish and pixbae cocktail. Pure deliciousness!

TIP: make sure to make reservations in advance, it’s a popular eatery.

2. Corcho

I just can’t pass up on a good wine bar in a new destination, and Corcho is a great one! This spot takes small plates and tapas to a whole new level (the tuna tataki was my favorite!), and their ever-changing wine list will keep you coming back for more. Their charcuterie board skills are also no joke. 

Another plus is that the staff know their wine, so you can trust them for recommendations. I had a delicious Malbec.

3. La Bárbara x Aki Sushi

This hidden gem behind a hair salon in Casco Viejo combines two distinct but complementary experiences under one roof. La Barbara serves innovative craft cocktails and international tapas, while Aki Sushi offers a yummy selection of fresh, authentic sushi and Japanese dishes. I actually went here for my birthday and went back a few days later because everything is just so good. Everything is great, but I especially loved their spicy tuna on crispy rice!

4. Krume Bäcker

This technically isn’t a restaurant, but Krume Bäcker definitely deserves a spot on my list, and here’s why: This small modern coffee shop specializes in making homemade sourdough bread (yum!), and with that bread they make the most delicious sweet and savory toasts. My favorite was the tosta de hongas ostra (mushroom toast). 

It’s the perfect place for a casual breakfast, light lunch or coffee break, though snagging a seat can be challenging (it can get crowded real fast, especially on Sundays!) But don’t worry; you can always grab your goodies to go.

5. Amano Bar

Amano Bar in the San Francisco district of Panama City, isn’t your average joint – it’s a global sensation! Recognized in the World’s Top 50 Bars, it’s a stylish spot offering top-notch cocktails. Think of playful fruity drinks, cool classics, and a vibe that’s both laid-back and cheeky. Not to mention the delicious eats, from fish tacos to sliders. 


6. Brutto

Brutto is a cool restaurant that was just a few blocks from my AirBNB in the San Francisco area. They serve up modern Asian and international dishes with a fun twist, like the ossobuco dumplings and seafood “sticky rice” paella. The steak tartar we picked was a chef’s kiss, and the sushi bar? Delish.

7. La Pulpería

La Pulperia takes a cue from 16th-century “pulperías,” which were like a general store and tavern in one. It’s not just a place to eat; it’s a mix of dining, fun, and soaking in culture. On the menu, you’ve got Panamanian seafood and some global goodies like Peruvian ceviche (I highly recommend this one!), mac & cheese, and octopus tacos. 

And the drinks? They’ve got everything from signature cocktails to wines and even non-alcoholic options, all perfectly paired with the food.

8. Botanica Pizza

Meet Botánica Pizza – the Italian maestro of Panama City’s dining scene. This plant-filled paradise has an outdoor area enclosed by a greenhouse – think of it as a slice of Italy with a tropical twist!

Botanica Patio

Their menu is a symphony of flavors – pizzas that dance on your taste buds, pastas that serenade your senses, and drinks galore! From international wines to cocktails, beers, fresh juices, tea, and desserts that are pure indulgence – they’ve got it all. 

Now, here’s the real kicker – the prosciutto with a drizzle of spicy honey. Trust me, you need to try this one out!

9. Maito

Led by culinary wizard Chef Mario Castrellón, Maito stands tall as a Latin American gem, ranking No. 6 locally and No. 100 globally on the Top 50 Restaurant lists. Their expertise lies in Panamanian dishes, blending local flavors with Afro-Caribbean, Asian, and Creole tastes.

Think regular penne turning into their star dish, Penne alla Maitó. And don’t forget the coconut-infused dumplings dancing next to the classic sancocho soup. 

Personal Kudos: I went there solo, and not only was the food on point, but their service was top-notch. Even though I was dining alone, they were super attentive and accommodating.

Quick Tip: Reserve a spot early, they book up quickly. I got a lunch reservation a few days in advance, but dinner was booked the two weeks I was in Panama City. 


10. El Trapiche

Craving some authentic Panamanian food? Then you gotta check out El Trapiche. They have several spots around the city, so finding one is easy. And guess what? The prices are affordable, so you won’t have to break the bank.

Their menu is all about classic Panamanian dishes. We’re talking hearty stews, fried meat platters, and delicious rice and chicken combos. I had their Fiesta Panameña (which I also recommend), a dish where you get to taste a bit of everything, such as Yuca frita, carimanola, plantains, sancocho, arroz con pollo and more. Don’t forget to save room for dessert (coconut ice cream anyone?).

El Trapiche Fiesta Panameña

11. Esa Flaca Rica

Esa Flaca Rica is the ultimate go-to for your burger cravings. They’re famous for their juicy, mouthwatering burgers loaded with all the good stuff, it’s a burger lover’s paradise. Craving a classic cheeseburger? They’ve got you covered. Feeling a bit daring? The “La Flaca Sexy” with chimichurri and a fried egg is a mind-blowing choice. Unsurprisingly, they’ve earned their stripes as one of the city’s most beloved food trucks.

If you are heading to Panama, definitely pack your appetite! Let me know which of these Panama City restaurants you’ll be trying and if you discover any of your own bucket list bites.

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