Those who follow the paved road between the seafood market and the dock of Panama’s Maritime Authority will certainly make a stop in front of a row of restaurants and properties where ceviche is served, something that has turned this sleepless port around.
It’s a noisy and tourism place, picturesque and crowded. Fishermen come and go, from 4 a.m. to 6 p.m., carrying baskets with the fresh catch, so a hard-to-ignore essence wafts up in the air. Attracted by the taste of sea cuisine, some 20,000 to 25,000 visitors come to this market every month to enjoy an excellent breakfast or carry clean and fresh ingredients for their households or business.
Foreign and national visitors —the precedence is not relevant— vegetarians, Chinese or Congolese diners come in search of the shellfish salpicon, sancocho and different kinds of ceviche, prepared and served next to the sea in these inns.

A Well-Served Tabled
Every property claims to dish out the most delicious flavors and attract the highest number of patrons. With their creative names: Econo-Fish, No se fía, El Rompeolas or El Arrecife, these seafood-specialized properties make customers have ceviche and schooners of ice suds on their tables, and it’s only 10 a.m.
But most of the customers come at noon, especially on weekends. On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, cooks must be ready to quench the appetite of twice the number of diners.
Although most of the sales outlets are mobile, many people say that the most delicious sauced crab and the famous clam soup can be eaten here. It’s not only about fish or prawns, octopus, squids or shrimps. It’s the blend of all of these products what gives the seafood market this particular smell.
In late Lent, near the Holy Week, seafood gains momentum on the table of Panamanian families. Local restaurant owners and managers expect to reel in higher numbers of people at the most colorful and scented seafood spot in town. Shrimpers offer mouth-watering menus and invite onlookers to come in. Some of them don’t need much to be convinced and start tasting different dishes. There are others who come with a fried sea bass in mind.
What’s the most sought-after dish of all? All opinions point to the fried sea bass with patacones and ceviche, especially those that combine octopus, squid and shrimps. Nevertheless, fillet a lo macho, patacones stuffed with shrimp or guacho, also stand out among the main courses in Panamanian seafood.