These restaurants have changed to continue offering a great experience, now at home
These weeks of confinement due to the new coronavirus has been an obstacle between us and our favorite restaurants, our favorite food, and the tables of those establishments.
Whether for physical reasons (distances), temporary (reduced hours), or any other cause, the truth is that many restaurants are still open, which have restructured their service to continue offering the best of their kitchens, now at the tables of the houses of its loyal customers and the new ones that are joining.
These restaurants are making an exceptional effort to make the experience as close as possible as eating at the restaurant: adequate packaging that maintains the temperature and texture, delivery routes with fixed days to more remote places, their own express service to improve the times of Delivery in the areas near the restaurant and personalized service from its chefs and owners are some of the new routines and efforts implemented to deliver a great meal at home.
El Gastronomista took a challenge! We made a list with some of our favorite restaurants, of that food that we miss so much, that makes us happy in such an intimate way, with which we have a personal and friendly connection. Don’t you guys talk to your tacos and say, ‘thank you for existing’? Don’t you think when trying a ramen soup ‘how will I live without you for the rest of the week’? Don’t you feel in your safe place when you try the cashew seed shrimp from your favorite Chinese restaurant? Doesn’t it make you happy to eat some delicious wings in your favorite sauces, as if you were at the restaurant with your friends? And when they discover that the risotto gourmet prepared by a great Italian chef can be kept at home, doesn’t life make sense, even in confinement? And what about the flavors and aromas of your favorite Lebanese. Restaurant indulge you just as effectively, don’t you feel grateful to be well, safe, and privileged to such enjoyment?
With no specific order, this is the list for you to order, enjoy, and share:
–Casa Piemonte: Faithful representative of the food of northern Italy, Casa Piemonte has distinguished itself by offering a warm atmosphere, careful attention, and a flavor that could define itself as tasteful and homemade at the same time.
The care of choosing the best quality for each product and the technique of the chef Alessandro Lazzara arrived intact with my order: a porcini mushroom risotto, a ragu lasagna with a fresh salad and focaccia with prosciutto.
The risotto as good as ever: al dente, with that extraordinary perfume of the wine with which it rests during cooking; creamy, silky: an elegant and simple dish, in which the chef’s technique and the quality of the product are what will determine the result. The mushrooms with their texture and marked flavor nuances the rice, while the perfume of the wine invades the dining room of the house.
Before, the focaccia was the mouth opener: it arrived hot, crisp, waiting to be eaten. Premium quality prosciutto: full of umami, salty, with a strong and ripe flavor.
The closing was with the ragu lasagna. Homemade pasta, handmade, should we say more? Yes, because it is worth it: the light sauce with sweet notes of a well-ripened tomato, keeps meat and cheese between its layers with the flavor that the artisan of the kitchen, with his patience, love, and knowledge, achieves without tricks: it is not a lasagna that hides its deficiencies between kilos of melted cheese. Here each layer of flavor is enjoyed alone or adds to the sum of flavors. Rustic, comforting, sheltered by fine flakes of Parmigiano cheese that fill it with umami and satisfaction.
Ah! I almost forgot on the express you can also order the house sangria.
How to order from Casa Piemonte? On their Facebook profile you can check their menu, promotions, and delivery methods. You can also contact them at WhatsApp is 85747272. The menu (conditions apply) has a 30% discount during these weeks. Bonus: If you are lucky, the same chef Alessandro will bring you your order or Katerine, his partner and co-owner. Its packaging is with biodegradable bags and boxes containing biodegradable vegetable starch.
Isla Verde: On other occasions I have written about this Chinese-ethical food restaurant because its quality, flavor, and product are worth every colon, every tablespoon. Now, the girls from Isla Verde (the Shum sisters) and their mother, Doña Vicky, the clan matriarch and cook teacher, have expanded their area of influence and have scheduled food delivery routes by area, according to the day of the week: they go Heredia, Ciudad Colón; They also go to the other side of the city, such as Moravia, Coronado, and San Pedro, among other places, depending on the day of the route.
Also, they are dedicating a lot of attention to the packaging: good quality cardboard boxes, so that the food arrives hot and without any problem during transport to the table at your house, dear reader.
