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Dining at Isla Palenque
Foraged on land and harvested from the sea in centuries-old tradition, food in Panama doesn’t take itself too seriously – the country’s mouthwatering cuisine simply brings people to the communal table and sends them back out into the wilderness with full hearts and loosened belt buckles.
Dining experiences at our luxury eco-resort provide a window into the traditions and influences of Panamanian cuisine, taking a contemporary riff on Panama’s cocina tipica to create distinctive local fare that celebrates each ingredient's context: sea bass ceviche bursting with the flavors of passion fruit, lime and poblano, classic carimañolas that melt in your mouth quicker than you can eat them, and plantains caramelized in cinnamon over home-made ice cream.
Blending contemporary techniques, fresh ingredients, and age-old methods, our two restaurants elevate humble recipes beloved by Panamanians to the consummation of haute cuisine. Island dining is refined at Edén, and relaxed at Las Rocas: we’ve done away with fussy conventional formalities, skipped the over-the-top extravagance of modern gastronomic trends, and brought homegrown simplicity back to gourmet.
Enjoy reimagined Panamanian favorites and a few wholly new tropical creations, complemented by signature cocktails in a stunning oceanfront surround at our two restaurants:
Edén is the more formal of our two restaurants, but there’s nothing stuffy about it. At Edén, the tropical refinement of colonial Panama is revived for the modern palate in an unpretentious jungle-chic setting. Traditional Panamanian fare embraces a mélange of historical influences: the Spanish, French, Chinese, and settlers from both American continents have contributed their gastronomic traditions to Panama’s national cuisine, even as the ingredients continue to be sourced from the coastal waters and rich volcanic soil of the isthmus itself. Classic recipes are enhanced by produce from our organic farm and innovative flavor pairings, while modern gastronomic techniques enliven time-honored local favorites such as ropa vieja (braised beef) complimented by briny root vegetables, guacho mariscos (seafood soup) simmered with fresh herbs, and tamal del olla (polenta and chicken) balanced by a bright pepper puree. Pair Edén’s distinctive dishes with vintage cocktails of the Canal era: classic Latin cocktails, American cocktails with a tropical twist, and a couple of Isla Palenque signatures invented at the very spot where you sip.
Edén’s three-course dinner menu changes daily to ensure the freshest possible ingredients and a varied dining experience, but you can always look forward to the catch of the day, rich traditional fare, fresh vegetable accoutrements and vegetarian options, and decadent tropical desserts. Dine outdoors in our open-air pavilion for ocean views and breezes, or in the great room at the grand communal dining table for dinner-party-like intimacy. Edén is situated among the Estate Rooms overlooking Playa Primera, and serves refined small plates and snacks throughout the day, and a three-course dinner every evening.
*Guests staying in an Estate Room will take their breakfast at Edén, as a matter of convenience; the breakfast menu is the same at both restaurants.
Las Rocas will be a laid-back culinary escape on our largest beach, Playa Palenque. The desert island vibe becomes chic with eclectic, multi-cultural fare grilled to mouthwatering perfection. Marooned in the shade of the volcanic boulders piled one atop the other to form the towering jungle bluff whereby Las Rocas earns its name, our beachfront restaurant will tempt you to the ocean’s edge to delight in cocktails that tantalize the taste buds and fire-grilled food exploding with indulgent tropical flavor. A cushy, breeze-swept dining area will provide a view onto Las Rocas’ raison d'etre – the grill -- where everything from skirt steak to octopus to farm-cheese-topped flatbreads transforms into a smoky, toasted dish perfect any time of day.
The inspiration for our grilled cuisine is the beach bonfire, joined with the customs of our indigenous neighbors, who transform the simplest of ingredients into mouthwatering sustenance over their wood-burning fires. With the sparkling Pacific laid out ahead, dense green coconut groves and jungle behind, and the salty breeze stirring the appetite we’ve noticed that savoring fantastical cocktails and unexpected grilled meals has people wanting to share – and our menu encourages that. A selection of small plates, farm-fresh flatbreads, salads, and sandwiches stuffed with grilled meat, seafood, and vegetables pair well with our homemade ”fantasy island” cocktails designed to delight in as a table.
Equal parts satisfying and fun, the menu at Las Rocas is sure to introduce you to your new favorite indulgence, and the location will certainly set the scene for vibrant beach memories fueled by your senses. Both lunch and dinner will be served at Las Rocas; during rainy season food service will end at 6 pm.*Guests staying in a Tented Suite will take their breakfast at Las Rocas, as a matter of convenience; the breakfast menu is the same at both restaurants.
Breakfast on Isla Palenque
Breakfast is included in your room rate, and served to you at the restaurant nearest your room – Las Rocas for guests staying in the Tented Suites, Edén for guests staying in the Estate Rooms. Breakfast menus feature both international staples and Panamanian classics: eggs as you like, omelettes, and French toast are served every day, along with a variety of options for you to breakfast as Panamanians do, enjoying your morning coffee with savory bistec picado, delicate fried hojaldras, or the surprisingly healthy chayote and chorizo hash.
Beach Dining & Culinary Events
On occasion, we’ll transform the beach into an outdoor dining room for an immersed-in-nature culinary event featuring an exquisite tasting menu. As sunset suffuses the sky in fiery colors, crisp table linens and shining flatware adorn tables placed on Playa Palenque, transforming it into an intimate beach dining area illuminated by the last light of day… then candles. Our executive chef will prepare a ten-course dinner with intuitive drink pairings for an evening of dining sure to be remembered as one of the most magical of your lifetime. Our schedule of culinary events can be found on our Exclusives & Events page; if your stay does not coincide with any of our scheduled events, inquire about private event planning to design your own special dining experience on Isla Palenque.