Hands down, Balboa Avenue has the best dining scene in the city. And the options are literally endless. Choose between a dizzying array of world-class restaurants overlooking the Pacific, local diner-like haunts favored by the political elite, or the famous Mercado de Mariscos, where local fishermen unload their wares at dawn and serve up the freshest octopus ceviche to those in the know.
For a post-workout health fix or vegan and gluten-free options, check out Hip Cuisine, or Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, which has excellent coffee and great horchatas and brunch options, both inside Balboa Boutiques. If you’re in the mood for a fresh ceviche, octopus or lobster, the famous Mercado de Mariscos fish market is an easy stroll down the Cinta Costera. Buy a paper cup filled with shrimp, octopus, corvina or black conch ceviche for $1.50 (and pair it with a cold beer for $1.25).
To eat in style, head to Segundo Muelle (Peruvian cuisine), which has gorgeous views over the Pacific and Balboa Avenue and is a perfect spot for a special occasion. The various ceviches or the tacu tanque (stuffed smoked salmon and sweet banana covered with seafood gratin) and pisco sour are the best in the city, and finish it with a passion-fruit crunch for dessert.
Cabana inside the Yoo Tower has a gorgeous terrace opening up to views over the bay, and exquisite Italian-inspired cuisine (try the various carpaccios or tuna tartare) and a full wine cellar.
The famous Boulevard Balboa is a local diner-like favorite, with great lunch specials and a delicious seafood stew and the best Cuban sandwich in town. Da Stefano Trattoria is a home away from home for many Italian expats and Cafe Mar for sushis and cocktails is always a fun option, especially on Saturdays for karaoke.
And since it’s Balboa Ave, the malls are always an obvious bet. The food courts and restaurants in the malls can be surprisingly good, especially in Multiplaza, where Leños y Carbón Gourmet (Panamanian fare), Tacontento (Mexican) & Tony Roma’s (ribs, seafood and steaks) are some of our top picks for pre-movie nights.
This article is part of our Ultimate Guide To Living And Investing On Balboa Avenue.