The restaurant scene in Casco Antiguo, Panama represents some of the finest and most innovative cuisine in the entire country. From shee-shee prefix menus to simple outdoor cafes, there is something for almost everyone behind these walls.
Where else in Panama can you sit beneath hundred year old stone walls or beside historically-preserved monuments? Where can you go out for a night of theater and a glass tangy ocean-side sangria? The emerging restaurant scene in Casco Antiguo, though already firmly established, is making hefty strides in the nation’s culinary marketplace.
Casco Antiguo is not for everyone. The preconstruction condos in the city and sprawling beach resorts on the Pacific Coast are for the masses. If you’re looking for everyday vacation–the kind of place that might exist on just about any tropical coast–then this may not be the place for you.
But think about quaint plazas in Europe? Think about beautifully-aged balconies and droopy bougainvilleas. Think about Cuba, think about Cartagena, think about New Orleans (minus the girls gone wild).
Casco Antiguo might be Panama’s most unique nook: a neighborhood with almost no middle-of-the-road travel characteristics left in its tank. This is a place for romantic travelers and investors to whom the twinkle of all-inclusive resorts, and the sheen of loft high rises is anything but extraordinary.
Get on a double-decker tour bus if you want. Eat at the tourist restaurants and shop in the tourist malls: the same places you’ve been vacations year after year. Those who find their way to Casco Antiguo though, are ones who will not forget.