As a man lives not only from Cantonese rice and chop suey, in this order, we explore the Isla Verde menu a bit: vegetarian rice, dried sahofan with beef, shrimp with cashew seeds in a tiquisque nest (of course: edible to the last strand) and the biggest surprise: the Muy Soy Yok.
Muy Soy Yok is a crepe or Chinese omelets that you make at home with vegetables (bamboo, beans, onions, and cabbage, discreetly seasoned with their soy sauce) and pork strips. It is completed with a thick plum sauce, with chocolate notes, very powerful and tasty, which balances the flavors while shooting them against the palate sky like a rocket. A discovery and a journey that Marco Polo would have been proud to share, as I am.
Vegetarian rice made me forget that I am a carnivore. I was delighted in each grain, which struck against the infernal heat of the wok made it acquire its characteristic smoke. Vegetables on point: no vegetable puree, al dente, and varied, with the notable participation of broccoli.
In a paper bag they give you the tiquisque nest like a treasure, on which the shrimp will be cradled with the cashew seeds wrapped in the thick sauce with well-measured notes of garlic. The portion is complemented with flirty vegetables: carrot, celery, sweet chili, zucchini, and mushrooms. The portion of shrimp is abundant, the size of the plate is generous and abundant to be more than satisfied.
And as you know I am a regular customer, and they did not forget to indulge me with their hot chili oil: it is essential for me when I eat at Isla Verde.
I was grateful and happy to enjoy his food at my table, just like when I went to his restaurant in the distant days before COVID-19.
How to order from Isla Verde restaurant? They are offering several options: through food platforms, to pick up the restaurant, and through their transport with their scheduled routes. Check the hours on their Facebook wall, the phone is 2220 3337, and here is the menu.
Phoenicia: With the best flavor from the wide palette of Lebanese and Mediterranean cuisine, Phoenicia has been conquering tastes and hearts. Not only among those who like this good cuisine but also among those who have jumped into the water to try it for the first time.
And it is that Lebanese food, although with its good load of spices such as cardamom, paprika, peppers, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, among others, each cook has its mix, is balanced and anyone enjoys it. Honestly.
It’s also much more than hummus (chickpea puree with tahini, sesame, olive oils, etc.), babaganush (roasted aubergine puree, more olive, sesame, etc.) and pita bread.
In lamb, they have a doctorate with a subspecialty in flavor. And in Phoenicia they come to that time without a doubt. We ate at home the barbecue for two, with lamb kafta (it is like a skewer of roasted ground meat served without the skewer) well spiced and with abundant parsley, Shish Tawook (pieces of chicken breast roasted on a skewer) with nuances light and very pleasant, juicy; It arrives served with roasted onions and tomatoes, hummus, and fries. It is an excellent option to share.
In Phoenicia they make falafel very well: always crispy, creamy inside, full of flavor. On many of my visits to have lunch, I ask for the vegetarian option, with falafel, because I love its texture, flavor, how it combines with rice (hello, I am Alberto and I declare myself addicted to carbos), with tahini sauce. Remarkable news: the packaging keeps the properties of falafel intact. I saved some after lunch for the night and they were still perfect: crispy, toasted on the outside, appetizing on top or bottom.
I could not miss in the order the chili of the house (4.5 of power on the scale of 0 to 10 on my scale of potentiometer: I confess, I am a good spicy eater) and the wonderful tum sauce. Oh tum sauce, we worship you in every meal, in every pita bread that you elevate to the luxury of the gods! The tum sauce is one of a kind garlic puree, a garlic aioli (as it is a true aioli) and olive or other vegetable oil and you can add lemon. Phoenicia’s is spectacular and I could even use it as a bronzer if society allowed me to.
To conclude this great banquet was the lamb burger: a great surprise. A generous lamb meat patty, with a soft bread that wraps the burger, which is guarded by a tomato and onion and cabbage sauce with herbs. The garnish is baked potato chips with rosemary. A large portion, vibrant flavor, good bite. It is written among my favorite burger list.
