Panamanian in Panama City

Image by Victoria Westmacott Lonely Planet

With style and pedigree, Maito toys with the classics, folding in everyday Caribbean, Latin and Chinese influences. While results are mixed, it's still worthwhile. Start with a watermelon Waldorf salad. Ribs glazed in passionfruit are tender but lack the crispness of the duck chow mein. Seafood risotto in squid ink proves divine. There's garden seating and impeccable service.

For an overview of Maito's highlights, try the 10-course tasting menu (US$70). Owned by Chef Mario Castrellón, the restaurant has been a torch bearer of New Panamanian Cuisine, which uses native foods oft neglected in urban dining.