COCHABAMA Mexican Restaurant

I had noticed that a new Mexican restaurant was opening up. It is on the street behind Super99. Yesterday, I tried it out.

It was 1 PM when we arrived at the restaurant. The waitress came and told us about the comida del dia. I asked to see a menu. She said that if you wanted Mexican food, it would not be available until after 3PM. She did say that they could fix tacos if I wanted them.

She did bring a menu then so I could see what was offered if you came later. No photos as I only had my cell phone. However, the menu had steaks, burritos, enchilada, taco plates and margaritas for $2.75.

The Mexican food plates were all around $6.00. Two of us ordered a taco plate and one ordered a hamburger.

The restaurant is an open air, no AC, restaurant that does have a Mexican flair in its decoration.

I had enchiladas in my mind before I found out that they were not available until 3:00. A pitcher of water and three glasses were brought to the table. There was no ice in the pitcher or glasses.

Here is a photo of my taco plate.

The tortillas were cold and the meat inside had a hint of heat. The dab of re-fried beans were warm, but not hot. The flavor was alright.

I asked about the hamburger and was told that it was a typical Panamanian hamburger and a McDonald’s would have tasted better.

The total bill for two taco plates and a hamburger and fries was $16.70+. I may return to try the enchiladas some day, but my expectations are not all that high. All in all this was a disappointment.

33 thoughts on “COCHABAMA Mexican Restaurant

  1. Oh, you picky old Gringo! You didn’t even say whether there was more than one ketchup bottle and if the hot sauce was homemade or store-bought.


  2. There was one bottle of hot sauce. It was taken away when the next customer came in. Everything seemed homemade except the bottled hot sauce.

  3. How funny… Cochabamba is a prominent Bolivian city, and the word itself (like all that end in “bamba”) is Quechua, common in the Andean region — no relation to Mexico whatsoever. Sort of like naming an Italian restaurant “The Munich Cafe”… Somehow, I’m not surprised that the “Mexican” food at a place with a purely South American name was disappointing — it’s very amusing, however. Thanks as always for another useful restaurant review.

  4. …Another Mexican restaurant with the same old fashioned Panamenian administration….remember……Mexico for the Mexicans…..Orale…!!!!!!

  5. Dear Don,

    How interesting! My spouse, PJ and I are contemplating moving to Boquete or David sometime late this summer. We had a discussion today, on what to do with our remains if one of us should die there & I popped the question in Google, leading to your recent article on Paul…. Sad & Scary!! You answered my questions about cremation (what we would want) precisely, better than anyone else possibly could given that situation, for that I applaud you!!

    Then…I wandered about your site and read your Mexican restaurant review. One of our requirements in life (having lived in Dallas, TX for over 30 yrs) is having Mexican or MexTex food at LEAST once a week, hot, tasty and spicy. Even here in Rochester, NY where we are at the moment (unfortunately), we can get green Chama Chili (w/pork), Chili Rellenos w/either beef, pork or cheese, enchiladas (beef with red sauce or chicken w/sourcream sauce), tacos, empanadas, chimichangas, tostadas, etc. etc. the tortilla soup also has chicken and avocado as well as the usual sides of rice and refritos and corn chips with salsa (of course)! I SUPPOSE I would trade that, to be rid of my present, HORRIBLE, high property taxes, high cost of living, since I know how to cook these things very well for myself. Tell you what, you seem like a very nice man, when we move there, would you like to come to our house to eat Mexican food?? Also, do you think that if I sent my favorite Maxican food cook book to the restaurant before we got there it would help??

    Sincerely Yours,
    Joanie and PJ Trahan

  6. Hi Joanie. If you are looking for good TexMex you will be sadly disappointed in what you find in Panama. I have not found good TexMex. I have found some satisfactory Mexican food restaurants, but that is it. I have had good tortilla soup and enough other substitutes, that I get by, but all trips to Texas include many evenings of TexMex dining.

  7. Where have you found satisfactory Mexican food? Not anywhere I have been in Boquete or anywhere else for that matter. I was raised on Mexican and maybe my standards are high but frankly I would settle for Taco Bell over any place I have been to here (not to belittle Taco Bell of course).
    I love cooking real Mexican however I am not in the restaurant business but I can tell you if someone would open a real Mexican or Tex Mex joint I would support them with just my business.

  8. I like the mole at Antojitos in Boquete. I like some of the things at Restaurante Aztec in Concepcion. I also like some of the things at Mrs. Mendozas. I also have a little neighborhood restaurant called Los Comales that I enjoy going to.

    However nothing compares to Casita Dominguez or Ojedas in Dallas.

  9. Hi DR – when I saw your posting regarding the Cochabamba, I thought you’d put up an old post and an old picture. A couple of years ago, a restaurant with the same name (and same signage it appears) – and claiming to serve Mexican food – occupied a building since demolished and replaced with the Plaza Real, location of St. George’s Bank and Kotowa coffee among other businesses. If this is the same restaurant and same menu, we’ll be giving it a pass. Thanks for the heads-up.

  10. Hi DSD. I can’t say. I guess this is the first time I had noticed this sign. You most likely are correct. You normally are.

