Tucked away in the historic district of Casco Viejo, you’ll find the the famed Donde Jose restaurant, ranked as the Best Restaurant in the city. With only 16 seats per dining session, this cozy restaurant has risen above all others, led by the up and coming chef, Jose Carles.
Panama has been growing, not just physically, but it’s culinary scene. In this hub of the Americas, cultures mix and mingle, and with this comes a combination of flavors. Young chefs are innovating and experimenting at every turn, each adding their own small effort to this overall culinary movement, further putting Panama on the map – more than papers.
So, with a plethora of chefs in Panama, why has Donde Jose risen above the others? The “New Panamanian Cuisine” as they define their menu, is an international twist using local ingredients and unique takes on local classics.
With only 16 seats per dining, by reservation only, you better plan ahead – but don’t worry, you will not be disappointed by their nine-course menu offering. Constantly changing, the menu varies up as the chef doesn’t want to get bored always making the same dishes nor does he want his patrons to be one-time diners.
Changing the menu, comes out of kitchen experimentation, and bold moves as the Donde Jose team takes whatever they can find locally to mix and match for their ever evolving menu. Going straight to the farm, you can taste the freshness.
“Our mission at Donde José is to tell the story of Panama through our cuisine. We use endemic ingredients, cook with age-old techniques, delve deep into Panamanian traditions, innovate where value can be added, and work every day to contribute to Panama's culinary identity.”
Setting other restaurants apart, this intimate dining experience is where the chef prepares the meals in front of the guests. This wonderful compliment to the meal is heightened as the chef explains the ingredients and stories behind the dishes as they are prepared.
Donde José is unique and a must-do dining experience! Its main seating time (at 8:15pm) is booked about 5 weeks in advance, so I encourage you to talk to us at Highlife Panama for getting that reservation going and book in advance. Also, good news: Donde José recently opened a private dining shift at 6pm for up to 6 guests. It’s the same cost as the regular dining and there is a lot more availability at this time.
The 9-course meal at Donde José is at a set price of $57.00 for a standard table and $67.00 to sit at the Chef´s table (which I absolutely recommend). They are open Wednesday to Saturday and can accommodate up to 16 people during their 8:15pm seating and a maximum of two tables at their 6pm, private dining time.
When it comes to fine dining in Panama, Donde Jose is a do not miss stop on your culinary journey. Instead of saying more as to why this is the highest ranked restaurant in the city, we recommend you find out for yourself.