Panama City is finally getting the recognition it deserves for its many fine restaurants and amazing seafood.
It has been named in the Top 10 Destinations for Food & Wine in Central and South America by Trip Advisor. As the largest community of tourism and travel information in the world, Trip Advisor has a wide range of views from the worlds most experienced travellers. In this sense, they were able to do a profound study and name Panama as a top destination for Food and Wine. Trip Advisor emphasized the seafood Panama as one of the great treats. They labeled seafood plates as “magnificent”, noting that the Chefs in Panama have the peculiar capacity of serving seafood dishes from the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean while still preserving amazing freshness. Additionally, Trip Advisor highlights the Panamanian “ceviche” as a delicatessen seldom seen in other regions or countries. With exquisite taste of fresh sea bass, “Corvina Ceviche” is one of the most delicious seafood dishes. This is a small plate of fish seasoned with lime juice and spices, like no other.
The stew locally called “Sancocho” is also featured in Trip Advisor. This is described as a chicken stew made from cassava and yams. They mention the Sancocho to be another incredible mouth watering dish.
The following is how Trip Advisor describes Panama:
“This multicultural city full of contrasts, with almost 1.3 million people, offers much more than the obligatory visit to the Canal. The slums are crowded with glittering towers. The old city is a maze of picturesque churches, plazas and palaces. 25 km from the city center are the National Sovereignty Park, the perfect place for hiking and birdwatching. To enjoy superb views over the canal, take a taxi or bus to Miraflores Visitor Center and do not miss naval traffic.”
Our family just enjoyed a truly sumptuous meal including our hard-to-please older kids (age 19 and 21) . Eurasia is one of our favorite Panama City restaurants. Why? First, because it’s because of the creative fusion cuisine. Eurasia fusion means a bit of Asia, a bit of Panama ( the owner is Chinese-Panamanian) and a bit of Europe- yummy.
It is hard to say which dish was better- my husband’s ginger corvina, my sour plum spare ribs, my son’s chicken malay and our daughter’s vegetarian pie. These are all unique dishes with a combination of flavors hard to find anywhere else.
Second, we love Eurasia is because of the all-you-can-eat dessert buffet. If you love dessert- this is the place. For just $7.50 you can feast on the best carrot cake in Panama a rich chocolate cake more like a dark fudge, a delicious three leches (Panama’s most exquisite dessert) plus pecan pie, flan, etc.
Third, we love Eurasia because of the decor- Eurasia has one of the best decors and ambiences in the city.
Owner Gloria Chu learned the joy of food at her own family table as a child. Her joy in giving others joy through food permeates the Eurasia experience.
Nancy Hanna, President Panamainfo.com/The Panama Planner
Euroasia is located in Bella Vista.
It is open:Monday-Friday, 12:00pm-3:00pm and 7:00pm to 10:00pm.
Saturdays, 7:00pm to 10:00pm.
I just spent the weekend staying in the new wing of Los Mandarinos mountain resort in El Valle. I came back soaked in beauty and peace.
What a perfect get away.
I loved Mandarinos deluxe new wing- it has one of the most beautiful swimming pools I have seen- with muted natural colors, intriguing shapes that embrace flowers and a spectacular mountain view as a backdrop. Owner Pedro Fabrega also has also built new facilities with families in mind, including a childrens play room, a children’s pool and a snack bar.
The handsomely appointed deluxe rooms have large picture windows that look out on the gorgeous Gaital peak with the beautiful marble floors and tiling. On the top floor there is two bedroom suite which includes a terrace jacuzzi with some of the best views in all Panama.
Another great addition to El Valle is Los Mandarinos new on-premise restaurant O’Pedros, which is Panama’s first Irish pub. It features a fine large bar in rich dark wood, tables inside and tables large wooden deck with views. ( At Mandarinos you will always find me taking in the views.) I loved the shepherds pie, club sandwich and even the hamburger was delicious.
O’Pedros Pub is open from 8am to 10pm to everyone- so if you can’t stay at Los Mandarinos, at least come here to drink or dine .
The entire resort is beautifully landscaped with expansive grounds with soft grass and a bright variety of flowers everywhere.
There is also a well appointed full service spa with an outside jacuzzi, sauna etc.
The staff is very attentive- it is exciting to see how fast the El Valle locals are learning to take care of tourists.
I talked to Anne, the capable French manager and she says they are doing very well-bookings are well up over last year. About 70% are locals and 30% are tourists. She says more and more businesses are choosing Mandarinos for conferences.
Congrats to Pedro Fabrega and the whole team at Los Mandarinos for giving Panama a superlative place to enjoy Panama’s mountain beauty.
