Pantanegra Restaurante in Playa Del Carmen
Posted February 14, 2014on:
If you are lucky enough to get to Playa Del Carmen then I highly suggest you march straight over to Pantanegra restaurant for a lovely dinner! We were in Playa Del Carmen for 2 weeks and only found it on our second to last night there, what a shame! I would have eaten there far more often.
Pantanegra is a Spanish restaurant influenced by the Valencia region. They have been open for just a month now but you will see they are busy most nights. They are open for lunch, closed for an hour or so and then re-open at 7 for dinner. This gives them time to clean, re-stock and prep for dinner. The restaurant offers much wanted shade by day, outdoor dining and indoor when needed. The food is beautiful, so very tasty and the wine is worth going back for! We dealt mostly with Jaime who is Spanish but has very good English. I’m sure that is a big help in a tourist town where many of their guests are English speaking.
On our first night there we tentatively walked up the restaurant which is located on calle 26, close to 10th Ave. It was evening, the white lights twinkled, and then I noticed the candles in the big tree, that’s what got my eye! If someone is crazy enough to put a candle in a tree then by golly, I have to eat there! Frankly there was no signage so I had no idea what kind of food we would get but I like living on the edge!
Jaime came right over and offered us a wine list and I asked him what red he recommended, he brought over a lovely red from Spain and it was perfect. We sipped our wine and he quickly brought over an ‘amuse-bouche’ of pork tenderloin on toast points with a light bruschetta. I can’t have the toast but I did take a piece of the pork as I justified to myself, surely the tomato would stop the bread from touching the meat! I had to try it, it was just so pretty looking. The meat was absolutely melt in your mouth good. My husband who had the whole experience of bruschetta/bread and pork said it was a fabulous combination.The fact that I had never seen this combination before gave me the impression that this place was going to be good.
They like to serve their meals tapas style so they bring one dish out at a time and you share that dish. I love that idea. We really enjoyed our first dish of beef tenderloin in a white wine sauce, served with pine nuts. Again, a combination that was out of this world where your mouth is dancing when the food hits it! I loved it.
Next came our Paella which was a mixed chicken and seafood paella dish that was just so wonderful. We thoroughly enjoyed it and didn’t leave a crumb for the birds or anybody for that matter! It had great flavor, I’m thinking there was saffron in there, a great mix of seafood and it was sizzling when it arrived at our table. What fun to share a dish like that.
Jaime tried to get us to do dessert but truly it is rare for me to find a dessert in a restaurant that is gluten-free and dairy free. This is beside the fact that we were stuffed! So Jaime insisted he’d bring us a liquid dessert. sure enough moments later he showed up with sherry on ice and it was brilliant. I have not really ever been a fan but it was so refreshing and just the right touch to finish off a meal. I was very impressed and left a very happy camper.
With just one more dinner left to have in Playa Del Carmen we had to decide where to have a dinner, a big decision for me. Food is a huge part of my travelling experience. Having eaten at so many wonderful places while in Playa, there was not a doubt when I said to Denis, let’s hit Pantenegra again! And so we did.
On this our last night, Jaime brought over a beautifully presented dish of roasted veggies with goat cheese. You have to picture a plate that is drizzled with a brown sauce, then in the center a round stack of roasted eggplant, then topped with roasted red peppers and topped with melted goat cheese. It was absolutely wonderful in flavor and presentation!
We followed that by a calamari dish that was so good I wanted to lick the plate, but I’m thinking that might have been frowned upon! Because the paella was so good, we had another one of those and it was just as good as the night before! I have to say this is the best paella I have ever had so you must go and try it!
In my opinion is this were a restaurant in my home town, I’d visit it as often as possible. The chef is very talented, the service staff friendly, the atmosphere is warm, elegant and yet fun and an experience to just be a part of it! Please visit Jaime when you are in town and tell him Sweet Marie sent you!