Origin story: During the Covid-19 pandemic, chef Fulvio Miranda decided to do what no one else was doing in Panama City: he created a culinary space focused on ceviche, a near-forgotten dish in his country, drawing inspiration from regional recipes. Two years on, Cantina del Tigre (translation: the tiger’s canteen) debuts at No.25 on Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2023, winning the Highest New Entry Award, sponsored by Aspire Lifestyles.
What’s the concept? Opened in 2022, the restaurant serves a range of traditional, but reimagined Panamanian dishes. Miranda’s boldness and creativity are showcased in colourful preparations that are gaining increasing popularity across the region.
Who’s in charge? Born in the Chiriquí Province, Miranda founded his first gastronomic venture after seven short years in the industry – a food truck called Esa Flaca Rica serving hamburgers inspired by the flavours of his homeland. His art is not limited to the kitchen: a bass player and composer with a long career in the local scene, he launched a solo record in 2022 called Vieto Sound System.
Have a taste: The original dishes on the menu would be hard to find anywhere else and are matched only by the drinks offer. Cebiche de Mamón Chino (rambutan ceviche), red rice, tripe with lobster and rice tamale with prawn are only some of the delicious signatures on the à la carte menu. Vegetarians and vegans are well catered, while the staff also serves up generous rounds of Papaya Negronis and Pepino (cucumber) Mezcal Sours.
The ambience: The project began in a modest backyard but, in October 2022, moved to a larger space in front of the previous venue. The new location also boasts a bar area, a spacious garden, a wine cellar and a private dining room. Each space is adorned with warm lighting bringing to mind the colour of a tiger’s fur – and tigers are also painted in every room for a stylish and eccentric atmosphere.
Anything else? Miranda is also behind La Popular, an informal taproom serving tapas-style food, pizzas and sandwiches located in Cantina del Tigre’s former space.