A trip to Panama isn't complete without a visit to Casco Viejo, the historic area of Panama City, Panama. During our trip, the area was under going major construction. Every corner we turned, there were buildings being torn down, rebuilt or refaced. Disregarding our cab driver's recommendation to go later, we headed to the area right around noon, the hottest and most humid time of the day.
The surprising thing about the area was the number of armed guards protecting certain side streets and directing tourist traffic. There was a mix of government buildings, apartments, "hole in the wall" eateries and high end bars and restaurants. After a few hours of walking around and hitting the popular historic sights, we ended up in Plaza Bolivar. The outdoor seating in front of Casa Blanca caught our attention and we decided to escape the heat by having a late lunch inside the air conditioned restaurant.
We started our meal with shrimp ceviche served with mangos and cucumbers. It was the tangiest ceviche I've ever tasted. The lime juice was so sour, my face puckered up with every bite, but the flavor was so clean and vibrant, I kept going back for more.
Chicken in chimichurri sauce
The chicken fillet was covered in a tasty kalamata olive sauce. The chicken was surprisingly moist and the chimichurri added a nice balance of saltiness, tanginess and brightness. The dish came with a side of fries that were perfectly cooked.
Catch of the day - whole red snapper
When the whole red snapper arrived, I was in heaven. The fish was perfectly seasoned and fried to perfection. The meat was fresh and moist. I devoured the entire fish from head to tail it was that good. This was one of the best dishes I had in Panama. If you like to get down with your fish like I do, this is a must order and worth every penny!
Casa Blanca was a great escape from the heat and the hustle and bustle outside. It is on the pricier side compared to some other options in Casco Viejo, but worth the money. If you're touring the area and need a good place to eat, I'd highly recommend Casa Blanca.
Plaza Bolivar Calle 4
Hotel Colombia building