Jump to content
  • entries
    17
  • comments
    94
  • views
    1,471

Colibri Restaurant, Something for Every Palate


Phyllis Mc

2,090 views

 Share

Colibri Restaurant, Something for Every Palate

 

I have a confession. I don't invite vegan friends over for dinner. They're nice, friendly folks, but what the heck do I feed them? It's intimidating. I'm not what you would call an inspired cook to begin with and all I feel safe feeding a vegan is veggies, beans, and quinoa. That's boring. I've looked in the vegan section of a cookbook but I don't even know what seitan makhani or aloo matar is, much less be able to make it. Although matar in Spanish means kill, a bad cooking omen.

Which is why I was so excited when the new restaurant Colibri opened in what was formerly Mango's at Isla Verde and advertised that they specialized in vegan and vegetarian dishes. I could invite my picky vegan friends out to eat, and Colibri would know what to do with them. They also have pork, chicken, beef and fish dishes for those of us who like more variety in our food.

The owners of Colibri are Carolina Saldarriaga from Colombia and Daniele Levorato from Italy. They are both business and love/life partners; and this is their first restaurant, although Daniele has had previous restaurant experience. What I love about them is that they are welcoming and friendly, and sincerely want to make your dining experience with them a good one. Their chef is Chris Young, formerly of Valle Escondido, who has an excellent reputation in town. The Colibri decor is minimal yet comfortable. Like the old Mango's, there is a lot of light and open space.

"Boquete is a lovely place and a great opportunity," says Carolina when asked why they chose Boquete. "It's about bringing something new here with a constantly changing menu and lots of specials."

So what exactly is new about Colibri? Well,the large array of vegan and vegetarian options for one. And their menu is creative and diverse. Their passion is to use fresh, local produce, fish, and other markets to produce a unique dining experience. For instance, ceviche is a well known local dish, but add passion fruit to it and it makes it ever so exotic. Arepa is a Colombian/Venezuelan specialty but when you turn it into a beef slider (a la White Castle from the mid-west) you've developed a creative combination. Check their menu out at their website: http://www.restaurantecolibri.com/.

I've been to Colibri to eat twice now and both times the food was delectable. The first time I went with my husband for dinner. He had amber jack fish on rice paired with a pineapple sauce. He loved it. I had Pad Thai with beef- Carolina warned me it was spicy, but I like my food hot, so for me it was perfectly seasoned. I did think that $17.00 for beef Pad Thai was pricey.

The second time I went for lunch with a friend, who is a vegetarian. She was thinking about the coffee bisque soup, and wanted to know if it was vegetarian. Daniele went back to the kitchen to ask and reported it had chicken stock in it, so my friend went with the roasted tomato basil soup, which she really enjoyed. I liked that Daniele checked on the soup's ingredients with a "no problem" attitude and reported right back to us. It is that kind of service that is much appreciated, especially here in Panama. My friend also requested a side order of coconut roasted potatoes which technically was a side to the falafels, but once again, it wasn't a problem. I had the Thai Marinated Beef Tenderloin Salad. The beef was tender, nicely spiced, and the salad was perfectly done.

Their Crème Brulée is to die for.

When we asked for our check, I mentioned that we were Jubliados and was told that the jubliado discount applies only to the five main courses listed on the menu. Sure enough, there in fine print it says so at the bottom of the menu. I asked Carolina why they chose to do this, and she said it was to keep their prices down. But, in my opinion, their prices are on the high side. Many of you will no doubt think that I am making "much ado about nothing" but it will be my small personal act of a rebellion to order only those items which offer the discount.

But I digress.

If you want delicious, interesting and creative food with great service, owners who aim to please, and a locally renowned chef, Colibri is the place to go.

And you'll never have to worry about what to feed a vegan again.

 

20160313114924.jpg

20160313154113.jpg

20160313154115.jpg

 Share

22 Comments


Recommended Comments

"Jubilado discount applies only to the five main courses listed on the menu" and this is "to keep their prices down"......      My question : is this legal? I'll ask my attorney, but this sounds like a poor excuse.  Anyway, I will continue to eat at restaurants that provide good food at reasonable prices and honor the jubilado discount according to the rule of law.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment

Four of us had dinner there last Friday.  Totally agree that Carolina is a great owner and really on top of the service. The menu is like no other in Boquete. Great selection of appetizers, and entrees. The bread is the best we have had in Panama. Served fresh from the oven in little brown bags with whole baked garlic with oil and balsamic. Incredible.