Don’t forget the excellent homemade hummus and its tasty pita bread. Ah! And since we know that in the Middle East they are masters of desserts, we enjoy a kenefe. Kenefe is a base of nabulsi, with wheat yolk, cream, and dipped in rose syrup with honey. It is very rich, it is not syrupy sugary and it is completely out of the ordinary.
How to order from Phoenicia? The restaurant has its express service and Manfred, the great waiter that this establishment has, will deliver the food and explain how the order is done at the table. Phoenicia’s phone number is 88848546. On their Facebook wall they have the menu with the offers of the month, the prices of which would not pass, aimed at combos and to share. Check the express coverage area, the owner, pick up food at the store or go to the restaurant, they are doing a huge job with hygiene and social distancing measures so that the customer is comfortable and safe.
Buffalo Joe. The wings came to our country, became trendy, and will never leave. For our enjoyment. They are a great tasting, highly enjoyable finger food, which also has the bonus of being sharable. And if the food is shared with our friends and family it tastes better.
And the Buffalo Joe wings are there, ready to make us all enjoy, their three locations in Belen, San Francisco de Heredia, and Coronado.
We like Buffalo Joe’s wings as much as their sauces. Because the sauces are an inseparable part of the wings, although they are ordered separately. In the end, they will make the journey through our mouth together, united until the end.
One of the fundamental parts of wings, as is the case with fried chicken in general, is breading. It should be crispy for a long time, add flavor (the skin is where the flavor is concentrated), and help the meat not dry and remains juicy. The breading of Buffalo Joe’s wings met these parameters.
Not only did they arrive very well packed in their cardboard boxes, but they stayed warm and crispy for a long time until they started to be dipped in the sauces. As they were wings left for dinner, I reheat them in the oven with low-medium heat (slower, but thus they heat evenly without drying them) and they were toned: crispy, tasty.
The sauces have a good level of thickness, stay on the skin of the chicken, drain slowly, and are, as I said above, the ideal partner (a match made in heaven) of wings. I liked the garlic one. Powerful, defining flavor with character. Then I was surprised by the soy one: good high point of salt, umami, contrasting, and get the best flavors from the wings. Then, among the traditional ones, the barbecue, good balance, the spicy itch, without having to call the fire department. And for those who like fruits, mango is a good option for more tropical flavors.
To complete this meal, the jalapeños poppers (breaded and filled with cream cheese) gave the note along with the mozzarella sticks, the celery, carrots, and their good ranch sauce. A whole fine-tuned chorus of flavors to ignite fun and joy in the house and make guests drool with envy by Zoom.
How to order Buffalo Joe? Buffalo Joe has the DNA of the express service since its inception, that is why it offers several communication channels: on its page https://buffalojoecr.com/ you can consult the menu, see the coverage area of its three stores, also know the promotions, or call 4033-3317 or through Uber Eats.
Tacopedia. I said it and I repeat it: Viva La Tacopedia, cabrones! It is the Mexican restaurant that came to change everything, transformed the taco business, the one that brought them closer to the town, to their friends, the restaurant that knocked down the elitist wall and bet on serving flavor, quantity, and quality at a good price in their taquizas. Long live La Tacopedia, cabrones!
I know that many went to La Tacopedia before the pandemic, you lined up to enjoy their food and, you miss it as much as I do. Well, don’t be afraid of their delivery, and trust me on this, that the product is as good as in the restaurant.
At lunch, we enjoyed a taquiza of ten, mixed, of meat al pastor and cochinita (my forever favorite), with a generous portion of meat, that made me turn to the package of tortillas that was in the fridge and still had carnitas for the omelet the next day.
Everything was there: the lemon, the tortillas with great flavor and good texture, ideal for tacos, the onion, the generous coriander. All packed in aluminum foil and biodegradable containers to help the environment and maintain the temperature. It was a joyful, sweet, fat sin. This is the Mexican food; this is how the good tacos are: without guilt because the cravings and enjoyment do not merit confessions: they are evident, and we show them with the same satisfaction that they gave us.
Tacopedia is open for public, with all the recommended and possible sanitation measures, with their usual promotions, now on express as well or to pick up. Let’s keep making it possible to say Viva La Tacopedia, Cabrones!
