Updated: March 9, 2020
Puerto has many places to eat breakfast & lunch.
Below, I share our favorite breakfast place & 2 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 about 5 times that many.
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.
2 of Our Favorite Lunch Places
One reason these 2 are our favorites is their location: on or in view of the ocean. There are other places to eat lunch at the water (Ibiza, Big Daddy, Las Juanas), however, since they also offer dinner they are listed in the dinner section.
There are many lunch places in Puerto. After eating at them, you may disagree with my list and have your own. I’d love to hear which are your favorite Puerto 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).
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.
Is a right-on-the-water bar and restaurant. Well, mostly it is a bar, but they also serve 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. I prefer the daytime vibe. 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 food service 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 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.
Liuris – Dolce Peccato (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner)
Recently, the owner of our long-time favorite lunch restaurant, Katiuska, retired. She is now renting her outdoor eating space and restaurant to Liuris. When I ate there my meal of the day included a broccoli and carrots salad prepared as if it were a potato salad. I have never had something like that served to me in Panama. It was small, but tasty.
Otherwise they offer the usual menu choices, although more roasted/grilled meats rather than meat served with a sauce (eg, Guisado) than is the norm. The emphasis on roasting makes sense since they call themselves a restaurante & parrillada. Open 7 days a week: 7am to 10pm. Call 6275-0516 to order food.
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.
A food truck and ranchito offering hamburgers (beef & chicken) hot dogs, fries and more. Located near downtown, between Supermercado Puerto Armuelles and Romeros. Open Tues – Sat: 5:30 – 10pm. Tel: 6316-5392.
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 in Carmen. 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. Thankfully, they now have a few signs to mark the way. Keep an eye out for their signs along the main roads in Carmen. An enjoyable way to find it is by strolling along the seawall. (Note: Its location in Carmen is marked on our map, above. Also, its Google Map plus code is 747Q+Q7 Puerto Armuelles.) Open 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 once a week. Hours vary, usually open on weekends. Tel: 6590-0071.
Los Angeles Neighborhood
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 has no sign. Not far from Enriques (below). They only operate as a catering business now. But, if you call, they will usually make you food to go. And of course you can request catering too. They make a good filette (flank steak). Tel: 6952-9898 or 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
Corazon 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