Panama City, Panama for a 12 hour layover..food /nightlife rec's?
I'm looking for dining and nightlife recommendations for Panama City. Will be there with my boyfriend for only 12 hours. It will be our first time in the city - and in Panama - though we have both traveled and lived in South and Central America extensively.
Dinner/ drinks only - as we fly in late afternoon from the DR, and fly out early the next morning. It will be a Sunday night, which I know can sometimes be slow for nightlife. We love ceviche, and know there's lots to be had there. Up for anything really.
Planning on staying in the city - looking to splurge on a hotel since we are only there 1 night. If anyone knows a great place to stay, please let me know!!
Hopefully you haven't made your trip yet... Just got back from Panama City myself and have a couple of recommendations. Off Calle Uruguay, right downtown, there's a restaurant called La Posta and it really was great. It's an upscale restaurant with mains under about $23 utilizing mostly local ingredients. The service was very good and it feels like a special occasion kind of place. You might want to make a reservation. We had a delicious appetizer -- "Octopus 3 Ways" which was an octopus "charcuterie", octopus "chicharron" and tender grilled octopus. I had bacon-wrapped huge prawns with a delicious salad, pretty simple but really good. My husband had a great trout dish. Desserts were good -- warm orange chocolate cake and an awesome tres leches cake.
Calle Uruguay is home to other restaurants, bars and clubs also. Most of the upscale hotels are in the area too so it would be convenient for you (don't have a recommendation for one of those though).
Do not miss Beirut, a Lebanese restaurant in Bella Vista....absolutley the best Lebanese food I have ever had, extremley excellent service, which is rare in Panama, and a very festive atmoshphere..a huge patio...a mixed feast for two was 48 bucks...probably a dozen or so mixed Mezzes with fresh out of the oven, puffed up pitas...then they clear that away and bring out the kabaobs,lamb chicken and beef with rice and green salad... one could also order ala carte if one would care to....Also not to be missed is the Cheviche vendors inside the Mariscos Market near Casco Viego....cups of impeccably fresh Ceviche are one dollar...El Trapiche on Via Argentina is probably the best for traditional Panamanian food...a little heavy but a good nieghborhood to walk around with tons of choices..Have fun..
Hotel wise the Marriot is accross the street from Beirut and is quite nice for that Chain...never stayed there but people tell me the Bristol is very nice on the more boutique end...