Photo Credit: Roger Schultz [flickr]

Photo Credit: Roger Schultz [flickr]

By Chef Mario Castrellón 

Panama is a country with lots of different influences and products to create a diverse Panamanian cuisine.
— Chef Mario Castrellón on Maito
Photograph courtesy of Maito

Photograph courtesy of Maito

Chef Mario Castrellón's Restaurants

Panamanian chef Mario Castrellón studied in Barcelona before returning to his home country and opening three restaurants: Maito, Humo, and Café Unido. "All of my spaces are meant to represent a piece of Panama and their influences."

Photograph courtesy of Maito

Photograph courtesy of Maito

Maito

This is chef Mario Castrellón’s flagship restaurant featuring a menu that incorporates many herbs and vegetables from his own 1,000 square foot organic garden.

"We emphasize a more global concept, referring to all of the influences in Panama going back to the Spaniards' conquest to the construction of the Panama Canal and present  time."

Calle 50, Panamá, Panama
T: +507.6060.0668 | 
www.maitopanama.com

Photographs courtesy of Humo

Photographs courtesy of Humo

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BBQ | Humo

Chef Mario Castrellón brings American-style barbecue to Panama. His spin is using local ingredients.

"This is the barbecue tradition led by the USA when they lived here, but everything is made with our Panamanian flavors."

Calle 70 Este, Panamá, Panama
T: +507.203.7313 | 
www.humopanama.com

Photographs couresty of Cafe Unido

Photographs couresty of Cafe Unido

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Café Unido

Castrellón is a partner is this small batch coffee boutique with several locations. The coffee they roast is 100% Panamanian.

"Unido is about glorifying our fine coffee from Chiriqui, a province in western Panama and Costa Rica bordering the Pacific Ocean."

Le Mare, Planta Baja, Panama
T: +507.399.2408 | More locations on website


 FAVORITE LOCAL SECRET

Restaurante Los Camisones

Located on the Pan-American Highway, this rustic roadside restaurant has been serving nearby beach and mountain crowds for decades.

"Order the langostinos a la sal (prawns with salt)."

Open 24-hours
Carretera Panamericana, Santa Clara, Panama
T: +507.993.3622


MORNING | BREAKFAST 

Lung Fung

"This is a Hong Kong style dim sum palace with cart service."

Carr Transístmica, Panamá, Panama
T:+507.260.4011


AFTERNOON | LUNCH 

Photograph courtesy of Donde Ivan

Photograph courtesy of Donde Ivan

Donde Ivan

Sit outside in plastic chairs under a tin rood and enjoy Afro-Antillean Panamanian cuisine from chef Ivan. 

"Order any of their stews; they are always good."

Rio Abajo, Vereda Afroantillana
T: +507.224.9221

Vladimer Shioshvili [flickr]

Vladimer Shioshvili [flickr]

EVENING | DINNER

Photographs courtesy of El Trapiche

Photographs courtesy of El Trapiche

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 CLASSIC PANAMANIAN | El Trapiche

They have been serving classic Panamanian cuisine in a low-key setting since 1983. You'll find dishes like ropa vieja (stewed beef with vegetables), arroz con pollo (chicken and rice), gallo pinto (beans, rice and pigtail casserole), and seafood cooked a la plancha.

"For classic Panamanian cuisine, I love this restaurant. Their tail is really good."

Vía Argentina, Panamá, Panama
T: :+507.269.4353 | eltrapicherestaurante.com

Photographs courtesy of Donde Jose

Photographs courtesy of Donde Jose

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MODERN PANAMANIAN | Donde Jose

Chef Jose Carles cooks New Panamanian cuisine at his 16-seat restaurant. There are two seatings a night and his nine-course tasting menu is served to each guest simultaneously.

"Definitely order the tasting menu."

1100 Av Central, Panamá, Panama
T: :+507.262.1682 | www.dondejose.com


LATE NIGHT

Restaurante Costa Azul | Photo Credit: F Delventhal [flickr]

Restaurante Costa Azul | Photo Credit: F Delventhal [flickr]

Restaurante Costa Azul

Open 24-hours, locals come late night for one of their forty plus emparedados (sandwiches) Cubano or bistec a la criolla.

"Order the club sandwich."

Calle Ricardo Arias, Panamá, Panama
T: +507.269.0409


PANAMANIAN SOUVENIRS

Photographs courtesy of Ron Abuelo

Photographs courtesy of Ron Abuelo

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Ron Abuelo Rum

Don José Varela Blanco moved to Panama from Spain and established the country’s first sugar mill. In 1936, Ron Abuelo began producing rum from their sugar cane juice. You can visit their distillery in Pesé, Panama.

www.ronabuelopanama.com

Huevitos de Leche

Panamanian milk candies made from milk, sugar, salt and vanilla or cinnamon.


Panama Reads

Before you go, read up on Panama at TripReads.com


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