Esencias Panameñas Restaurant & Catering | Authentic Panamanian Cuisine

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Esencias Panameñas, unlike a typical Latin cuisine with a Caribbean flair restaurant, will provide a unique combination of authentic Panamanian food at value pricing with a fun and entertaining atmosphere.

Blog

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Awards

Best of D.C. 2018 - WINNER
Best of D.C. 2017 - WINNER
Best of D.C. 2016 – RUNNER UP
"Best Latin American Restaurant"
Washington City Paper

About Us

At Esencias Panameñas Restaurant & Catering, unlike a typical Latin cuisine restaurant, we provide a unique combination of authentic Panamanian food with a Caribbean flair at value pricing with a fun and entertaining atmosphere. Chef Yadira is a native from Panama and she pays tribute to her place of birth through traditional dishes made with staple food products, such as Corvina fish, which she imports from Panama, hominy corn, coconut, culantro (not cilantro) and rice.

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Location & Events

Panama is a paradise of many places of tourist interest, with a rich and varied gastronomy. Please look at our Tricos y Trucos blog, we update weekly.

Stay up to date with Panama Holidays and Esencias Panamenas Events.

What Our Customers Say

10/10/2017

"This place blew me away! My boyfriend and I stopped in on a Monday night for a celebratory dinner and the owner of the restaurant took such good care of us. She gave us recommendations and even advised us to split one of the main dishes because it came with enough food to share. The carimañolas are a must-have and the Plato Típico came with a little of everything. We finished off the evening with the rum cake (sooo tasty) and she threw in some coconut balls for us to try as well. Let me tell you that everything we tried made us stop mid-conversation in order to savor the flavor of each dish."

Lilly C.
Washington, DC

1/25/2018

"Great experience/ food/ drinks/ service from Sia/ environment/ clean restaurant is always a plus and hey everyone why not try something different? Give it a try here I highly recommend it I'm definitely coming back to try new food menu items."

Miguel P.
Hyattsville, MD

4/17/2017

"The arroz con pollo presentation and taste was original, carrimanolas were unique accompanied with a tamarindo sauce that blended the beef flavors just right. The (Corbina) became my favorite, always juicy, not grease neither falling apart. My daughter top it off with a special Caribbean Juice and I had plain water wanting to enjoy every bite. Owner and Waiter were both Fancy and Friendly : No place like this in South Texas.......going back home now, but will be bragging about this place for years to come......this place is "fancy and food is fresh", check it out, I think you will like it too."

Gilberto G.
San Antonio, TX

8/30/2016

"I love this place! My family is from Panama and Panamanian food is my favorite, and I'm so glad we now have an authentic restaurant in DC. I've gone twice now, and have been satisfied both times. The food is tasty - I love the tamales -- taste just like they are supposed to; fried chicken is to die for - very moist; patacones, yucca, and carrimanolas are fried to perfection...and I'll be back for more! The owner is extremely friendly. I will definitely visit regularly."

Monique B.
Washington, DC

3/13/2016

"Had the pleasure of trying this place for this first time today and I'm so glad we did! My family is 100% Panamanian so when we heard that Esencias opened, we were very excited. Side note, this is and has been the only authentic Panamanian restaurant in the area for years. We were not disappointed, the food tasted like it came right out of my mom's kitchen and that is not easy to accomplish. Everything was superb, from the fresh baked ojaldres to the pollo served with arroz con guandu. Freshness from beginning to end. We WILL be back soon."

Liselle T.
Centreville, VA