Restaurants At The End Of The World

Boquete, a picturesque Panamanian town of approximately 25,000 is located only 37 miles from the Costa Rican border and has always been a top retirement haven for expats worldwide. Nestled on the side of Panama’s inactive and only volcano, Baru, Boquete enjoys spring-like weather year-round and sits at an altitude of approximately 4,000 feet.


Known for producing some of the best coffee in the world, Boquete is alive with activities including farmers’ markets, a thriving art scene, golf and equestrian facilities, exceptional farm-to-table restaurants, a European bakery, smoked and fresh meat markets, yoga retreats, and an almost universal active lifestyle. So, you can imagine when I heard about a new television series entitled “Restaurants At The End Of The World”, I was stunned to hear the very first episode would feature a restaurant in Boquete!


Seriously? The End Of The World!

“The end of the world?” I rolled over in my head with a touch of resentment, having expected to hear about a quaint place in say, Ushuaia, Argentina whose nickname is actually “End of the World”. 


The show is hosted by the winner of Top Chef 10, Kristen Kish, an engaging Korean-American who sports a terrific smile and tells viewers the back story of how a remote restaurant came to be. She also creates drama and anxious moments, just to keep the viewers engaged. Having been on House Hunters International, I am keenly aware of how the producers create semi-reality shows with a few little less than accurate comments.


The serious drama for the Boquete restaurant comes when Kish points out a big hole in the kitchen cabinetry where a stove is missing and then looks over at a very sad 30-year-old blender and a pathetic-looking toaster oven. The owner explains how it is difficult in Panama to get appliances and indicates he and his wife have been waiting months.


Chef Rolando Chamorro and his wife Gabriella Carlsson, own and run their restaurant, Hacienda Mamecillo which is featured on the first episode of “Restaurants At The End Of The World” which can be seen on the National Geographic and Disney stations. Kristen Kish (center), winner of Top Chef Season 10 is the host and star.

Plenty of Available Appliances in Boquete

In reality, there are any number of stores in Boquete as well as the next and much larger city, David, which could have replacement appliances in the restaurant in short order. While Kish hiked up the volcano and the inference was that an oven would need to be perhaps carried up on someone’s back, the reality is that 4X4 vehicles climb the volcano daily. Toss in a blender and toaster oven!


As the show continues and the music grows more dire, Kish and the restaurant’s owner can’t catch any fish with their spears so ceviche was not going to be on the menu. I thought about suggesting a stop in town where freshly caught fish was on sale (for a very good price), but then again it would have been much too easy. They were already cooking everything on an open fire because of the missing stove/oven!


There were lots of positive comments about how the rainforest mist, plus the rich volcano soil turned the hills around Boquete into the “world’s greatest outdoor grocery”. A fruit, the naranjilla often used in Panamanian cooking, tasty yellow edible flowers found along the hiking path, different types of squash and other vegetables were extolled for their unique taste and freshness. Somehow the “ceviche” was going to be revamped with these vegetables. Would that be ceviche?


In Comes Charlie Collins!

Charlie Collins, the Panamanian chef credited with exploring the different vegetable offerings unique to the isthmus has written cookbooks that reflect the history of Panama’s indigenous cooking. He loves to pursue the vegetable markets in Boquete and create a positive “human connection over food.”

The famous Panamanian chef and hotelier, Charlie Collins just happens to be coming to dinner with around 30 of his closest friends on the night Kish is in town filming the television show. Of course, they show up in a giant turf-eating bus with many of the women in stilettos and fancy dresses. End of the world? I mumble.


The dinner with smoked chicken (yes, the chicken is slaughtered), fire-cooked bread and goat cheese with pickled vegetables from the farm and a stunning strawberry cream dessert goes well with only three people in the kitchen, who also serve the meal. The well-curated wine clearly comes from somewhere other than the owner’s privately created stock and no one mentions how enough bottles for thirty arrived up the mountain!


A Sense Of Community

While I will always question the term “end of the world”, I will agree with the closing lines of the show that Boquete provides “a sense of community”. It is obvious why so many individuals select the area for retirement, relocation, remote work, and investment.


Boquete is uniquely its own, with temperature weather, easy driving distance to both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean, loaded with locally grown vegetables and farm-to-market protein offerings from fish to goats, cows, chickens and lamb. Because of its popularity, Boquete has always had a shortage of high-end rental properties.


The chayote vegetable is from the gourd family and is usually served lightly cooked. It also goes well raw in salads and salsas. It was featured on the show, “Restaurants At The End Of The World”.

Introducing Pinoalto In Boquete

However, Panama’s largest and most respected real estate developer, Empresas Bern, has just begun a high-end residential development of condo-suites in Boquete. Pinoalto is not located at the end of the world, but rather inside the Boquete Country Club which features an equestrian center, tennis courts, swimming pools and other amenities such as a world-class spa, jacuzzi and sauna, several covered and open social areas and high-speed internet.

Located 3,900 feet into the cloud forest, Boquete offers golf courses with stunning views and great year-round spring-like weather.


Several Floor Plans Embracing Lush Surroundings

Pinoalto will be developed in sections and will include social areas, restaurants and a medical facility. The units which range from 1,000 to 1,500 square feet offer sweeping terraces, come fully furnished and can be used as a residence or investment. On-site property management is available.


Boquete is a charming area in the secure Chiriqui providence with the Caldera River, which runs within the city limits, adding a unique feel. Nestled among the world’s best coffee plantations and jungle refuges, Boquete has long been called one of the best places to retire. 

The Pinoalto project encourages community by offering communal workstations, hiking paths and social areas.


I’d love to discuss with you the details of Pinoalto and even make reservations at the restaurant, Hacienda Mamecillo. I hear it’s become very busy since the show aired!