CULTURE

Maito named one of the top restaurants in the region

It is the first Panamanian restaurant named to the list.

It is owned by Mario Castrellón.

Temas:

Maito has been named one of the top 50 restaurants in Latin America, the first time that a Panamanian establishment has appeared on the annual list.

Maito was ranked 36th on the list. It is compiled by the web site theworlds50best.com and determined by the votes of more than 250 experts from the region. The countries included are Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guyana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Mario Castrellon, owner and chef at Maito, told his team about the award yesterday.

Castrellon, 33, developed a taste for the kitchen during family barbecues, and it became his profession. He studied in Barcelona and worked in La Posta in Panama before opening Maito.

"When I opened Maito, I wanted to reach excellence, not to be better than my colleagues, but for personal satisfaction," the chef said. "The key: to improve little by little and constantly changing the concept and the story that we want to show to the diner. When you go to a restaurant that does not have a compass, without a theme to express itself, you eat well and come back if everything is perfect. But our mission is to tell a story that defines the Panamanian cuisine. We have been slowly finding it. It is not only presenting traditional recipes and presenting them in the best way. It is understanding where the local cuisine came from, and the influences on local gastronomy."

The number one restaurant was Central in Peru. Three of the top ten were from Peru, with Mexico City also having three establishments in the top 10. Two were from Brazil, while Chile and Argentina each had one restaurant make the list.

Maito is located in Coco del Mar.

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