Panamá is located between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. This means, fish is your main option for lunch and dinner. Just to be clear, if you don’t like fish, then you probably will not like being in Panamá for an extended period.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s talk all things fish.
I love seafood, including fish, and my body was a bit miffed in Costa Rica because seafood was not plentiful. Even in Limón, a coastal city, seafood seemed limited.
But not here.
First, there is Mercado de Mariscos, the fresh fish market. Fishermen fish all night, and then bring their catches to the fish market, which opens at five in the morning. Right next to the market, is a restaurant (of the same name) that, of course, creates dishes from daily catches.
I only tried the restaurant’s ceviche, but Dwight and I purchased sea bass and red snapper from the market. That night, I used a simple recipe to bake the sea bass. I’ve prepared fish before, but it’s never tasted like this. I don’t know if it was psychological or what, but that sea bass was some of the best fish I’ve had. You could definitely taste the difference between it and the store-bought mahi mahi we usually buy in Florida.
The freshness wasn’t unique to the market fish. All dishes have tasted just as fresh, and quite honestly, I’d recommend every place we’ve been. But there is one place that made an impression on me from the beginning.
La Fishería is in the heart of Casco Viejo. Dwight and I ate at this restaurant the first weekend we arrived, the next weekend for my birthday, the following weekend (for drinks), and the weekend after that.
My first meal was a lightly crusted sea bass and grilled vegetables. The fish was flaky and buttery and melted in my mouth. They offer two portion sizes. I don’t remember what they were, just that I opted for the larger portion. The next day, when I re-heated my meal, it was just a delicious as the night it was prepared.
According to Dwight, he enjoyed his sauteed salmon. The lobster risotto, not so much.
COST: $100+ (including cocktails)
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