My first meal in Panama surprised me. My second meal in Panama (lunch) confirmed for me that the country was an amazing place to eat. Everyone is so passionate about the food and ingredients. We were staying at the newly opened Sofitel in Casco Viejo. Casco Viejo is the old part of the city with amazing colonial architecture. The hotel itself is amazing too, and I will review it in a separate post. I would recommend anyone visiting Panama City to spend at least one night in Casco Viejo and the rest in the newer areas of the city.
Before departing Panama City for the next leg of our Panama trip, we had lunch at the hotel’s restaurant Caleta. The interior was beautiful and we started with the suckling pig which was delicious and tender.
We also had the marinated kampachi.
Then they brought us some housemade bread and butter.
We shared a main of octopus. The octopus was just ok because for me, the benchmark is Milos, and that is a high standard to beat for octopus.
For dessert, we had the cocoa sphere and espresso. The server proudly explained to us the coffee came from Chiriqui province and also explained to us about Panamanian chocolate.
The sphere was good but I think they messed up the fire presentation as the alcohol was not on fire when poured.
Overall, the service was good and so was the food. Not every dish was a hit but the ambiance, passion and appreciation for the techniques being used, representing the many cultural influences on Panamanian cuisine, more than made up for it. I would not go out of my way to eat here but I would definitely return if I needed a convenient meal at the hotel.