For a Central American country town, Boquete offers an impressive selection of interesting dining options, from traditional Panamanian fare to upscale gourmet meals with a wide selection of North American basics in between.
Starting out with breakfast, there is the Sandwich Shop down the road from Mike’s, a favorite expat hangout.
At the Sandwich Shop I have enjoyed a tasty breakfast burrito; eggs, salsa, bacon, and cheese wrapped in a taco with a side of sour cream. Also try their Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon instead of ham.
Mike’s has a twist on their Eggs Benedict as well, using crumbled sausage instead of the expected ham base. Both excellent choices. Mike’s also serve the McMichael: Eggs, bacon or ham, and cheese on an English muffin, as well as a bagel with lox, cream cheese, onions and capers, and if you are there on a Sunday, don’t forget the two-for-one Bloody Marys and mimosas. All of these offerings are under $10.
For a traditional Panamanian breakfast try La Karreta. I always enjoy the fruit bowl of chopped seasonal fruits mixed with yoghurt and granola, with a side of a cheese empanada, and a cup of the local dark, strong coffee. The bill here is less than $6.
At lunch I often choose to go foreign; Chinese or Italian.
Chopsticks is a new addition to the food scene and never disappoints. For under $10, I can enjoy Kung Pao dishes with jasmine tea; for even less, spring rolls or fried dumplings.
A yen for Italian takes me to Otto, a small European-style café owned by a chef who also owns several gourmet restaurants.
Traditional pasta dishes are complemented by several panini choices and salads. A particular favorite of mine are the beef and pork meatballs simmered in a delicious tomato sauce.
For breakfast or lunch, Sugar and Spice is a popular expat hangout.
From French Toast, to Belgian Waffles with whipped cream, to huevos “fritos” or “revueltos” (fried or scrambled eggs) there are extensive choices. At lunch I choose their Reuben or Cubano sandwich with pulled pork, Virginia ham, deli pickles, mozzarella cheese, and mustard, pressed hot on a ciabatta roll.
For a splurge, try one of Boquete’s gourmet restaurants; Retrogusto, The Butcher Chop House, Boulder 54, or Colibri.
If you’re a meat lover, you should know that the beef in Panama is not aged and can be tough. So, when you crave a tender steak, head for The Butcher Chop House.
For around $30 you can enjoy a 12 oz. U.S. rib eye, baked potato with sour cream and chives, and sautéed cherry tomatoes. For the heartiest of appetites, and a few more Balboas, there is the Nicaraguan Tomahawk, 24 oz. of perfectly grilled goodness.
Boulder 54 is the newest addition to the gourmet dining scene.
Theirs is an eclectic menu featuring meat favorites as well as specialties such as To Yum soup with fresh seafood, bacon-wrapped scallops, and a yummy Bananas Foster flamed in red rum.
And for those who are gluten intolerant, Gluten Free Gold offers breakfast and lunch every day but Wednesday and Thursday.
Is your mouth watering yet? Mine is, so I’m off to enjoy a perfect Boquete breakfast. Perhaps one day you will join me here.