A melting pot of Afro-Caribbean, Latin American and European cultures, Panama’s culinary scene reflects the country’s diverse heritage. From simple and delicious comfort food to exquisite gourmand explorations, to tempt any palate.

The economic boom and influx of foreign investment in the Panamanian capital over the last 10 years has been accompanied by the growth of the restaurant scene. Cuisine has always been fairly international because of the mix of nationalities drawn to this international crossroad, but in recent years the culinary offer has grown to reflect the interest in new Panamanian cuisine, the Western farm-to-table trend, microbreweries and gastro pubs.

Panamanian cuisine

The Panamanian cuisine typically includes meat or seafood with coconut rice accompanied by local fruits and vegetables such as yucca (a root vegetable), corn, coconuts and plantains where Panamanian cuisine is reinvented with a little fusion with other gastronomy.

The restaurants favouring Panamanian-style cuisine are dominated by wonderfully fresh seafood.

Local cuisine is also a product of this combination of influences, mixed with fresh tropical produce and fresh seafood. For a taste of the staples, try the fried hojaldra bread for breakfast, ceviche at one of the Seafood Market stands off the Cinta Costera, patacones (fried green plantains) and carimañolas (fried mashed yuca root stuffed with meat) and a whole fried fish on the Amador Causeway or at one of the Veracruz fish shacks.

eating out in panama
Gastronomía en Panama

International cuisine

With a gastronomy influenced by multiple cultures for being a transit country, Panama is a country where you can find many interesting restaurants, especially in its cosmopolitan capital, Panama City.

The Central American hub is a rising culinary star, with a varied food scene including some fabulous North-American, European and Middle-Eastern options as well as plenty of Latin specialities. A number of elegant, gastronomic ventures can also be found in the Casco Viejo

Types of restaurants that can be found in Panama range from:

  • Lebanese
  • Traditional Panamanian
  • Italian
  • Cantonese
  • Indian
  • French
  • American
  • Spanish
  • Peruvian
  • Arentinian
  • Irish
  • Japonese
  • American
  • Mexican
  • Colombian
  • Venezuelan
  • German
  • Korean

The Casco Viejo Restaurant Scene

A few miles from the Panama Canal–one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World–awaits the UNESCO World Heritage site of Casco Viejo. Along with being a wonderful place to soak in history, the oceanfront old town is gaining a reputation as the “SoHo of Latin America” for its variety of cultural, shopping, dining and nightlife venues.