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Esencias Panameñas Catering | Authentic Panamanian Cuisine



Esencias Panameñas will provide a unique combination of authentic Panamanian cuisine with a Latin Caribbean flair, at value pricing.


"Culantro is a tropical perennial in the Apiaceae family that is widely used as a seasoning in many of our dishes. It is native to Central and South America and not well known in the United States..."
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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

Esencias Panameñas Catering is like no other typical Latin cuisine catering. We provide a unique combination of authentic Panamanian food with a Caribbean flair at value pricing. 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


"Thank you Chef Yadira for such delicious tamales and rosca. We enjoyed them very much!

Best wishes for the year to come!!"

Winter Garden, FL


"Very happy with my order. The empanadas and carimañolas were delicious and took me back to Panama. The Ron abuelo cake was amazing! I will definitely be ordering again, especially when my mother is able to come and visit again."

Upper Marlboro, MD


"Llegó!!! Y está delicioso! Se partió un poco pero lo meto en la refi y queda como nuevo! Muchas gracias!,"

Plantation, FL


"Me encanto todo!
La verdad he estado muy melancolica por no poder ir a Panama en el 2020 y el poder probar un poquito de los sabores de mi tierra me ha alegrado mucho. Estaremos en contacto para las fiestas de fin de año 🙂
Muchas gracias"

Annandale, VA


"Dear Chef Yadira,

On behalf of the DC Professional Chapter of Engineers Without Borders, I want to express our thanks to you for your efforts in making our Panama In Adams Morgan Night a success. A lot of people commented to me about how good was the food. Thanks also for drawing in some participation from your own network.
Please advise me and the chapter when you open at a new location"

Darrell T.
Washington, DC


"Prompt and very reasonably priced catering service. Everything we ordered was excellent - in particular the chicken with capers and olives and the plantains!"

Kathy O.
Washington, DC


"Excellent Food!!! Great Service!! In love with Panamanian food!! So Delicious!!!"

Elfy A.


"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


"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


"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


"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


"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