Tapas Aragon in El Cangrejo
Friday, October 03 2008 @ 07:48 am EDT
Contributed by: Don Winner
By Clyde Jenkins for Panama-Guide.com - I had written earlier about the difference between just eating and fine dining. So when Don Winner asked me to do a review of Restaurante Tapas Aragon, a Spanish restaurant located in El Cangrejo on Calle D, about a block from the front of the Hotel Veneto and next to what used to be the Expat Center, I was gearing myself up for finding a category somewhere between the two experiences. Boy was I pleasantly surprised. Gina, my hot little Colombiana novia (age 50) and I were greeted by the owner Miguel Sastre last Friday night. I was mildly surprised, the place is small, but simple and elegant. No pretensions or ostentation, just simple understatement. There are only seven table inside which makes it very cozy and intimate with two more tables on a patio, which is a big bonus for smokers like me. (more)
The staff is very attentive and amicable and you can see a gleam of intelligence in their eyes which is important to those of you who are tired of being waited on by people who are totally brain dead. I would grade the staff as near excellent. The place is immaculate, I even checked out the baños, sparkling. There is adequate parking in the rear of the building. The building has a ramp in the rear and anyone requiring wheelchair access can come into the restaurant without a problem.
Now as to the food. Tapas Aragon features Spanish food with a full menu and specializes in "Tapas" which are appetizers. While I would have loved to explore the entire menu (they even have paella which is one of my all time favorites), I asked Miguel to prepare a variety of "Tapas" for Gina and I to share so we could explore a broad variety of dishes. We started with a "Croquetas de Garbanzo" which I had never had before and found it very nice although I‘m not especially fond of garbanzo beans. We then had "Calamares Apanados" (Breaded Squid) and "Langostinos Apanados" (Breaded and deep fried prawns). Both were absolutely wonderful, especially the calamari, it was so sweet and tender and not the least bit greasy. This was followed by tortilla (soufflé) Española which wasn’t much to my liking, but that is a personal preference and it was excellently prepared. We also had a very special treat, "Montadito de Bacalao", which is a poached cod on bread with a mild salsa and melted cheese. In the middle of all this we had what was one of the greatest things I’ve ever eaten, "Mejillones al Ajo", green mussels in garlic butter. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven, I‘ve never had mussels as good as Miguel prepared. For you garlic lovers this is an absolute must, and it isn’t overpowering, it‘s just something magical. The next time I go there to do a follow-up (hint, hint) I’m going to pig out on the mussels. By this point Gina and I were both stuffed, with big smiles on our faces. It is so wonderful to have really great food. Thank you Miguel. I give Tapas 4 stars, reserving a possible fifth star for my follow-up (hint, hint, again).
The menu and prices: Tapas has a full menu with a large salad selection; tapas for $1.50 to $3.50, sandwiches for $2.50 to $3.50, pastas $5.00 to $6.00, chicken dishes $6.00 to 7.50 for cordon bleu, steaks from $7.50 to $10.00 for filet mignon and seafood from $8.25 to $12.75 for langostinos and paella for two for $15.00. The also feature a moderately priced executive lunchtime menu with daily specials.
I’d appreciate getting some feed back from you folks who love good food. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know what you think or write a comment at the end of this article. Bon Appetit.
Their hours are: Monday through Wednesday 11:30 am to 9:00 pm, Thursday through Saturday 11:30 am to 10:00 pm. Telephone number 399-3884. Ample parking behind the building. Clyde Jenkins aka oldmanandthesea.