Puerto has many places to eat breakfast & lunch.
Below, I share our favorite breakfast place & 4 of our favorite lunch places.
Puerto’s dinner options are growing rapidly. Only a few years ago, there were only 3 options, now there are almost 20.
Most of the places where you can eat dinner in Puerto are described below.
If you want your meal delivered, order over the phone, then hire a taxi to pick it up and deliver it to you. The taxi will likely cost you about $2. Some places offer a delivery service.
NOTE: In Panama, don’t rely on a menu when ordering. Ask what is available today.
Map of Places To Eat
To see a map of Places to Eat in Puerto Armuelles, click the small map image below.
Our Favorite Breakfast Place
Although they sometimes run out of eggs, we like this place. It is a quiet spot and gets good morning light. Sometimes they have fresh – no sugar added – grapefruit juice (jugo de toronja). They also have a pretty good lunch. Keep in mind they offer 2 sizes of lunch. They will assume you want the bigger one unless you say otherwise.
Restaurante Marieth is located downtown, between Supermercado Puerto Armuelles and Iglesia de San Antonio (the church with the tall church steeple), and on the same side of the street.
4 of Our Favorite Lunch Places
About Lunch (Almerzo) in Panama. Lunch is synonymous with “comida del dia” (meal of the day). At a basic lunch place, comida del dia is all they serve. At slightly less basic restaurants (e.g., Don Carlos & Big Daddy’s below), they may not have the comida del dia on the menu, but they do offer it. You need to ask for it. A typical comida del dia in Puerto Armuelles costs around $3. It tends to cost more at the places like Don Carlos and Big Daddy’s where it is not shown on their menu.
Comida del dia is typically rice (sometimes pasta or mashed potatoes), lentils or beans, a tiny salad (lettuce + tomato slice) or coleslaw, and a serving of meat (i.e., pollo/chicken, carne/beef, puerco/pork). The meat option, esp with chicken, is often served in a guisado (sauce). Guisado is usually a tasty option to choose. Soup is sometimes offered as well. (See my article on Panama’s national dish, Sancocho, a chicken soup).
We like this place very much. It isn’t much to look at, but they serve good tipica food. We think their soups are particularly good. Also, their tiny salads can be better than most because they often include avocado and/or cucumbers. They also serve breakfast.
This outdoor “rancho” restaurant can be hard to spot. It is located in downtown Puerto Armuelles by the dolphin statue. It is kitty-corner from Supermercado Puerto Armuelles, and sits between a barbershop on one side and fruit stands on the other.
Sugar Cane Juice – a side note
There is often a juego de cana (sugar cane juice) vendor in front of Katiuska. My whole family loves juego de cana – especially con limon (with lemon). You can bring your juice to the restaurant to drink with your meal. Generally, restaurants in Panama don’t have an issue with you bringing in outside food and beverages.
Kiosco Irma Lorena
It’s corner location, across the street from both the waterfront park and gazebo park, makes for a pleasant dining experience.
Kiosco Irma Lorena has good tipica food served by friendly people. If you like lemonade, ask if they have any limonada (i.e., “Hay limonada?”). They only have it sometimes.
You can get lunch for $1.75 here. I think it is pretty good. A friend of mine thinks they serve the best pork in town. It is located just up the street from the downtown park (on the 1-way road that terminates at the statue of Colonel Armuelles.) (FYI, Rosibel #1 is on the main road near the hospital.)
Rosibel 1 & 2 are run by a friendly and active family. They help sponsor regular biking and hiking outings with the 7th Day Adventist Church. (I have a video of a hill hike I did with them behind Puerto Armuelles.)
Is a right-on-the-water bar and restaurant. Well, mostly it is a bar, but they also serve a good food. They have 2 TV’s – typically tuned into a sports channel. The vibe is different at night than during the day at Tisamar. This is also the place most likely to have live music.
Note: The food service is a quasi-separate enterprise run by 2 women. So if they are busy, the foodservice hours (see below) can change. But generally, it is available.
Tisamar is located on the edge of downtown, down the street from the police station & municipal buildings, and kitty-corner from Pension Balboa. You can order food at Tisamar from 9 am to 11 pm, M-Thurs & 9 am to 2 am, Fri – Sun.
For Dinner – (& sometimes for lunch too)
Listed By Neighborhood
I have listed Puerto Armuelles’ dinner restaurants by neighborhood.
About Restaurant Hours
In Puerto, most dinner restaurants are open 5 – 9 or 10, except on weekends when some are open later. The scheduled hours for most of the restaurants are noted below. Usually the schedule is followed, however, at times their actual hours of operation may vary. Be prepared to be flexible.
