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Panama City: El Santuario and 1739 are Worth a Trip of Their Own

Panama City: El Santuario and 1739 are Worth a Trip of Their Own

Perhaps surprisingly, two of Panama City’s most exciting restaurants are tucked away at the luxurious five star Hotel La Compañia.

When booking a hotel stay, one might not expect the in-house restaurants to be worth a trip of their own. However, Hotel La Compañia’s offerings prove this assumption wrong.

Situated in the heart of Casco Antiguo, also known as Casco Viejo, Hotel La Compañia is a regal heritage building that underwent almost eight years of renovation. It opened its doors to guests in April 2022 and is now a unique centerpiece of the blossoming historic 17th-century district, which is also a UNESCO Cultural Heritage Site.

The property occupies an entire city block, and it features three distinctive wings that have been fully restored to their charming grandeur of the past, corresponding faithfully to their respective Spanish, French, and American Beaux-Arts eras. Moreover, the hotel has a gorgeous courtyard nestled in its interior that’s great for hosting weddings or any elaborate celebration. However what’s also exciting about this relatively new hotel in Panama City is its exceptional culinary offerings at not one but two restaurants, which have become so popular that even locals are making recurring reservations.

El Santuario

Walking into the restaurant, you will be impressed by the architecture, it boasts a Spanish church ambiance, complete with beautiful stone archways and large windows that allow natural light to flood in. In the evenings, the courtyard is adorned with twinkling fairy lights, creating a rather magical atmosphere.

El Santuario - Hotel La Compañia
El Santuario – Hotel La Compañia


Shrimp dish - Hotel La Compañia
Shrimp – Hotel La Compañia

In addition to the stunning ambiance that is sure to impress you when you walk in. What makes it a must-visit place is its menu curated by Executive Chef Luis Artigas, which features international cuisine. You can relish not only authentic Panamanian dishes but also dishes that showcase flavors from Asian, Spanish, Middle Eastern, and Indian cuisines. The menu includes several standout dishes such as Babaghanosh, Carimanolas, and Serrano Octopus, all of which are true to Latin-American cuisine. Ajillo Prawns and Seafood Paella, influenced by Spanish culture, are also available. Additionally, Asian-inspired Spicy Tuna Tartare should not be remised. Chef Artigas promises that the food is so good that it will make you loosen your tie, and based on personal experience, he isn’t wrong. You can also enjoy specialty cocktails like the passionfruit-infused margarita, which are equally delicious.


While El Santuario sits in the middle of upscale and casual, 1739, is an upscale dining experience with French influence. Located in the primary French Colonial wing of the hotel the restaurant has an impressive 1800-bottle cellar and is named after the original construction date of the building. As you step inside, you’ll be greeted with black and white photographs of renowned Panamanian artists, athletes, musicians, and personalities. The hotel’s premier establishment, the restaurant situated inside a chapel of the University of San Xavier, standing adjacent to the ruins of the Jesuit church from the same era.

1739 - Hotel La Compañia
1739 – Hotel La Compañia


Steak dish - Hotel La Compañia
Hotel La Compañia

The restaurant’s high, intricate ceilings and walls perfectly embody the nostalgic feeling of years gone by. Inside, you’ll find La Cava, with a collection of over 1,800 bottles and may have sensation of going back in time, through the centuries of history and culture. For any Beauty and the Beast fans the interior is very reminiscent of the opulent architecture at the castle, with the intricate dimly lit candles illuminating an evening of wine tasting of some of best selections from Latin America like Mexico’s Monte Xanic Sauvignon Blanc 2022 as well as Uruguay’s Garzon Red Blend. Wines from Europe, North America and other parts of the world are also available.

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As for the menu highlights include Smoked rack of lamb served on beetroot hummus, crispy chickpeas and carrots. And Grouper served in a creamy tomato-based sauce inspired by the iconic bouillabaisse soup, accompanied by prawns calamari and mussels.

Hotel La Compañia


Av. A Calle 8, Panamá, Provincia de Panamá, Panama

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