Panama City’s 5 Best-Kept Secret Eats

October 24, 2014
Urban Adventures

Panama City is vibrant, exciting, and filled with tasty food. Street food seekers will want to hit up the stands known as fondas, which serve up cheap, authentic Panamanian dishes, while fine diners can flock to bistros, cafés, and restaurants boasting everything from fresh seafood to gourmet international dishes.

Here are five recommendations for serious foodies. Some of them might take a bit of hunting to find, but we promise they’re totally worth the search.

BBQ Man near Plaza Bolivar

Every day at noon, a white tent appears on Third Street across from the Teatro Nacional, and local workers line up in anticipation of the day’s barbecued meat. Take your pick of chuleta (chop), pechuga (breast), or muslo (thigh) with whatever the sides of the day happen to be (normally rice and a salad) and a plantain.

Arepa Cart on Via España

A parking lot on Via España just past Via Argentina turns into a hub of activity every evening around 7pm. Vans and carts appear seemingly out of nowhere and grills get fired up. The last cart serves up Venezuelan arepas — tasty flatbread sandwiches stuffed with carne (meat), chicharrón (pork rinds), pollo (chicken), and three different types of sauces. Order an empanada while you wait for your arepa and make sure to add a little bit of the salsa!

5 Secret Eats in Panama City

VIP Fonda

This stand sells all the usual Latin American foods, but their batidos — blended ice, fruit, and milk — are the star of the show. The tangy maracuyá (passion fruit) and melón are a few favourites but the flavours vary with the season.

Sabor de la India

Located in Bella Vista, Sabor de India serves up a combination of new world and classic Indian dishes. Be sure to order the butter chicken!

Mojitos sin Mojitos

Mojitos sin Mojitos is a favourite locals’ bar located in Casco Viejo. Their burgers are hands-down the best in all of Panama — grilled up in front of your eyes and best when consumed on their open-air patio with a cold beer.