Restaurante & Pizzeria Don Carlos
(lunch & dinner)
Don Carlos is located downtown, across from the waterfront park. It serves fish (order it “a la plancha”), pizza, spaghetti, as well as typical Panamanian food. You can eat on the covered outside “porch” or inside with A/C. Some seafood dishes can be surprisingly expensive, check the price before ordering.
Alberto Carbono, the owner, is a charming English-speaking Puerto native with good stories of Puerto’s past. For a little about him and the Carlos Alberto Carbono waterfront park, go here.
Call to pre-order or for takeout: 770-7773 or 770-9773.
Open Mon & Wed – Fri 12 – 8ish. Sat – 1-9. Sun – 5 -9. Closed Tuesdays.
Restaurante y Marisqueria Don Juan
(lunch & dinner)
A good place to go to escape the heat. It has both A/C & a TV. They serve seafood, hamburgers, and more. However, the food quality varies greatly. Some days it is delicious and other times not very good. Located just down the street from Don Carlos and kitty-corner from the bus station. Open 11 am – 11 pm, 7 days a week.
Rosti Pollo (lunch & dinner)
Rosti Pollo is a fast food chain restaurant found in many places in Central America. It offers fried and roast chicken, ribs, hamburgers, hot dogs, pork chops, and more. The food is decent, but the dining atmosphere is a bit dismal.
Located on the 2-way road that ends in a T-intersection at the playground/park. Open 7 days a week.
2 Restaurants in old Super Jen building (lunch & dinner)
There are a couple of places in the old Super Yen building to get coffee, snacks, pizza, fried chicken, ice cream, and other foods. The food is okay. The chicken from the American Fried Chicken place is heavy on cumin and can be very greasy. Both places are popular with the student crowd.
It is across the street from Colegio de San Antonio (K-12 school) and next to Andrea’s Internet café (which is also the best place in Puerto to use a computer, get copies, and buy office supplies). It is open until 7:30 – 8 pm most nights.
Magic Pizza (lunch & dinner)
They offer pizza, of course, as well as tacos, hamburgers, grilled chicken, steak, ice cream, fruit smoothies, and duros. All pizza orders come with a complimentary soda or ice tea. They also have free wi-fi for their customers. Seating is outside. Located kitty-corner from the bus station serving the fincas, which is on the short side road between the police station and the main road (see map). Open: 10am-10pm. Phone: 770-8094, 6765-8990.
Carmen Neighborhood (adjacent to Downtown)
Restaurante Buen Sabor (AKA, “The Grilled Chicken Place”)
Their menu is simple: pollo asado (roast chicken) with your choice of papa fritas (french fries), patacones (fried plantains), or steamed yucca. Plus chuletas (pork chops), hamburgers & ice cream.
It is 1 block from the downtown playground & 1⁄2 blk from the water. From the main road to San Vicente, turn left at the yellow-fronted MELO y CIA store. It is on the right.
Open most nights after 6 pm. Occasionally, they will be closed for a week or weeks at a time. A good place to eat, but be ready to change your plans if they are closed. Tel: 6821-8249 or 6468-2855.
Ibiza Bar/Restaurant – (pronounced “Ee-BEE-tha”)
This popular and rustic restaurant/bar is located picturesquely along the seawall. It offers fish, pork, chicken & ceviche served with either papas or patacones.
It is not easy to find since it is not on a main, or paved, road. Discover it by strolling along the seawall in Carmen (it’s near San Vicente) or navigate along Carmen’s beach-fronting roads. (Its Google Map plus code is 747Q+Q7 Puerto Armuelles). It is also marked on our map, located near the top of this page. Opens Thurs – Sunday at 3 pm. Tel: 6221-3806.
San Vicente Neighborhood (adjacent to Carmen)
San Vicente now has 3 enjoyable beachfront eateries in close proximity of each other. (These restaurants are also near some of our beachfront properties for sale).
Big Daddy’s Beach Club & Hotel
(breakfast, lunch & dinner)
Big Daddy’s is on the beach. Its inside dining area has A/C and faces the hotel’s pool. Outside it has dining by the beach and by the pool. It is about a 5-minute walk from downtown.
Big Daddy offers mixed drinks and wine, in addition to the usual beer selection. You can order burgers, salads, shrimp dishes, fried chicken, pizza, and more. They also offer breakfast, American or Panamanian, until 10 am. (American: fruit, scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, coffee, and juice. Panamanian: fruit, fried eggs, flank steak, 1 hojaldras (Panamanian fried bread), 1 tortilla (fried cornmeal patty), coffee and juice.) You can also order breakfast a la carte.
