Banner

Panama Travel and Investment Resource

Banner

Recommended Sites (advertise with us)

Los Cuatro Tulipanes is Matt's apartment rentals in the historic district of Casco Viejo

Panama Vacation Rentals is Matt's go-to place to find rentals in Panama

- Habla Ya Spanish Schools are Matt's top choices for Spanish immersion vacations in Central America

- United Country – Panama is Matt’s go-to site to find premier properties all over Panama

Astrid y Gaston Comes to Panama

PDF Print E-mail
Written by Matt   
Wednesday, 13 February 2008 07:53
astrid y gaston panamaUpon first hearing the news, viagra sale I was of the belief that Astrid y Gaston was a new theatrical performance show in Panama, clinic perhaps featuring a lovely French woman named Astrid and a large brawny man who liked to drink beer called Gaston. But as the details would unravel, I came to the realization that, for the first time, a truly impressive dining establishment had arrived in the nation's capital.
The décor is hard to describe; certainly not traditional Peruvian like the food on the menu. The kitchen is surrounded by these clean glass walls which give diners a laboratory-like view of the area in which their food is being prepared. I envisioned standing behind the glass in a lab coat with some sort of clipboard and commenting to a scientist colleague about the chefs as if they were mice. "That one" I might say, pointing at a sweaty, tattooed line cook. "That's the one who's been injected with the virus."

In reality though, there's no viruses going on at Astrid y Gaston: only really good food and really good service (well, for the most part).

The team of waiters in our dining room was spot on like a polka dot blouse: always there when you need them and never there when you don't. They demonstrated a true knowledge of the menu as well as the intricacies of fine dining. One of them went to place my napkin on my lap when I got back from the bathroom and I thought he was going for my wallet. "Ladron" I called out, arrested with fear. "Thief!"

The flavors of Peruvian food seem to be simple on paper and when hearing the waiter's spiel about various plates, I couldn't help but thinking about several children from Peru who once shared the soccer field with me back in the late eighties. Paolo and Muki I think they were called. I recalled the coaches calling out to the rest of us to pass the ball to the boys since they were as good as soccer gold. "The Peruvians," the parents would shout. "Give it to the Peruvians!"

And we did.

The menu at Astrid y Gaston is purely Peruvian and seeing as though this is the owner's seventh or so restaurant (the others being in international hotspots like Caracas and Madrid), everything appeared to work. The ceviche options, which I had to attack first, were splendid and I don't use that word too freely: hunks the size of playing marbles of fresh sea bass, octopus, and shrimp swimming in leche de tigre, the lime concoction which I'm pretty sure I could drink on its own. Good too was the tuna variation on ceviche which arrived in a beveled plate, surrounded by a moat of maracuya soy sauce and topped with shreds of radish.

Note: For some reason, they decided to bring all of our appetizers at once (four dishes) which was a little odd-very unexpected-and led to a crowded table over which I nearly knocked over my wine glass trying to reach for the toasted corn. But to be honest, the service as a whole was cabeza and hombros above competition elsewhere in Panama.

One entrée called the Peruvian Rib Eye arrived looking like a fashionably haphazard heap of carnage. On top of the meat pile was a fried egg, sunny side up. They like this the Astrid y Gaston people; putting eggs on things. The dish got rave reviews from my buddy Adam who will basically eat anything. Trash Compactor they used to call him on the high school football team.

The wine list was adequate and reasonably priced like lunch meat. Adam and I ordered a really nice bottle of Rioja in part to commemorate the time we once spent in Spain. We also ordered the Rioja because Adam had just won a large sum of cash at the Majestic Casino on Avenida Balboa. The dealer couldn't believe it: $100 in ten minutes! The wine was allowed to "breathe" thanks to a recommendation from the sommelier (the best and only truly-educated sommelier I've ever seen here).

Another entrée we enjoyed was the waiter-recommended Mero which was a fish served with some sauce and some rice. It was mediocre, certainly not the type of thing I went home and told everyone about. But it was fine. Like lunch meat.

The meal ended with some after dinner drinks and a delicious array of sorbets: strawberry, tamarind, and weird citrus thing. With a few last swigs of the Rioja bottle, Adam and I left for the car which had been prepared in advance by the valet parking. We were some of the last people to leave, but I think they do their last seating at nine. They included the gratuity in the bill (10%) which was probably less than we would have given seeing as though the meal was great.

In all honesty, I find it more enjoyable to comment on all the negative aspects of a restaurant rather than the positives. This is probably the finest dining establishment in the country of Panama. Evaluating this place as mediocre would be unfair as it was a great dining experience and they pleasantly tolerated our drunken shenanigans throughout the evening.

The menu is reasonably priced for what it is (entrees were around $15-$30) and a nice meal can be had for about eighty bucks. It sits hidden in El Cangrejo back behind the Power Club and chances are you'll have trouble finding the phone number since they're so new. Round one goes to the Peruvians.
Trackback(0)
Comments (5)Add Comment
0
Spot-on review
written by Big Daddy , February 27, 2008
I went there last night, and your review is excellent and accurate. A note about the automatic 10% tip.... the servicio sugerido is included when they swipe your credit card. Then they conveniently omit the detailed cuenta when they return the credit card slip for your signature, in case you forget the tip is already included in the total. Seems like a juega vivo (what isn't here?)

I had the corvina y langostinos something... with tacu tacu and it was excellent.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
0
excuse me ?
written by Guillermo from Miami , April 01, 2008
I really am amazed at the nerve americans when "reviewing" food from other countries, peruvian in particular, and even dare to mention the word mediocre !!!. mediocre are your burgers and pizza , which is all you know .
This restaurant is one of the finest in Lima ( and many other capitals like Santiago, Bogota, Caracas and Madrid) and you should be thankful that you are tasting peruvian food .
Peruvian food is one of the finest in the world and it certainly blows out of the water american and panamanian food, even if put together.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
0
Guillermo from Miami...
written by tejano , June 23, 2008
FYI....burgers NOR pizza belong to the Americans, blame the Germans and Italians for those if you'd like, I personally enjoy both.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
0
...
written by John lesley , July 31, 2008
Give me a break. I went there last night and for food quality I give them 2 1/2 points, presentation a solid 5, value for your money a 1 There is a handful of Peruvian restaurants n Panama City that will serve you better food for a fraction of the price. I had a chupe de camarones, - thrown together out of prepared ingredients, undercooked rice, watery shrimp in a tasty broth, all tha with 14 bodies in the kitchen area.

The suggested tip, scratch it off if you are not pleased wit the service.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0
0
guillermo this is for u
written by the coming , August 26, 2008
guillermo, yes peruvian food is amazing and a lot more advanced than panamanian cusine, but not for long, when it comes to american cuisine , dude you're wrong!!As I see it your food knowledge is not very good, you are a clasic guy mocking american cuisne with there burgers and pizza and we all know that there is much more to there food, with that said the U.S. has more than 8 restaurants in the top 50 best restaurants in the WORLD! Some like Per Se, Alan Ducause, Charlie Trotter's, Daniel Boulad and several more!!! Just so you know there are no peruvian restaurants on
that list. Not even Astrid and Gaston.
ps. I am not an American I am Panamanian. Before you open your mouth you should get
your facts straight!!!
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +0

Write comment

security code
Write the displayed characters


busy
Last Updated on Monday, 11 August 2008 23:49
 
Banner