Restaurante Los Cañones (about six kilometers before Portobelo , tel. 448-2980, 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 8 a.m.–10 p.m. Sat.–Sun., under US$10) is a charming little open-air place on a small bay. Looking out at the Caribbean, it’s easy to imagine Sir Francis Drake’s ships gliding past on the way to a sneak attack. Seafood is the specialty at this popular place. The food is good. Try the pulpo en leche de coco (octopus in coconut milk).
A little farther down the road is Restaurante Las Anclas (tel. 448-2102, 10 a.m.–8 p.m. daily, US$8), at the Coco Plum Eco-Lodge . It’s a cute place entirely decorated with detritus recovered from the sea, including sewing machines, the wheel of a boat, wheelbarrow parts, gas containers, and so on. Seafood is again the specialty here. The chef is Colombian, so be sure to order the enormous, Colombian-style patacones (fried green plantains).
Restaurante La Torre (tel. 448-2039, 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Mon.–Fri., 7:30 a.m.–7 p.m. Sat.–Sun., under US$10) is a cute little open-air restaurant just beyond Restaurante Las Anclas. It’s easy to spot because of the stone tower that gives the place its name. Again, seafood is its main thing, though I’ve had better luck with Los Cañones and Las Anclas. The service is friendly and courteous. There’s an illustrated capsule history of Portobelo, in Spanish and English, along one of the wooden walls.
A new open-air Italian restaurant opened in the middle of nowhere about a 10-minute drive east of Portobelo  on the road to Nombre de Dios . Don Quixote Pizzeria (cell 6682-6103, 8 a.m.–9 p.m. Fri.–Sun.). They were just beginning to bake their fresh bread and pizza when I passed through, and the smells were fantastic. Only open on the weekends, it’s almost certainly the best restaurant on the coast.