One of Panama City ’s old standbys has once again become a destination restaurant thanks to a recent move to flashy new digs. Casa de Mariscos (Calle Manuel María Icaza, tel. 223-7755 or 264-2644, www.lacasadelmarisco-acha.com , noon–11 p.m. daily, US$20–30) is an impressive-looking place with a polished stone facade, two-story ceilings, a plate-glass wall overlooking a small illuminated garden, and big, colorful paintings on its walls.
The restaurant is still affectionately known to regulars as Acha in honor of its Spanish owner, Ramón Martínez Acha, who founded the original Casa de Mariscos in 1965 with his wife, Claudia Vásquez de Martínez. The seafood is well-prepared and delicious. For such a stylish and modern place, the restaurant holds on to some old ways it should have ditched by now, such as a pedestrian wine list and hairnets for some of its wait staff. But it’s still a good bet for a fancy night out.