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6 Amazing Places to Eat in Casco Viejo, Panama City

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Planning a long-weekend getaway? Sure, you could go to the Berkshires (again), but why not think tropical? With easy direct flights from Boston Logan (thanks Copa airlines!) and no time change, Panama City is the perfect place to sneak off for a few days of romance, fun, or excitement. 

Panama City is on the verge of Officially Being a Thing - you know, that hip place that suddenly everyone's going, or talking about at cocktail parties. A big reason for that is the revitalization of the old city - Casco Viejo. Smaller than Cartagena's old city, and less touristy, Casco Viejo manages to feel historical and sleepy, and young and edgy, all at once. In the area of just a few blocks, you can find museums, breathtaking historical churches and smart boutiques, all nestled in between locals sitting on their stoops, or children playing football in the street. And the food...the food. I never ate so much octopus! There are so many restaurants in Casco Viejo, it's kind of overwhelming. Here's a rundown of the places you simply must visit: 


Start your day at Casa Sucre Coffeehouse, located in a renovated colonial home with a beautiful range of coffees, pastries and the most delightful tamales wrapped in banana leaves. The staff is ultra friendly, and you can pick up some killer coffees to take back as gifts. They also offer apartments for rent, if you are looking for something authentico. We liked this place so much, we went there every morning we were in Casco Viejo! Casa Sucre, Calle 8a Este & Avenida B


If you really want to eat like a local, head down to the Mercado de Mariscos. Stall after stall of local ceviches and grilled and fried fishes await. It's especially fun on a Sunday afternoon, when the place is bumping with local families and friends, all clamoring for a seat at their favorite stall. But don't worry - if you can't commit, you can easily wander from place to place and try them all. It's also a great spot to pick up some extremely fresh fish if you feel like cooking! Mercado de Mariscos, Avenida Balboa & Calle Eloy Alfaro

Tapas y Cócteles:

For a casual vibe, and a simply unparalleled view of the new city, pull up an ocean-side, outdoor bar stool at Capital Bistro. A menu standout includes octopus and pork belly skewers, and the cocktails are creative and refreshing. With chill techno music playing and champagne popping, this is a great place for your very first evening in town. Capital Bistro Panama, Calle 9a Este & Avenida Eloy Alfaro

If you are looking for a more old-school feel, hit Danilo's Jazz Club or the Lobby Cafe and Bar at the American Trade Hotel. With gorgeous, colonial-meets-modern decor, live music (think: a harpist playing "Wrecking Ball"), and outstanding food, the American Trade is a bit of an oasis in Casco Viejo, if for no other reason that its refreshing air conditioning! Of course, you can book rooms here, as well. American Trade Hotel Panama, Plaza Herrera


Picture this: a food truck hidden in the shell of an old building, decorated with twinkling lights and lush plants, serving some of the freshest seafood in town. Sound good? Then get thee to The Fish Market, a California-meets-Panama food truck conveniently located right down the street from the American Trade Hotel. (Really, anything in Casco Viejo is, at most, a ten minute walk). I had the octopus and some simply stunning grilled tuna, as well as some powerful cocktails. This place does casual right. The Fish Market, Avenida B between Calle 8a and 9a Este

On the other end of the spectrum is the lovely Las Clementinas. Ensconced in a historical hacienda, the bistro offers an inventive sharing plate menu (that included the best ceviche we had on the trip). The interior harkens back to the 1930's, and the beautiful garden feels lavish and private. We saw plenty of locals there enjoying their Saturday night, and while the price is higher than some Casco locations, you can easily have dinner, drinks and an appetizer for ~$70 US. Las Clementinas also offers one bedroom suites for those wishing to stay. Las Clementinas, Avenida B and Calle 11 Este

See more outfits from Bocas del Toro, Panama here and Panama City here and here

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Also, on an totally unrelated note, can we talk for a moment about how darn good my hair looks? Yep, I'm saying it, because it's true. Thanks to the fantastic Mia at G2O Salon and Spa, who gave me the perfect post-summer / pre-vacation cut and color. Not only is G2O ultra relaxing (hello, quiet room where you relax while the color is in your hair), but the stylists really listen and endeavor to give you the best cut for your lifestyle - in my case, easy, wash-and-go waves and volume, and a low- maintenance balayage highlights. With a friendly atmosphere (no salon snobs here!) and convenient location on Newbury Street in Boston, G2O is a perfect place to pick up a new winter cut, or to simply treat yourself. Check it out, and be sure to send me photos of your new look!

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  11. Clarence9/28/2023

    In Casco Viejo, Panama City, culinary delights await at every corner. From charming cafes to exquisite restaurants, it's a gastronomic haven. Why VPN Is Indulge in local flavors or savor international cuisine amidst colonial architecture and sea views.