By Chef Mario Castrellón
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."
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
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
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)."
Carretera Panamericana, Santa Clara, Panama
MORNING | BREAKFAST
"This is a Hong Kong style dim sum palace with cart service."
Carr Transístmica, Panamá, Panama
AFTERNOON | LUNCH
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
EVENING | DINNER
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
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
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
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.
Huevitos de Leche
Panamanian milk candies made from milk, sugar, salt and vanilla or cinnamon.
Before you go, read up on Panama at TripReads.com
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