We started with  Zucchini Carpaccio, and Chicken Tapa's as appetizers, that were excellent,

 Three of us had the  Pork Shoulder, the consensus was it was excellent and tender, moist but could use a bit of salt. I had the Pad Tai with chicken which was very good with a perfect spice kick. Followed by Blackberry Mousse and Blonde... killer!

Jubilado was not applied and we were told the same as Pat, and we must ask for it before being served. That was the only draw back for us but not a huge deal. They need to get the staff up to snuff on training. Had to ask for water, more bread etc. If Carolina was not there checking on our table, taking the order, and making sure we were serviced properly it could of been disappointing. Prices are comparable to the Panamonte.  The selections on the menu,great food, and free corkage make this good reasons to go back.

Link to comment
15 minutes ago, TwoSailors said:

Four of us had dinner there last Friday.  Totally agree that Carolina is a great owner and really on top of the service. The menu is like no other in Boquete. Great selection of appetizers, and entrees. The bread is the best we have had in Panama. Served fresh from the oven in little brown bags with whole baked garlic with oil and balsamic. Incredible.

We started with  Zucchini Carpaccio, and Chicken Tapa's as appetizers, that were excellent,

 Three of us had the  Pork Shoulder, the consensus was it was excellent and tender, moist but could use a bit of salt. I had the Pad Tai with chicken which was very good with a perfect spice kick. Followed by Blackberry Mousse and Blonde... killer!

Jubilado was not applied and we were told the same as Pat, and we must ask for it before being served. That was the only draw back for us but not a huge deal. They need to get the staff up to snuff on training. Had to ask for water, more bread etc. If Carolina was not there checking on our table, taking the order, and making sure we were serviced properly it could of been disappointing. Prices are comparable to the Panamonte.  The selections on the menu,great food, and free corkage make this good reasons to go back.

Sounds like a special meal -- glad you enjoyed the experience.

 

Link to comment

We recently tried out Colibrí for the first time. The food was good, the service was as to be expected, but the attitude about the jubilado discount was thrown in our faces. We actually did order one of the main entrees, but apparently because it was the time of day that it was, then the discount did not apply. There was a good deal of arrogance about their "relationship" with ACODECO.

Unlikely that we will return. We have better options without the attitude.

  • Upvote 2
Link to comment

I rarely ask for the jubilado discount at the restaurants I patronize. However, when a restaurant (RetroGusto and Colibri) are arrogant and brazen about flaunting the law, I will not patronize them at all.

Speaking of fine dining, it's interesting that McDonald's in David gives a 25% discount just for having gray hair. As a fast food joint, the law only requires them to give 10% discount.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
57 minutes ago, Penny said:

I rarely ask for the jubilado discount at the restaurants I patronize. However, when a restaurant (RetroGusto and Colibri) are arrogant and brazen about flaunting the law, I will not patronize them at all.

Speaking of fine dining, it's interesting that McDonald's in David gives a 25% discount just for having gray hair. As a fast food joint, the law only requires them to give 10% discount.

Too bad Colibri was arrogant and forgot about customer service. I haven't eaten at this restaurant and won't bother now.  McDonald's in David gets my money.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment

We don't generally ask for the jubilado either unless the resteraunt is clearly charging N.A. Prices.  We eat quite often at Zum Emslander in the San Franciso Plaza, his menus clearly state the regular and jubilado prices.  Trout, salad and fries for two, less than $14 and the wait staff are excellent.

 

Edited by JohnF13
  • Upvote 2
Link to comment

We also like Zum Emslander in the San Francisco Plaza. Good food, fair prices, wonderful wait staff, plus available parking. Great combination.

  • Upvote 2
Link to comment

I also want to shout out to George and his wonderful staff at Zum Emslander (aka "The German Restaurant"). They have the best omelet in Boquete. It's a little difficult to decipher the menu description but it's basically a huge farmers omelet stuffed with potatoes, ham, onions, etc.

All of their lunch and dinner menu items are also excellent. Their home fries are to die for. Prices are great and service is top notch. There's a small gang of us who breakfast there every Saturday morning.

