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Panamanian Cuisine

Haute Cuisine, Native Inspired
Panamanian Cuisine
Panamanian cuisine is more surprising than you might expect. Beyond the incredible seafood, get ready for dim sum breakfasts, chef-driven menus that artfully use local produce and vernacular recipes, and a range of sustainably produced local coffees.
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    Haute Cuisine, Native Inspired
    Haute Cuisine, Native Inspired
    Panama’s fanciest tables pay homage to the nation’s indigenous people. Restaurants like Mercao, Maito, Intimo, Donde José, and Riesen have gained international attention for their use of local herbs, regional ingredients, and recipes that date back to the days before the canal brought the world’s flavors to Panama.
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    Worldly Eating
    Worldly Eating
    Panama’s culinary offering is a faithful reflection of the nation’s cosmopolitan culture and history. Two major examples for “local” comforts are dim sum breakfasts and chombo cuisine, with its delicious African influences. A walk past Vía Argentina’s mosaic of global dining rooms leaves no doubt that Panama is a crossroads of the world.
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    Seafood Favorites
    Seafood Favorites
    Fish and seafood take a starring role in Panama. Must-do classics—served with no frills save the absolute luxury of freshness—include the Cinta Costera Fish Market and Sabores del Chorrillo.
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    On the Sweet Side
    On the Sweet Side
    Few pleasures can equal slurping an ice cream or a raspao (a cone of shaved ice flavored with fruit syrup) as you stroll the Cinta Costera promenade. For the truly sybaritic, two of the most sought-after sweets are the lime brownies at Cuquita Cookita or the classic mamallena that chef Hernán Correa reinterprets at Riesen using an ice cream made from 12-year-old rum.
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    Highland Coffee
    Highland Coffee
    Wherever you go in Panama City, there’s likely to be a Café Unido nearby. The coffee shop’s worth a stop—all beans come from sustainable farms and get the royal treatment when it comes to roasting and brewing.
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    Tried and True: Panamanian Fried Foods
    Tried and True: Panamanian Fried Foods
    The Panamanians love food deep-fried, breaded, and battered. (And frankly, who doesn’t?) Some of the most irresistible indulgences are on offer at El Trapiche (order a bandeja panameña platter for a sampling of many of the kitchen’s fried delights). At Sabores del Chorrillo, a veritable homage to the local passion for fried fish, diners enjoy the crispy fare while seated at tables beside the water on the Cinta Costera.