Buenaventura’s beach community in Panama keeps growing and growing. This year they’ve teamed up with chef Mario Castrellon and opened up a new pizza place in the Puntarena village of the resort. Since I can’t eat pizza or pasta, I ordered basically anything else on the menu and I can’t explain how good and utterly satisfying my experience was.
I had a refreshing Aperol Spritz at the bar overlooking the pizza oven, while I was waiting to be seated at my table and admiring the decor. For starters, I had a delicate tuna tataki appetizer. Then came a plantain soup which I was hesitant about at first. We eat a lot of plantain in Panama and it can be quite overwhelming and heavy at times. But the soup blew me away. Sweet and savory concoctions always get me. And the velvety, almost fluffy texture was divine. Finally, my entree was grilled octopus with polenta. I couldn’t fit it all in but I would’ve licked the plate if I could’ve! Mario is sort of an expert with octopus. It’s not easy to make it so that you don’t even need a knife to cut it, but he’s got that down to a t.
If you’re ever in Panama and go to the beaches of the Pacific, I highly recommend stopping by Buenaventura to eat at Mansa! And do try the pizza if you can, I’ve heard wonders!
Photos of me by Jose Castrellon. Photos of the food and decor by me.