How to order in La Tacopedia? It is best to call 7006-6694 or also check promotions, hours, and platforms on your Facebook wall. They have their express for the vicinity (La Tacopedia is in La Sabana west, 100 east, and 200 south of Cemaco) and supports other platforms for more remote sites.
Kololo Ramen. I like people who are dedicated to ramen: they are spirits tormented by obsession, tortured by the desire for perfection, possessed by a Sisyphus of repetition that makes them teachers in the ancient method of work: effort, repetition, trial, error, do it again, try harder, go on, go on, go on, go on …
The problem is that you can get used to good things very easily. The bad thing is that the good cannot be habitual, because then it stops being special. The point is that now I measure the time in days without eating of Kololo Ramen.
In ramen everything is an obsession: from the perfect broth that has to be improved every day, the texture of the pig, the taste of the mushroom, the temperature at which the food is served, the effect of the soy sauce, and that the Decor reflects the spirit of the ramen: simple, austere, minimalist. And this is just the beginning.
All that spirit is in Kololo Ramen. All that flavor too. My friend Eyleen Vargas (a great photographer by the way) was right to invite me to go to Kololo. It is one of her favorites and she was kind enough to share with me her vision.
Kololo reopened these days after testing how its express menu would work. They carried out the rigorous investigations, tested with different packages until they found the right ones to maintain the temperature, avoid unwanted spills on the road, and that the experience was as good as on the locations. For that, they serve all the products separate from the broth, which travels separately in its cardboard cups in a bag. Everything reaches a good temperature and, if necessary, it is very easy to heat.
And yes, it was. Oh yeah. Our order was for three types of ramen: vegetarian, chicken, and pork. Plus, Chinese mustard and cucumber kimchi and their glorious Korean-style fried wings.
When the role is collective, it is difficult to decide which member to start with. I start with the vegetarian, the Janchi Gukso. With soft flavors, very pleasant notes of acidity, they allow the delight of the whole. Wheat noodles are thin, abundant, and each bite is identified: here the egg in strips, the mushrooms, and the other vegetables.
In the Chicken Shoyu Ramen, the noodles as rich as in the other broths, the breaded pieces of chicken breast, despite being soaked with the broth, keep crisp spots; the broth has roasted garlic as its protagonist, which adds acrid and forceful notes, which are tinged with chives.
The Shashu Ramen with tonkatsu broth (from pork bones, 16 hours of cooking) was spectacular: sweet, sour, and bitter sparks thanks to roasted, forceful, and greasy garlic, with umami that colonizes the entire palate and stays in the aftertaste for a long time. The firm-flavored noodles, the green of the chives give it a contrast of ferrous flavors and freshness, the belly of the pork unsurpassed, with small crispy sparks, soft as butter, good bite and sweet notes for the bbq sauce, cheerful on the palate (the pork always gives us joy) and ear mushrooms and shiitake are another contrast of flavor and texture.
The crown jewel of the Shashu Ramen is the ajitama egg: they are marinated for long hours in the soy sauce and acquire unimaginable flavors and textures. Creamy, tender, sweet and salty, spicy, with hardly noticeable notes reminiscent of chocolate and sugar mill; It is a complicit hug, unexpected, but desired and desirable, that secretly you want to repeat.
And I finish with the entries: the kimchi, both the Chinese mustard and the cucumber, very well done. They are somewhat complex flavors, ranging to spicy and sour tones (they are fermented vegetables) that bring out the best in the products and the process. Dare to try them with an open mind to discover a new world.
Finally, the Korean-style wings, with their traditional double frying that elevates crispness to another level, were as good as in the restaurant, they are always a surprise that you want me to discover. You can order sweet or spicy or half and a half in orders of eight. Mine was sweet, smeared with the sauce of the house. Suggestive, complicit, seductive.
How to order from Kololo Ramen? They have special hours due to sanitary restrictions, so it is better to call 2228-2816, check their Facebook wall, where they also notify of their promotions, or Uber Eats or at to pick up personally or through other courier services.
(Traducido del artículo original en español por Karina Bucher).
Did you like the review? Like my profile on Facebook, Instagram y YouTube. Support the restaurants that are still open, that work hard to comply with hygiene measures, to maintain working relationships with their valued collaborators, and to continue making you happy with their food.