  • Upvote 2
Link to comment

Bud, 

As we tried to explain with no success since your only response was "I won't discuss with you", the jubilado discount is a personal and non transferable benefit. You and your wife ordered ONE dish to share, thus, the jubilado does not apply. We always give the discount when it applies and we never claimed to have any kind of "relationship" with ACODECO. We treated you with respect and tried to explain this to you as best as we could but received a very negative response from your side.  We respect the law and expect that you as a customer respect it as well. We are sorry you felt we were arrogant, that was never our intention, we always treat our customers with the respect they deserve. 

 

For all readers of Chiriqui Life:

We NEVER forget about customer service and are here as owners 100% of the time to make sure everything runs smoothly. We honor the jubilado discount when it applies and are still figuring things out as we go, we are certain all of you understand that it takes time to fully get the scope of things in a new country with its unique laws and rules, sometimes information is not clear, answers are nowhere to be found and ambiguity is present in many processes. We ask that you as beneficiaries of the discount also understand that there are certain rules that apply to you, we are not asking to see your card to bother you, we need to document every discount we give in order to get that money deduced from our taxes (it is not clear if and how we get that money back yet...), we are not telling you we won't give it on a shared dish to bother you either; the discount simply does not apply in that case, etc., etc. We are not here to "illegally manipulate jubilados", we are trying to run a small business with all the knick knacks this implies!

We ask all of you to please understand that it is not easy to be a small business with very high costs, we are not here to become millionaires at your expense, we are well aware this is a tough business and still decided to dive into this adventure with the goal of offering Boquete a genuinely different and unique new option for dining. We are working with the very best ingredients we can find, it is our philosophy to feed our customers not only delicious but GOOD and HEALTHY options (unlike chain food multinationals) and to offer you a beautiful setting, great service and a personalized experience in the process. We are supporting local producers, farmers, locals and fellow expats (unlike chain food multinationals). We are creating job opportunities and supporting seven local families, we are participating in charity events, we are not a huge multinational with infinite funds; we are a young couple making a living and building their future. 

We are not breaking or patronizing the law and we are never arrogant or disrespectful with our guests and we do not wish to start a discount war with anyone in town. Be assured we will continue to offer excellent quality food, service, ambience and attention at fair and reasonable prices, giving the discount when applicable and under the law (we respect the law and so must you as the beneficiary). No, we will never have McDonald's prices, it is simply not the concept and philosophy we have, we will instead offer fresh, healthy and delicious food prepared locally, food that will feed your body, your heart and your soul. 

Carolina and Daniele 

Link to comment

I don't understand. Are you saying that if two jubilados order one dish, the discount doesn't apply? How is the discount being "transferred?" It is my understanding that a jubilado cannot order two dishes, one for himself and one for a non-jubilado, and expect to receive the discount on both meals. But one meal and two jubilados? I would be interested to know on what part of the law you base your interpretation.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment

Carolina and Daniele,

We have only eaten at your restaurant one time and we found your hospitality, the service, and the food all excellent.  Please don't change anything.  We will definitely return.

Best regards, Woody

Link to comment

I  think that one thing that restaurants might want to consider here in Boquete is that tourist season brings in a lot of customers. Rainy season can be dismal. There are few if any tourists, and restaurants need us full-time residents as customers in order to survive over the long term.

Know your market.

Courting Juliados can be very important to a restaurant's survival, since if they choose not to go to your restaurant during rainy season, you may very well find yourself empty much of the time. There are many restaurants in town with consistently excellent food and they are all in competition in rainy season. Whether a restaurant is following the letter of the law on the Jubliado discount or not isn't so much the point, as what is the perception of your Jubliado customers who will choose to patronize or not patronize your restaurant as the rains keep coming down for months and there is not a tourist to be found.

Just something to consider. It is all about perception.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment

The food at Colibri Restaurant may be good, but perhaps their "attitude" will be the deciding factor of just how long they stay in business.

There are many other good places to eat in Boquete.

Link to comment

Colibri Restaurant

The law is very clear and you are very wrong. The discount applies on all food and drink items except alcohol and sodas. It applies on the soup, the salad, the dessert, the coffee, the tea, etc, etc.

This is not difficult to figure out. Bud and Marcelyn both qualify for the discount. That they chose to share a meal is not relevant.

The tax thing isn't complicated. If you charge $10 for a meal you report $10 gross income on your income tax. If you discount the meal by 20% to $8 you report $8 gross income on your income taxes.

