Restaurante Mercado del Marisco (Avenida Balboa, tel. 377-0379, 11 A.M.–6 P.M. daily, closed the first Monday of each month, US$8–11) is just upstairs from the city fish market, which is at the west end of Avenida Balboa.
It boasts that it has the “best and freshest fish and seafood in Panama,” and one would hope so, given its downstairs neighbor. (The fish market is modern and fairly clean, so you shouldn’t have to worry too much about a fishy smell wafting upstairs, at least if you come for an early lunch.)
It’s reasonably priced and offerings include ceviche, seafood soup, corvina, jumbo shrimp, and octopus in garlic sauce. The ceviche is particularly popular. If you don’t see anything on the menu you like, buy your own fish downstairs and have it cooked here.
The restaurant is a spartan place with little atmosphere, but there’s a partial view of the bay and the Panama City skyline. The waitstaff is friendly and speaks a little English. Since the area is a bit rough, it’s best to come here at lunch. Come early or late, as this place fills up.
© William Friar from Moon Panama, 3rd Edition