The Los Santos region of Panama is about as old-school Panama as you can get, though the area sees enough tourists for Carnival that you can get by with pigeon Spanish. But going past Las Tablas, the center of the region, to Le Peninsula de Azuero, will get you to some of the most beautiful and remote beach front you may ever witness. There’s a hotel with a restaurant in the area, and it’s all right, but go past it, further south down the main road, past the “maybe it’s open maybe it’s not” ocean-front pizza place to the open-air blue and tin-roofed building perched up at the top of the hill. Your beer will be in a bottle, and your food will be on a paper plate. There isn’t much selection from the old menu, which is posted with plastic letters on an old, yellowed Pepsi board, and there isn’t much to go on for beverages other than Coke, beer, and water, but the fish, oh the fish. The fish comes right out of the ocean, probably brought up from the boat a few hours before the restaurant opens – which, in Panama time, means there is no set time, just show up and somebody’ll come out and make you something. There will be soggy french fries or crackers to chose from for your bread, because you’ll need the carbs to make up for the amount of omega-3s you’re putting in your belly – the fish is fried (battered to a golden yellow, delicious, but watch for bones) or chopped into quadrants of ceviche. The wonder that is fresh raw fish, marinated in lemon and lime and god’s own grandeur, is unbeatable. You can grab a picnic table under the tin roof and listen to animated conversations from the locals, who are friendly and won’t judge you if you go back for seconds – the beer, fish, and bread will run you about $3 a round – as well as watch the local feral cats fight over your handouts (not advised). Or, put your feet up and watch the happenings below on the beach, your whole body and being smiling from the simplicity that is fresh fish, a beer, and good company while overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Filed under: Central America, Great Eats, Latin America | Tagged: atmosphere, beach, beer, bread, Carnival, cats, cheap, Coke, crackers, french fries, fresh fish, great eat, Las Tablas, Latin America, Le Peninsula de Azuero, Los Santos, Pacific Ocean, Panama, picnic table | Leave a Comment »