Check it out at www.losmandarinos.com
Greenhouse specializes in delicious comfort food, cool music, a green ambience and cozy eating areas. No matter how many times I’ve been there I always find something new to like- it’s that eclectic. Think everything from homerun burgers and fries to elegant grilled salmon in a white wine or pistachio sauce. The menu also features falafels, pasta, chicken quesadillas, and as its name suggests, a delicious variety of beautiful and delightful green salads. They even have good old Panamanian sancocho (a traditional soup made from free range chicken), and it is some of the best sancocho in town. (Rivaled only by that of Meson del Prado). I just love this place.
For a first trip, I recommend the Peruvian ceviche for an appetizer and the Greenhouse Corvina, corvina with a delectable shrimp sauce. Their french fries available with the main dishes have a light batter- I can’t get enough of them.
Greenhouse has two locations in Panama City- one on Calle Uruguay (you will spot it right away as it’s the only locale with a tree growing through it right in the middle) and one on Via Argentina. Both are popular for lunch and dinner and also are very popular to enjoy some early drinks before going out to hit the clubs.
See you at Greenhouse!
La Posta is one of the most popular restaurants in Panama City and rightly so. Located in a historical home in the quaint Bella Vista section of Panama City, La Posta has modern tropical gourmet cuisine that makes it a hit with both the upscale Panamanian crowd and with visitors. A US ambassador a few years back, a woman once told me she loved La Posta so much she wanted to “live there”. Owner David Henessey hails from New York and most recently had a famous restaurant in Cartagena.
Last week I had lunch at La Posta and was delighted with some old and new dishes. To begin with THE BREAD. La Posta serves two breads. These breads- one white and one whole wheat ( one of the very few restaurants that serves a whole grain bread) are so delicious that I was almost satisfied just with the bread. I don’t know what herbs they put in the bread- very delicate- but it is now my favorite bread.
Then I had my La Posta favorite main dish which is “corvina and vegetables cooked in paper”. I have never had a dish quite like this one- the corvina ( Panama’s best fish- succulent white meat with no fishy taste) is cooked to perfection with some vegetables wrapped in a small paper bag that you open yourself once it is served. The fish is tender, the flavorings so delicate and the taste delicious. This dish is also not hard on the waistline. That leaves room for dessert and I was very happy to see La Posta had some new desserts- at my friends recommendation I tried “Helado Express” . I am a dessert fan and loved this new dessert which consisted of homemade delicate, crispy cookie biscuits with a scoop of coffee ice cream covered in a homemade chocolate sauce. I could not have been happier with this dining experience.
What are your favorite dishes at La Posta?
One of my favorite restaurants is Barrandas in the Bristol Hotel in downtown Panama City. The chef is Cuquita Arias who has been called the “Martha Stewart of Panama” and indeed she is. ( She actually took some courses from Martha.) But that description doesn’t totally do Cuquita justice. Cuquita is the member of one of Panama’s oldest and most distinguished families- her grandfather was Tomas Arias, a founding father of Panama. Her brother Raul Arias de Para is the owner of Panama’s most highly acclaimed ecolodge- Canopy Tower. Cuquita grew up loving the Panamanian dishes served in her traditional family home and has now turned these Panama dishes into haute cuisine.
Panama with its rich flor and fauna has an abundance of marvelous tropical food ingredients- fruits, vegetables and spices and a variety of seafood. . It’s cuisine is also enriched by its being a nation of immigrants- Panamanian food has the influence of many its many immigrants from the African to the French to the Chinese.
I love Cuquita’s Barrandas for several reasons. First of all, this is Panamanian gourmet food. Cuquita takes the ingredients and dishes typical to Panama and makes a nouvelle cuisine or gourmet version of them. This restaurant is a must for those who want to experience Panama cuisine at its zenith. For appetizers, I recommend the plantain wantons or the empanadas. For a main dish, try the corvina in tamarind sauce which comes with delicious rice with avocado in a yuca basket. Corvina is the best fish in Panama- sea bass in English. Corvina has no fishy taste and a succulent white meat.
For dessert-in my opinion Cuquita has the best desserts in town- I am a dessert lover but wanting to keep my girlish figure, I don’t indulge often unless it is something really worth it. At Barrandas I cannot pass up dessert- her dulce de leche cheesecake, key lime pie and baked alaska are to die for- actually all her desserts are great.
The food presentation is always beautiful. Cuquita has an exquisite sense of beauty in all she does. Another thing I love about Barrandas is the refined service and attention of the waiters and staff ( although service can be slow so this is no place to dine if you are in a hurry.)
I always say Cuquita is a national treasure- more than any other chef she has shown the world how unique and exquisite Panamanian cuisine can be.
With the Buenaventura Bristol Hotel opening in February on the Pacific Coast near Panama City , this same great Cuquita cuisine will now also be available at the beach.
Which are your favorite restaurants and why?
Nancy Hanna, President and Founder of Panamainfo.com and The Panama Planner