As I mentioned yesterday, the boys and I dined well in Boquete. We found a local magazine that had published a story highlighting of the best restaurants in the area and we decided to review them ourselves. This, is a story of the best.
The Rock Restaurant is located a quick 15 minute cab ride outside of the center of town. It stands in it's own contemporary building decorated on the inside with natural woods, stones and clean lines. The wine list is comprehensive and menu small yet seasonably thoughtful.
We decided to begin with a Carmenere from my beloved home away from home and a vineyard that I visited myself, Concha y Toro. As I told the boys, Carmenere is wine derived from an ancient French grape brought to South America in the early 1800s and extinct in it's native France today. Up until the past few decades, actually, wine connoisseurs thought it was a Merlot; A distinct Chilean mellow merlot with soft tannins and herbal accents. Funny, don't you think?
To begin, J.P. and I split a green house salad. It was unlike any salad I'd had south of the American border. It was filled with various greens, crisp, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, sweet orange tomatoes, sliced almonds, and shredded carrots.With it we also had warm, fresh baked bread, high quality olive oil (I could taste it) and real balsamic vinegar. In my travels throughout Latin America, I've often been unimpressed with their pan. I prefer a heartier loaf with thick crust and soft interiors. This one, however, was anything but disappointing.
Matt had the duck as his appetizer. I wish they had a menu online so I could explain to you what came with it, but alas, they do not. It was delectable though. I can say that, he gave me a taste. And I don't even like duck to begin with.
As my entrée, I ordered the river trout wrapped in bok choy, over white rice, and in a coconut milk-based sauce. They did a fabulous job. The last time I had trout was in Ecuador and dare I say that this might've blown that trout out of the water ;).
J.P. had a filet mignon with corn and julienne vegetables,
Matt had fall-of-the-bone pork ribs with papas fritas and corn.
We were ridiculously happy diners. It was like a meal I could've eaten in New York, or any other cosmopolitan city for that matter, but instead, I was in the small city of Boquete, in Panama, sitting beside a friend from Canada (that I met in Costa Rica) and another that I was working with at the time. A happy diner, indeed.And then came dessert. The three of us split the Brownie Sunday. Or rather, I ate 60% of it, Matt had a bite, and J.P. finished off the rest. Details, details.
If you ever get a chance to smell what The Rock is cooking, (sorry, I couldn't help myself), than please make sure to pay a visit to this spectacular restaurant. In addition to great, fairly-priced food and a lovely atmosphere, it also has amazing service. I found Panamanian food to be rather disappointing, mostly fried, and oftentimes flavorless, but The Rock Restaurant truly does create a dining experience for senses. I'd go right back for dinner tonight if I could.