Pedasí, a charming beach town is about a four-and-a-half-hour drive from Panama City. It offers plenty of breathtaking beaches, great surf, and a laid-back vibe that isn’t always available in the capital. Not to mention — great food!
There are plenty of local joints that serve up delicious Panamanian fare, but that’s not all. A popular spot with expats, there are plenty of entrepreneurs who have brought a slice of their home culture with them and have started their own restaurants in Pedasí. So chances are, no matter what you’re in the mood for, you won’t be disappointed. So here are a few of our favorite spots to eat in the area. Enjoy!
Coucou Crazy is easily one of the most crowd-pleasing spots in all of Pedasí. Anyone who’s been here once will want to come back time and time again. Built out of an old cargo container, this cozy little spot serves up homemade Belgian pastries, quiches, fresh roasted and locally sourced coffees, and amazing craft beers. Despite this range of offerings, EVERYTHING is wonderful. Many will claim this is their favorite coffee in Pedasí, and the craft brewing is far from an amateur operation.
Dennis, the owner, is Belgian and puts a lot of love and care into every aspect of his operation. He’s always up for a chat and knows all about Pedasí. He’ll even let you enjoy the company of Ginger, his adorable dog who steals the show. Located on the way to Bull Beach, follow the surfboard sign pointing to the left. You can even rent surfboards or bikes from this charming local establishment.
La Casa de la Abuela
Sitting down for lunch or dinner at La Casa de la Abuela is a special joy that you certainly can’t get back in Panama City. For anyone who’s ever traveled around Mexico, this little spot will have you swearing you’re dining at an ‘abuela’s fonda’ on the outskirts of a small town. The restaurant is located just outside of the town of Limon inside the residential subdivision “Los Gavilanes” and is just a five-minute drive from Pedasí.
Look for the cute house with a red tiled roof and get ready to be served up traditional Mexican recipes at very affordable prices. The staff is exceptionally kind and all of the food is homemade. Whether it’s tacos, tostadas, or enchiladas that whet your appetite, it’s all here and all delicious. Wash your spicy meal down with their always ice-cold beers and you’ve got yourself a perfect lunch. Andale!
Situated on a corner (hence the name) one block south and once block east of the Pedasí town square, you will find a small restaurant that serves up what I would vote to be the ‘Best Bacon Cheeseburger in Panama’.’ And in case you were unaware, I know a thing or two about burgers. Apart from their cheeseburger offerings, this cozy restaurant also serves up a small but satisfying menu of fish, meats and salads. All of the food is cooked to order and is perfectly prepared every time.
Apart from the great food offerings, the ambiance at The Corner is perfect for spending a Pedasí evening out or grabbing a drink and food with friends. The vibe is very laid back, the waiters are kind and knowledgeable, and with a full bar available, what’s not to love?
Who would have thought you could get top-notch Neapolitan-style pizza in a quaint Panamanian beach town? Well thanks to Victor and the staff at Bohemia, you can every Thursday through Tuesday from 5 pm to 10 pm. Delectable thin-crust pizzas are topped with traditional toppings and fresh herbs (grown on the restaurant’s back patio) and served for a never-ending stream of hungry customers.
Apart from pizza there are also steaming hot plates of pasta and a number of delectable desserts to choose from. Victor, the owner, is almost always around and eager to chat with customers. Located on the main street of Pedasí, Bohemia has a fierce local following and never disappoints. It’s the perfect place to load up on some tasty carbs for the beach the next day.
Ristorante Italiano Segreto
Se avete lasciato Pedasí e non avete mangiato al Segreto, fate inversione immediatamente per vedere se hanno un tiramisù per voi. The food is so good at Segreto that by some mysterious culinary osmosis you may start speaking Italian. What I said was “If you leave Pedasí without eating at Segreto, turn the car around right now and come back, there may still be a tiramisu left for you.” And we’re talking homemade tiramisu. Home. Made. Like I said, you’ll want to turn that car around.
Where Bohemia excels in pizza, Segreto takes the cake for the best pastas in Pedasí (and in all of Latin America in the opinion of many patrons). Whether you opt for creamy carbonara or white clam sauce, you won’t be disappointed with any of the phenomenal pasta options. The wait staff and owner are all charming and attentive, and they even offer a great selection of European beers that you’d be hard pressed to find elsewhere. Did I mention the tiramisu?
Smiley’s Restaurant is a Pedasí staple for consistently delicious food. With a diverse menu of both American and Panamanian dishes, there’s something for everyone here. Many would agree they serve up the best barbecue ribs (smoked on site) on this side of the Río Grande. All of the fresh fish and seafood tastes as if it came straight from the hook to your plate. Additionally, they serve up hearty portions of chicken, steaks, salads, ceviche, and more. The diverse menu will keep you coming back.
Smiley’s also features live music every Tuesday and Friday evening, with some of Pedasí’s and Panama’s most talented musicians. Needless to say, if you’re in Pedasí, Smiley’s is a must-visit destination.
Terry’s Los Destiladeros
Terry’s might just be one of the best kept secrets in all of Panama. This adorable French and Panamanian fusion restaurant is located just steps from the beach in Los Destiladeros, and yet feels like a world away. Enjoy a delectable lunch under the trees on the back patio, and you might as well think you’re in the French countryside (albeit a bit more tropical).
The ambiance is perfect and the food doesn’t come up short either. The menu isn’t large, but this speaks to the fact that all of the ingredients are fresh. Whether you opt for seafood, meat, or even something vegetarian you’ll find the flavors and preparation are exquisite. The staff is friendly and accommodating to special orders and the overall experience is one you won’t want to miss. Open daily from 12 pm to 9 pm, this may easily be one of the best lunches or dinners you can get just a short stroll from the beach.
If you’re looking for heaping plates of traditional Panamanian fare that won’t break the bank, look no further than El Chichemito. A long-time Pedasí favorite, El Chichemito serves up plates of fresh-fried fish, barbecue chicken, steak, or pork with sides of fried yucca, fried plantains, pasta salad, rice, and beans. You can easily get a meal that will fill you up for the rest of the day for less than US $5. They also have delicious fresh fruit juices and smoothies and ice cream cones for US $0.75 (or one dollar for a double). Located just one block west of the big, colorful “Pedasí” sign on Main Street, this is the perfect place for a filling lunch before heading right back to the beach.
Next door to El Chichemito is another great spot for delicious cheap eats in a no-frills environment. Mama Fefa’s is a traditional Panamanian fonda that serves up simple home-cooked Panamanian fare. In traditional fonda style, Mama Fefa is only open for breakfast and lunch. It’s recommended to arrive before 12:30 pm or the food may (read will) run out.
Tia Libia Bakery
Not technically a restaurant but Tia Libia is Pedasí’s best sit-down bakery, by far! At Tia Libia they serve up excellent, fresh-baked breads and pastries, delicious coffees, and a great ambiance. Whether it’s the chocolate croissants, the French baguette, or just a simple loaf of bread, everything is impeccably baked in house. It’s a lovely spot to enjoy a tasty treat and a hot cup of coffee or to pick up fresh bread to have at home. Located in their new location across Main Street from the “Pedasi” sign, this is a weekly staple for anyone who knows Pedasí well.