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Local Cuisines and Best restaurants in Panama
Seafood is often the dish of the day in a visit to a Panamanian restaurant, where you can find cuisine from around the globe. The name Panama literally means ‘abundance of fish’, so it should be no surprise that the locals pride themselves on serving up the best in fresh seafood straight from the boat.
Panama is also well-known for its production of fine cuts of beef, although it can sometimes prove tough to find a locally sourced meat among the imports from America. Main dishes in Panama are typically around $17 at a top-end restaurant, and a customary tip of at least 10 per cent is expected by the hosts.
Panama City has a wide variety of fine dining establishments to choose from, where you want to eat local food or fancy an international flavour to your meal. La Posta is a great place to combine the two, with a blend of Panamanian flavours mixed with Latin American and European cuisine at one of Panama City’s favourite dining experiences. The inside has the classic Caribbean feel, with ceiling fans, cane chairs, colourful tile floors, and potted palms. Tuck into a freshly made mojito, then sit down for a dish of fresh seafood, top-end beef, or organic pork and chicken prepared with surprising twists.
Also worth checking out in Downtown Panama City is Market, but give it a miss if you are vegetarian. This is strictly for the meat lovers among you, serving up prime beef all day long. Meat is sourced locally and purely organic, and while most of the dishes are very American and probably a novelty for the visiting Panamanian, but at least you are guaranteed quality at Market. Make sure you reserved a table at weekend, when the place gets packed out because it is so popular.
In Casco Viejo, a restaurant cum art gallery known as ManoloCaracol is a temple to the enjoyment of dining and well-worth considering. Owned by Spanish chef ManoloMadueño, it has a different menu each night at a fixed price, so you just select a drink and wait for an array of fine foods to arrive. Manolo’s usually serves up some top notch seafood, and there are always a couple of meat dishes to get stuck into. This restaurant is a bit pricey and not for the faint hearted, but if you enjoy your food, then get stuck in here.