Restaurants

Top Choice Panamanian in Playa Venao

Panga

When chef Andres Morataya left award-winning Manolo Caracol and the hubbub of Panama City for Playa Venao, he opened this most inventive restaurant. The idea is to use products often discarded – deep-fried snapper g…
Top Choice Fusion in Chitré

Mare Bonita

A recent migrant from Pedasí (its loss), this tapas bar and restaurant is considered by many to be the best restaurant in Chitré and it certainly is the most inventive. The Madrid-trained chef keeps the menu in a st…
Top Choice Italian in Pedasí

Segreto

Pedasí's best (some might stop there) Italian restaurant is set in what feels like a glassed-in conservatory. There are more complex secondi (main courses) with usually three meat and three fish dishes, but most com…
Top Choice Parrilla in Chitré

Salsa y Carbon

This open-air Colombian BBQ house grills some of the best steak and ribs in the region. Meat and chicken are exceptionally tender and served with salad and arepas (maize flatbread). The covered outside seating catch…
International in Playa Venao

El Sitio Restaurant

This is an excellent choice for sunset dining or just drinks on Playa Venao. Open-air El Sitio offers sesame-crusted tuna and a host of Asian-inspired dishes such as pad thai noodles with octopus, Thai crepes and ch…
International in Las Tablas

El Caserón

This pink hacienda-like restaurant has a large covered terrace that is a delight on a warm evening. The emphasis here is on seafood and grills, but the pizzas (from US$4.25 to US$5.50) can also be recommended. It's …
Panamanian in La Arena

Restaurante El Mirador

Atop a hill in La Arena below the TV tower, El Mirador is a popular spot where visitors from around Panama congregate to take in the views of the city and the surrounding plains. The food is standard at best, but th…
Panamanian in Pedasí

Fonda Mama Fefa

Matriarch of Creole cooking, Mama Fefa usually runs out of lunch by noon (though you can linger longer). Cheap and cheerful, these huge comidas típicas (regional specialties) include meat or fish, rice, salad and a …
Cafe in Pedasí

Bakery

Known for exquisite breakfasts (US$4 to US$6.50) with homemade wheat or sourdough bread and organic coffee, this Israeli-run Pedasí institution does a brisk business. In addition to breakfasts, you can order sandwic…
American in Pedasí

Restaurante Smiley's

Catering largely to expats, this friendly bar-restaurant serves up grilled fish, ribs and deli sandwiches (US$5 to US$7.50), including minced BBQ pork. There's also good live music on Tuesday and Friday nights, spor…