For a country like Panama, surrounded by two oceans on both coasts, it is natural for the seafood market to be set up where the fishermen can take their catch directly from the sea and sell it to the public in a nearby, clean environment.
So the city authorities, with the support of the Technical Cooperation Agency of Japan and an investment of $7.8 million dollars, began construction in 1995 of a building to store all the seafood.
The building's location at the end of Balboa Avenue and the Coastal Strip, next to Old Town, attracts many locals and foreigners interested in buying fresh seafood and the famous ceviche at an excellent price. Ceviche is a traditional dish prepared from marinated raw fish, shrimp, octopus, squid, and clams, or the popular combination of all of these.
Like any seafood market, the characteristic smell of fresh fish wafts out as you approach the building. Inside are 69 stands where each vendor offers their fresh catches to shoppers. The fishermen often decorate their booths with vivid pictures or even messages dedicated to God.
On-site restaurants serve up a wide range of dishes, such as the famous paella or the traditional Guacho de Mariscos, a local version of seafood risotto. They also have fish accompanied with patacones, or fried green plantains. While you eat your meal you can enjoy a view of Panama City.
The music is pleasant, the food is succulent, the prices are inexpensive, and the customer service is good. The restaurant opens from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and the market is open daily. On the occassional days when they close for fumigation and cleaning, the building administration announces it in advance.