There are many great restaurant choices in both Casco Viejo and in the newer neighborhoods of Panama City. Our recommendations include:
Las Clementinas: Las Clementinas is a small boutique hotel in Casco Viejo with private gardens and an attractive restaurant. I had dinner in the dining room on my first night in town and loved my sea bass ceviche and a sea bass entrée with mango sauce, basmati rice, coconut, cashews and eggplant. What a lovely experience! Calle 11 y Avenida B.
Ego Y Narciso: Located in Casco Viejo, this is a sleek contemporary tapas restaurant with outdoor seating in Plaza Bolivar across the street. It has a good selection of ceviches, salads, seafood and other entrees and tapas. The arugula salad with figs and Camembert cheese and a tasty tuna steak on a bed of tomatoes, eggplant and zucchini were really excellent. It is on Plaza bolivar y Calle 3.
Veggie Moon: One of my best meals in Panama City. I had a wonderful lunch in this very elegant but contemporary setting. The tomato and shrimp salad and seafood risotto with squid ink were really excellent and perfectly prepared. It is located in Calle Primera Paseo de las Bovedas.
Diablicos: Colorful cafe and restaurant featuring Panamanian specialties. On certain nights they feature a show. The menu was quite extensive and I enjoyed the patacones which were plantains stuffed with seafood and the coconut flan. The guacho or fish stew was just okay. I would recommend ordering something else.
Casa Sucre Coffee House: Across from the Tantalo is Casa Sucre. This is an eclectic space with good coffee drinks. I enjoyed meeting the owners, Alyce and Rich Sherman, who are from Kansas City. Make sure to stop in while exploring Casco Viejo!
For more coffee, stop in at Bajareque Coffee House and Roastery on Calle 1. They do their roasting on site.
Rene Cafe: At the suggestion of the owners at Casa Sucre, I tried Rene Cafe for a really fun lunch. It is a small restaurant with an exposed kitchen to the right of the entrance. You can have a fixed price lunch for around $8.50 which includes a nice green salad, Spanish tortilla or omelette, a choice of fish, chicken or pork with a large bowl of rice, plus a great crepe for dessert. I thought the service was excellent and loved the atmosphere and the food. Calle Oedri J. Sossa, across from the Catedral.
Granclement Gourmet Ice Creams and Sorbets: Don’t miss this spot for great ice cream and sorbet. Though I tried the homemade rum raisin, the coconut was the best in my opinion!! I had to go back twice!!
Vieja Havana: Old world atmosphere for great mojitos and Cuban music. It is at Avenida B and Calle 5.
Market Restaurant: I had lunch at Market Restaurant. It is located on Calle 48, near the intersection of Calle Uruguay in Bella Vista. The atmosphere is very contemporary and attractive. The food was basic and good but not as good as some of the other places I went to in Casco Viejo. I had the seabass with a tomato salad.
Other suggestions from locals include Grapes Restaurant and Bar Calle 8, Segundo Muelle for Peruvian food at Calle Crisantemos 16 and Calle 68 in the San Francisco neighborhood, and La Posta near Calle Uruguay.