Panama, the land bridge between South and North America, combines the cuisines of both continents, plus a generous helping of Caribbean influences. The gastronomic lure at the Miraflores Locks restaurant is the buffet concocted by Stefan, the chef. The starter table is laden with soups, salads and ceviche - the exquisite marinated fish of Latin America. Elaborate sushi make an appearance; so do Japanese vessels as they squeeze through the locks on the world's greatest short cut. Main courses include beef, fish and chicken in exotic but delicate sauces. For dessert, save room for the luscious tropical fruit grown in this diminutive land of plenty.

THE VIEW

Arrive here early (the buffet runs noon to 4pm and 6.30pm to 10.30pm) and you will be rewarded by a seat on the terrace, 100 feet above the locks where freighters, cruise ships and tiny yachts are hoisted above sea level for their journey across the Continental Divide along the "Big Ditch". The sight is mesmerising.

THE BILL

The dollar is king in Panama. You do not need many to eat all you can here, with tea or coffee: $17.50 (£10).

The Restaurant, Miraflores Visitor's Centre, Miraflores, Panama (00 507 276 8325; www.pancanal.com)

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