RetroGusto is the new eatery located in the upper end of downtown Boquete, Panama, serving farm-to-table Italian foods, and offering a nice selection of beers, wines, and adult beverages. Several friends suggested my husband and I try RetroGusto even though the restaurant is still in the soft opening stages. I wanted to pass along to you how our dining experience measured up.
RetroGusto in the Heart of Downtown Boquete
RetroGusto is a gorgeous redo of an older downtown building. They have lovely seating arrangements with cool light fixtures and a seating nook with couches. The restaurant takes reservations for parties of 8 or more so arrived early to ensure a table.
The menu offers pizzas, pastas, salads, entrees, appetizers, and a soup of the day. I felt the menu was a bit too wordy to describe some basic things. Also, the two items I really wanted to try (Tortellini and Gnocchi) were not available that evening, even though we were the first customers of the night. Our table ended up choosing the Mushroom Risotto, Tagliatello with Spicy Sausage and Peppers, Meat Pizza, and the Crustacean Pasta. The Meat Pizza consisted of salami, chicken, and pepperoni. We began the meal by ordering the salads with goat cheese.
Our waiter was friendly enough, but not very knowledgeable of the menu, food items, or much English. Our salads arrived and unfortunately, I found them mediocre and bitter. The lettuce was topped with an odd choice of “croutons”, which were sticky in texture. The salad contained less than a half teaspoon of crumbled goat cheese, which was disappointing for me.
When the Crustacean Pasta was delivered, my friend was shocked. She had asked beforehand if the pasta had shrimp or prawns and was told it had jumbo prawns. Yet her entire meal consisted of salad-sized baby and a huge, single prawn on top of the dish. The Mushroom Ravioli was scantily stuffed with the mushroom mixture and the pizza tasted average. My Tagliatello had roughly 2 tablespoons of Italian sausage, 4-5 thin strips of peppers, and was very bland and in need of salt.
Overall Review and Best Wishes for the Future
All in all, my overall review of RetroGusto is that it is lovely inside and has a beautiful open kitchen in the back with a trendy vibe. The food was more hype than enjoyable and lacked real substance. The friendly owner came over at the end of our meal and offered many thanks for our visit. I hope RetroGusto can work out their issues and be successful in this primo location.
My Rating Scale 1 (lowest) to 10 (highest)= 6 1/2
RetroGusto Photo Gallery
Tip: We encountered some friends who had stopped in RetroGusto to order pizzas to go. Ninety minutes later, the pizzas were finally ready to go. Someone had forgotten to start the pizza oven in ample time for opening. Little things like that certainly need corrected before the grand opening.
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