Best Casco Viejo Panama Food & Nightlife

2 Traveling Lovers

Casco Viejo or Casco Antiguo in the “Old Quarter” is one of the most charismatic areas of Panama City, with its historical colonial buildings, quaint brick streets, beautiful architecture, boutiques, top-notch dining and rich history you will want to experience what is now one of the best areas of Panama City.  First a little history on Casco Viejo before showing you the best Casco Viejo Panama Food & Nightlife hotspots.

A Bit of History on Casco Viejo

Casco Viejo was not always considered the hippest place to hang out in Panama City, not long ago it was overrun by gangs, violence, and drugs. The gang members were squatting in the old American Trade building which was built when the United States was in control of the Panama Canal.  

A man by the name of K.C. Hardin bought the American Trade building and rather than attempt to drive the gang members out of the building he decided to include them in his vision to make his hotel the most sought after and expensive hotel in Panama City. He offered the gang members jobs to help renovate the building, along with assistance in starting small businesses in the area.

Coffee Shops

Bajareque is one of the best places to try the famous Panamanian Geisha coffee. Geisha coffee is the most expensive coffee in the world, and it seems there’s only a handful of coffee shops that serve this sought after treat. I wrote a blog post where I go more in-depth regarding Geisha coffee you may want to check out if you are planning to visit northern Panama or specifically Boquete Panama.  Click here read the post & watch the video.

Benissimo serves specialty coffees, ice cream, breakfast and lunch items.

Cafe Unido is another place you can get your Geisha coffee fix, breakfast or lunch.

Ceviche, Deli & a Rum Bar

Restaurants & Bars

The Local Fish Market

Mercado de Mariscos is an outdoor covered fish market which has approximately 40 separate “restaurants” trying to entice you to eat at their place. When you enter the gated area, you will be approached by someone from each stall trying to convince you to eat at their establishment.  We walked through until near the end, and we chose Econo Fish. It was good; although, it was most likely similar to the other places. All of the eateries serve ceviche for $1 or $2; most will give you a couple free beers and ceviche with an entree order.

Super Gourmet has great deli foods, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, empanadas, coffees, desserts, wine, and beer. It’s a great place to drop in for a quick bite at reasonable prices. They have items for sale like coffees, olive oil, jams, and jellies to name a few.

Nomada Eatery serves breakfast, lunch, and brunch on the weekends until 4 pm. They have indoor and outdoor tables in a nice atmosphere just down the street from the ocean.

Pedro Mandingo is Panama’s first rum craft distillery which is cultivated on a family run farm in Chiriqui. Their happy hour is from opening until 7 pm daily. They have a great cocktail happy hour drink menu with many of their signature cocktails priced at $5, and their draft beer is $3. Make sure you sit at the bar so you can watch the bartender make the drinks, he takes great pride in making each drink with the precision of a true drink mixologist. We tried the Mojito Mandinga and the El Canal Buck, both were tasty. Also, we shared a taste of each of their four Pedro Mandingo rum flavors. The spiced rum and the Geisha coffee liqueur were our favorites.

Rooftop Bars & Nightlife

Tantalo Hotel Rooftop Bar has one of the best sunsets in Casco Viejo. This rooftop bar overlooks the sea and Casco Viejo rooftops and the view is absolutely breathtaking.

Restaurante Calicanto Trattoria is a small restaurant which serves excellent Italian food. We tried the Dolomite pizza with prosciutto, and it was delicious. The restaurant was so good we came back twice!

Gatto Blanco Party Hotel is a chic hotel with a panoramic view of the ocean and Casco Viejo from the rooftop. You can have a drink while enjoying the spectacular view and then stay to enjoy the electronic club music into the evening. It is one of the hottest clubs in the Casco Viejo area.  La Rana Dorado is an upscale British style pub with a great happy hour from 4 pm to 6 pm. They have craft beers, draft beers, yummy food, and music.

Casa Casco has three restaurants, a 4th-floor club area, and a rooftop bar. The three restaurants serve International/Panamanian, Asian, and Fusion Mediterranean. The view is fantastic from the rooftop, be sure to have a drink and enjoy the sunset view.

Chupitos 507 is a nightclub known for their great reasonably priced creative shots (chupitos). If you’re out late and you feel like dancing and drinking shots this is your place! It sounds like a fun and wild end to a night.

A night out in Panama & Casco Viejo

Considering Panama City and Casco Viejo were 2 of our favorite places in Panama we thought we would do a video on the Best Casco Viejo Panama Food & Nightlife

Casco Viejo

Paseo Las Bovedas is an excellent place along the water to shop for inexpensive souvenirs from the local vendors.

Capital Bistro Panama is right on the water and their specialty drink is an Aperol Spritz. If you are visiting Casco Viejo during dusk make sure you go to for great pictures or Instagram shots because of the lighting and the backdrop it’s spectacular.

More 2 Traveling Lovers Article & Video links from Panama:

We spent a month traveling throughout Panama.  If you’re interested in visiting the area, we hope you will find our articles and videos helpful.  All of our posts have a video included, and we have new videos on our YouTube channel. Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel too so you won’t miss a video.

Below are a few articles and videos from our stay in Panama:

12 Best Tips You Need To Know Before You Visit Panama

The Ultimate Travel Guide – Boquete Panama

10 Best Things To Do – Bocas Del Toro

Bocas del Toro – Couples Getaway Series

Cost Of Living For A Couple In Panama

Accommodations

These are towns in Panama we have traveled to and we recommend staying in these areas based upon our personal experience.  Click on the town to be referred to the booking.com link to each city.

Bocas del Toro

Boquete

Panama City

 

Closing Words

 I hope we gave you a few ideas for your trip to Panama City. We stayed in three areas of Panama City; however, if I had it to do over I would stay in Casco Viejo. It was our favorite area of Panama City. We loved walking around the narrow brick streets while admiring the magnificent architecture. It was like stepping back in time, and it reminded me of the French Quarter of New Orleans.

A few other recommendations while in Panama City include; walking along the coast on Avenida Balboa which ends at the fish market Mercado de Mariscos, and the Panama Canal at Miraflores Locks Visitor Center. When we visited Miraflores Locks Visitor Center we didn’t get to see a ship go through the canal; although, it was fascinating and worth the visit. If you aren’t able to visit the Miraflores Center, there’s a Panama museum in Casco Viejo which has tons of information and definitely worth a visit.

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