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Food Tour of Casco Viejo

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Susan, a senior business development representative at Transat, is an experienced traveller who was happy to spend the day in the Casco Viejo area, Spanish for “Old Quarter,” to discover Panamanian foods. Along with being a UNESCO World Heritage site, the historic district of Panama City is the perfect combination of old and modern, with its cobblestone streets, colourful colonial buildings in the process of being restored, realistic street art, third-wave coffeeshops, traditional food joints and high-end restaurants. “Even though this is my third time in Panama City, I’m looking forward to wandering the narrow streets of Casco Viejo again.”

Food Tour Casco Viejo
Photo credits : Air Transat

Take in a street corner Fonda

Fondas are Panamanian eateries where patrons can choose from a selection of prepared meats (usually chicken, pork and fish) and sides (steamed rice, fried plantains, and beans) and where fares are inexpensive (approx. $5 USD). Scattered across the city, they are often family-owned, and this reflects directly on the food – big plates that could easily feed two. Fondas get so crowded with locals at lunchtime, you might enjoy one’s company at the table. If you get hungry and are in the mood for some great rice and Pinto beans, “Fonda Leon in the heart of Casco Viejo is the place, they have it down pat! Their take on the one-pot Panamanian go-to has just enough spiciness for the right amount of kick.”


Food tour Casco Viejo
Photo credits : Air Transat

Sip on a local coffee

Panama is a rising star in the world of coffee, and Casco Viejo is definitely a proud supporter of its local beans. If you have a sweet tooth and need an afternoon pick-me-up, the Tropical Chocolate Café is a must. Susan cozied-up in their red velvet chairs and sampled some passion fruit, plantain and pineapple chocolates made on the very premises with a frothy latte. “Panamanian coffee is rich and full-bodied, and they always serve it with warm milk, my favourite.” The café also offers chocolate-making demonstrations during which you’ll learn about the different production stages.

Food Tour Casco Viejo
Photo credits : Air Transat

Hang around for dinner

“Casco Viejo after dusk is a completely new experience,” says Susan. “The cobblestone streets are busy with people heading out for a night on the town, buildings turn on their string lights – offering a whole new perspective on their colonial architecture – and families gather outdoors for some live music fun.” If you’re in the mood to indulge in a gourmet snack, Susan recommends the mid-century inspired American Trade Hotel. This newly refurbished property has revived the area with its soft tones, vintage tiles, and large menu selection that offers a modern take on Panamanian favourites. It is worth a visit even if you’re not spending the night. “I highly recommend the seabass ceviche with sweet fried plantain. I could tell it was cooked from the heart.”

Cover photo credits : Air Transat

The comments and contributions expressed are assumed only by the author. The recommendations, intentions or opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Transat AT Inc. or its affiliates. See terms of use of the Air Transat website.

The comments and contributions expressed are assumed only by the author. The recommendations, intentions or opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Transat AT Inc. or its affiliates. See terms of use of the Air Transat website.

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