Every Friday, Big Daddy’s offers a special course for dinner. It is almost always very tasty, but significantly more expensive than its usual fare. An informal gathering of expats happens most Friday evenings (~5 -8 pm) to enjoy the evening’s special. (Check out Big Daddy’s hotel accommodations.). Tel: 6413-6242, 770-0989
Las Juanas (lunch & dinner)
Las Juanas is right next door to Big Daddy’s. It is in a beachfront rancho. Go down the driveway to the left of the green house (pictured) to enter the rancho. We really enjoy the on-the-beach ambience of this place.
They serve seafood, chicken and other typical Panama foods. They have a chalkboard displayed with the day’s selection. I think they make the best limonada (lemonade) in town. We like to order, then take a stroll on the beach while the food is prepared.
A word of caution, its seafood can sometimes be surprisingly expensive. So make sure to ask, or check out the prices on the chalkboard. If you want to keep costs down, ask for their comida del dia. It is inexpensive and tasty, though usually only available at lunch. Open 7 days a week for lunch & dinner. Phone: 6921-4536.
Rokero Beach (lunch and dinner)
Rokero serves seafood, including ceviche and sopa de marisco, as well as the usual chicken, pork, french fries, and more. A meal costs from about $4 to $12. It has a bar that serves non-alcoholic drinks such as coconut juice and soda, as well as wine, beer. They have a trampoline too. ($1 for 20 minutes of bouncing). There is usually an informal expat get-together here on Sunday afternoons.
Hours vary, usually open on weekends. Tel: 6590-0071.
San Jose Neighborhood
This Chinese restaurant is on the main road. It offers hambao, siumai, chow mien & chow fan with chicken, pork, shrimp, calamari, seafood, or, upon request, vegetables, and typical Panamanian fare. including roasted chicken & soup.
It is open erratically, to not at all these days. I will give it another month to see if they are open on a regular basis before deleting it from this list. Tel: 6366-6111.
Los Angeles Neighborhood
Ari BBQ – now serves breakfast too
Ari BBQ is an open-air, family restaurant operated out of an old Chiquita Banana-built house. It offers BBQ chicken, sausages, beef, pork chops, beef sandwich, French fries and more. That is, lots of meat, but no veggies. It is on the main road, near ESPA (the big school across from the fairgrounds.
I wrote a review of Ari BBQ, which includes its menu. Since that time, they have added a breakfast menu.
Open 7 days a week starting at 5pm-ish. Call to order or for a delivery: 6802-2163.
Yes, the US pizza chain Dominos. You can eat under a tent at the restaurant. They deliver for free.
You can check out their menu online at, dominospanama.com. At this time, the online ordering option does not work.
Dominos is located off the main road in a trailer at the fairgrounds, which is across the street from ESPA. Open 7 days a week.
Rio Mar Neighborhood
Pilo’s makes a very good filette (flank steak), which they marinate in papaya juice. They also offer pizza, lasagna, tacos, and other dishes. It is on a residential street not far from Enrique (below). It has no sign.
If you call, they will make your food to go. At least they have for us. Otherwise, after many years of consistent service, they don’t seem to be open for business anymore. Stay tuned. Phone: 6875-2100
Restaurante Enrique (lunch & dinner)
Enrique is a Chinese restaurant. But I wouldn’t necessarily recommend its Chinese food. We think its best items are sopa de marisco (seafood soup) and fried chicken. It has A/C & TV.
Enrique’s is on the main road as you enter town, by the big traffic circle. Open 7 days a week. Tel: 770-7793.
Restaurante El Pulpo (lunch & dinner)
El Pulpo is a seafood restaurant in the waterfront area of the Rio Mar neighborhood. It is 1 block back from the water, on the same road as the one-lane bridge connecting Downtown/Pueblo Nuevo and Rio Mar.
It has very tasty seafood. Read our review of Restaurante El Pulpo for more. (Sidenote: There is a pool hall above it, open starting 3 pm most days.)
Open 7 days a week, noon – 11pm. Phone: 6855-7104
Corozon de Oro (between Pez de Oro & Corazon de Jesus Neighborhoods)
El Rancho – (lunch on weekends)
The sign says El Rancho. But the locals call it Restaurante Luz, because Luz owns it. It is on the road to the Corazon de Jesus neighborhood. It is run by a wonderful family & their staff. It is very popular. On Sundays, it can get quite crowded. It is the place to eat seafood in Puerto Armuelles.
Closed Mondays. Open Tues – Sat: 3 – 11pm and Sun at 12-8pm.
Restaurante Hermanas Bustos –(lunch on weekends)
Located just down the street from El Rancho. They serve the usual Panamanian food. The food is good and is served pretty promptly.
Open M-F: 2ish-10pm, Sat & Sun: 11 – 11pm