Vincent’s Recommended Eats in Bocas del Toro, Panama

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"Vincent’s Recommended Eats in Bocas del Toro, Panama".

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Vincent’s Recommended Eats in Bocas del Toro, Panama

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Where to eat in Bocas del Toro? Considering the size of our beach town there are loads of amazing eateries.

Last week one of our Spanish students wrote this list with his own 8 favorite Bocas' restaurants and asked us to share it here. This is only one man's opinion so if you don't feel tempted by what you find here, don't despair: Bocas has lots of other options in the form of Thai, Italian, Indian, French, Mediterranean and many, many more... ¡buen provecho!

8. Up In The Hill

If you want some sugar that is more natural, take a water taxi ride to Bastimentos Island, hike 20 minutes and have a seat at Up In The Hill Coffee Shop and Organic Farm (they also have a couple of really cute cabins completely off the grid).

I tried their natural brownie and it was worth the trip (and the sweaty hike in the jungle's rainforest). Let’s just say it’s not overloaded with sugar and unknown ingredients. I also tried the natural lemonade to keep my thirst in check. They have coffee, of course, but I’m not going to pass up on a brownie and lemonade. The brownie and lemonade are $3 each.

Badoo
Up in the Hill's famous organic brownie (made with cacao, coconut oil and other secret ingredients grown on site)

If you do the hike, try to look for red frogs in the vegetation. They are tiny and difficult to spot, make sure to look under the leaves. I didn't see any sloths but other travelers that I met at the coffee shop did.

Little red frog outside the café.

A photo posted by @upinthehill on

7. Pin Up

Sign at Pin Up Ice Cream Shop in Bocas del Toro
Makes perfect sense to me!

I have a weakness for sweetness and chocolate is my favorite. I actually find people that choose vanilla over chocolate a little creepy. But something sweet and cold is a must for Bocas’ scorching sun, and Pin Up in Bocas Town does the job. They serve meals, but they are better known for their gelato. They have Nutella flavored gelato which is to die for (well in Bocas it’s to melt for). A scoop on a waffle cup is $2.50.

Ice Cream in Bocas del Toro at Pin Up
A creamy gelato on a hot Bocas' day... ¡qué rico!

6. Toro Loco

I needed to watch basketball’s Toronto Raptors in the playoffs, so I headed to Toro Loco sports bar in Bocas Town. They have cable for a wide range of sports including NASCAR (not sure why people would watch this anyways). They serve a pretty mean blue-cheese burger with coleslaw on the side, but they messed up on the bun. It tasted stale rather than toasted. How a restaurant screws up on a hamburger bun puzzles me.

Blue-cheese hambuger at Toro Loco
Almost perfect...

I did have to make a second trip to Toro Loco and had a pulled pork sandwich and the bun this time was good.

But I really think they are more famous for their hot sauce. I’m not sure if it is homemade or not, because it comes in a non-labeled bottle, but it’s one of the best hot sauces I’ve tasted. I’m the Sri Lankan guy that dowses food with hot sauce.

5. Bibi's

Located on Carenero Island, this restaurant has a clear 180 degree view of the Caribbean Sea without all the boats and man-made structures. I tried the Caribbean fish sandwich with fries and it didn’t disappoint. Bibi’s also serves a decent size ceviche with plantain instead of tortillas. Budget for $12 for food and a non-alcoholic drink.

4. Capitán Caribe

One of the best restaurants in Bocas Town, Capitan Caribe serves burritos with chicken curry, fish burgers, and ceviche. A little bit pricey as a decent dish is about $8. They have awesome smoothies with fresh fruits which cost about $3.50. Their Alegria smoothie is squeezed with watermelon, lemon, and pineapple. This place is a must-try in Bocas. Many of my friends raved about this restaurant. The downside is they are only open Wednesdays to Sundays (at least the owner seems to know what's important in life).

Capitan Caribe's famous Fish Burger
Capitan Caribe's famous Fish Burger

Chicken Curry Burrito

Freshly made smoothies

3. Tom's

Grab a dish with Creole chicken or beef, rice, beans, and potatoes for only $5 here. Tom’s is a backpack friendly restaurant that in Bocas Town and serves large portions, so empty stomachs are not on the menu. If you want a drink, then you should budget for about $8 including tip. There are more expensive dishes with fish fillet, but that’ll rack up the total price over $10. I don’t recommend their $5 ceviche: it was small and didn’t taste fresh.

2. Raw Fusion

Sushi Raw in Bocas Town serves fresh and has an ambient, low-light atmosphere. The fish are fresh sushi (of course it has to be fresh) and caught nearby. The restaurant is pricey where the total price with sake can easily run you $15 to $20. It’s best to go during happy hour which is 3 to 5 p.m. Don’t get me wrong, it was hell fudging delicious.

Sushi in Bocas del Toro, Panama

1. Taco Surf

Now my favorite restaurant in the Caribbean, Taco Surf has a ridiculously damn-taste-good steak burrito made with guacamole, onions, peppers, rice, pico de gallo, beans, house salsa, and whatever other ingredients they are hiding. I think my Mexican friends would agree. The fact that Taco Surf serves their hot sauces from Corona bottles puts a smile on my face. I made an air pocket in my burrito and filled it with the hot sauce. They have mild sauce, but that’s for wimps. Budget for around $8 for a burrito. When I was there, they offered 2 Coronas (filled with beer, not hot sauce) for $5. It’s located in front of the central park in Bocas Town.

Taco Surf hot sauce and steak burrito

I hope you enjoyed my list of favorite restaurants in Bocas. The three dishes that you definitely have to try are the steak burrito at Taco Surf, chicken curry burrito (with extra sour cream) at Capitán Caribe, and the brownie in Up In The Hill.

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Search our blog if you're visiting Panama! From must do's, where to party or eat, to which beaches and hiking trails you shouldn't miss, you'll find great insider info about Bocas del Toro, Panama City and Boquete, as well as Panamanian culture, customs and traditions, and certainly tips and advice for learning Spanish while in our country! We've been writing about all things Panama for over 10 years and nothing beats local knowledge from the locals themselves.


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