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Avoiding tourist traps in Panama City

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I'm going to Panama City in February and would like to avoid tourist traps at all cost. I'm looking for suggestions for budget to mid-priced restaurants with excellent quality/price ratio. It seems ALL tourists are going to same places. On all sites I see the same suggestions over and over again (ex: Manolo Caracol, Las Clementinas, Maito, etc). Is it because they are truly the best or because people just follow people? Surely Panama City has other excellent restaurants worth a detour?

For lunch, I prefer simple meals. From what I read, the fish market is the best place for ceviche. What about the best place for empenadas?

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  1. I have not discovered a great food scene in PC, and there are plenty of gorgeous restaurants with nobody home (in the kitchen.) I like the two big mideastern restaurants, Beruit and Habibi. Gaucho's has excellent steaks. And Manolo Caracol would be a standout anywhere.