Now, was that so complicated????

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment

Hi Penny - love your accounting skills!  LOL  It is not quite that easy but you are correct I believe, the net effect is you pay taxes on $8.00.

I had lunch at Calibri and found their quinoa salad and tomato soup was to "die for".  The portions were large and worth every penny (no pun intended).  You do not have to spend a lot as they have specials every day and the ala carte items are numerous.  The atmosphere was great and Chef Chris came out to greet the diners.  A very nice touch!  He has 3 other chefs in the kitchen with him and all are involved with creating different and interesting menu items.

As they get the Jubilado thing under control, I am sure they will be offering it on all their food.  I'll bet they can do a Chicas lunch for $9 and it would be the best meal you will eat this year!

Link to comment
54 minutes ago, MarieElaine said:

Hi Penny - love your accounting skills!  LOL  It is not quite that easy but you are correct I believe, the net effect is you pay taxes on $8.00.

I had lunch at Calibri and found their quinoa salad and tomato soup was to "die for".  The portions were large and worth every penny (no pun intended).  You do not have to spend a lot as they have specials every day and the ala carte items are numerous.  The atmosphere was great and Chef Chris came out to greet the diners.  A very nice touch!  He has 3 other chefs in the kitchen with him and all are involved with creating different and interesting menu items.

As they get the Jubilado thing under control, I am sure they will be offering it on all their food.  I'll bet they can do a Chicas lunch for $9 and it would be the best meal you will eat this year!

 

Bet these folks at Calibri won't "get the Jubilado thing under control" until forced to follow the law per ACODECO.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment

Well they have to, its the law.  This is one of the perks that draws expats and their money to Panama.  As stated above, Jubilados will not eat there and without the expats, they will not be in business very long.  I have not nor will I go to RetroGusto because they don't offer the Jubilado discount at all!  Even though Calibri isn't following the law either at least they are offering it on some of their menu items and I am sure these nice people will get it together.

Why is everything posting twice?????????

Link to comment
  • Administrators
31 minutes ago, MarieElaine said:

...

Why is everything posting twice?????????

Things are not posting twice. CL has the ability to quote a prior posting so that it is abundantly clear, where appropriate, to indicate the words ibeing replied to.

Look for the "Quote" icon in the lower left of all postings. If you are logged in and click that link, then a new reply will be started and the posting that is being replied to will be reflected in that new reply, but inside of a "quoted text" box.

I used the quote functionality in this posting, and then removed the part of your posting that was not relevant.

You can, in fact, reply to multiple postings all at once. Rare, but sometimes handy. That would be the "+" icon.

Link to comment

We have just returned from another wonderful dining experience at Colibri Restaurant, our fifth dining experience at this great place. As usual Daniele & Carolina are the most gracias host and hostess and very welcoming with genuine warmth and personality.

We have not been back in a few weeks and so what has changed?

Service: is now much more as it should be, friendlier, self assured and confident although, still a tad bit to go on the friendlier side. And very attentive without being bothersome. The growing pains of this new jewel of a restaurant are starting to subside to the point of achieving a noticeable difference. 

Menu:

 Is still the crown jewel of this place. Why? Because it is different and they are committed to offer local, fresh ingredients.

Food:

Still very good if not outstanding, worthy of a four star restaurant in Los Angeles or San Francisco for half the price! Everything has been executed well, and consistently.

Ambiance:

Great decor, warm and inviting, with a touch of class, and that hard to achieve effect: that you forget that you are not in a restaurant  instead  of  feeling like you are in someones home.

 

Value:

A bargain for what you get.

Conclusion:

So why worry about the  Jubilado discount? We really don't get that. Here is a wonderful couple with an awesome chef here in Boquete trying their absolute hardest and they get some flack about the  Jubilado discount. Give them a break... try them out a couple of times... put yourselves in their shoes.  

Lets not get hung up on that!  We should welcome them here with open arms. They are a fresh breath to an otherwise average restaurant experience ( Not all, but a majority)  here in Boquete.

Link to comment

Attn Two Sailors: "Let's not get hung up on that"

All this praise about Colibri Restaurant sounds like you are not even eligible for the Jubilado discount which is required by law.

Yes, Colibri is getting "flack" because they are not being law abiding citizens.

ACODECO in their future.

  • Upvote 1
Link to comment
Guest
Add a comment...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...