  11. Sin lugar a dudas es el mismo COCHABAMBA que estaba antes en lo que es ahora Plaza Real (Sant George Bank, Kotowa Cofee) y con el mismo diseño del logo, pero antes de COCHABAMBA se llamaba EL ZARAPE y creo que en ambas vendian comida mexicana y que cerro sus puertas para dar paso a PLAZA REAL, pero el de ahora que se encuentra detras del Mercado Público de San Mateo, habria que cuestionarse si son los mismos dueños y con el mismo cocinero

  12. The last time I was at Antojito’s (quite a while ago), I watched while a commercially labeled glass jar of mole was opened and poured into a saucepan. Then a couple of other ingredients were added (probably the puerco or carne) and finally all was poured over rice. So, sorry to burst your bubble, Don Ray, but you can buy that mole at El Rey or Super Baru or Romero’s in Boquete. I actually think it’s made in the U.S. One of our southeast LA friends from Mexico swore by it. May not be Oaxacan – but close.

  13. No bubble burst here. I am well aware of the jars of mole at El Rey and Super Baru and have bought it several times and currently have a jar in the refrigerator. That doesn’t distract from my liking it at Antojitos.

  14. Now I’m really hungry for TexMex. I think I’ll fly my private jet I keep in David to Texas tomorrow night for dinner. It seats 8 and Don can ride co-pilot if he wants to go…

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    “Tex-Mex” is a term used to describe a regional American cuisine that blends food products available in the United States and the culinary creations of Mexican-Americans influenced by the cuisines of Mexico. The cuisine has spread from border states such as Texas and those in the Southwestern United States to the rest of the country. In some places, particularly outside of Texas, “Tex-Mex” is used to describe a localized version of Mexican cuisine. It is common for all of these foods to be referred to as “Mexican food” in Texas, parts of the United States, and some other countries. In other ways it is Southern cooking using the commodities from Mexican culture. In many parts of the U.S. outside Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, the term is synonymous with Southwestern cuisine.

    Tex-Mex cuisine originated hundreds of years ago when Spanish/Mexican recipes combined with Anglo fare. “Tex-Mex” first entered the English language as a nickname for the Texas Mexican Railway, chartered in southern Texas in 1875.
    In train schedules published in the newspapers of the 1800s the names of railroads were abbreviated. The Missouri Pacific was called the Mo. Pac. and the Texas-Mexican was abbreviated Tex. Mex. In the 1920s the hyphenated form was used in American newspapers in reference to the railroad and to describe people of Mexican descent who were born in Texas.

    In the mission era, Spanish and Mexican Indian foods were combined in Texas as in other parts of the Northern Frontier of New Spain. However, the cuisine that would come to be called Tex-Mex actually originated with Tejanos (Texans of Hispanic descent) as a hybrid of Spanish and native Mexican foods when Texas was part of New Spain and later Mexico.
    From the South Texas region between San Antonio and the Rio Grande Valley, this cuisine has had little variation and from earliest times has always been influenced by the cooking in the neighboring northern states of Mexico. The ranching culture of South Texas and northern Mexico straddles both sides of the border. A taste for cabrito (kid goat), barbacoa de cabeza (barbecued cow heads), carne seca (dried beef), and other products of cattle culture is common on both sides of the Rio Grande. In the 20th century Tex-Mex took on such Americanized elements such as yellow cheese as goods from the United States became cheap and readily available.

    A 1968 Los Angeles Times piece claimed that “if the dish is a combination of Old World cooking, hush-my-mouth Southern cuisine and Tex-Mex, it’s from the Texas hill country.”
    The Oxford English Dictionary supplies the first-known uses in print of “Tex-Mex” in reference to food, from a 1963 article in the New York Times Magazine, and a 1966 item in the Great Bend (Kansas) Tribune. Diana Kennedy, an influential food authority, explained the distinctions between Mexican cuisine and Americanized Mexican food in her 1972 book The Cuisines of Mexico. Robb Walsh of the Houston Press said that the book “was a breakthrough cookbook, one that could have been written only by a non-Mexican. It unified Mexican cooking by transcending the nation’s class divisions and treating the food of the poor with the same respect as the food of the upper classes.” Another early instance in print appeared in the Mexico City News in 1973. Award-winning Texas food writer Robb Walsh (of the Houston Press) updated Kennedy and put her comments regarding Tex-Mex cooking into historical and socio-political perspective in The Tex-Mex Cookbook: A History in Recipes and Photos (New York: Broadway Books, 2004).

    Some ingredients are common in Mexican cuisine, but ingredients unknown in Mexico are often added. Tex-Mex cuisine is characterized by its heavy use of melted cheese, meat (particularly beef), beans, and spices, in addition to Mexican-style tortillas. Texas-style chili con carne, chili con queso, chili gravy, and fajitas are all Tex-Mex inventions.[citation needed] A common feature of Tex-Mex is the combination plate, with several of the above on one large platter. Serving tortilla chips and a hot sauce or salsa as an appetizer is common in Tex-Mex restaurants. Moreover, Tex-Mex has imported flavors from other spicy cuisines, such as the use of cumin (common in Indian food but used in only a few Central Mexican recipes).

  15. After 38 years in Southern Arizona I love Sonoran style Mexican food it is similar to Tex-Mex but has it’s regional difference such as the use of fresh green chilies. In Chiriqui I believe Sonoran cuisine is found only in my kitchen; a tragedy indeed.

  16. Lees blog brought me to this site, as I follow his blog just about every day.
    Living in Houston for 40 yrs I`m very partial to Tex Mex, have it most every week. And after I visit my “home country” of Sweden , the first thing I do when back “home” in US is to have Tex Mex….

    but when I was in Boquete in February, I went to a mexican Restaurant once only , but thought it was pretty good…its about a block from Olgas Punta de Equentro ,if I recall correctly , rigyht off the main street? Maybe i lucked out?

    a question…IF one lives in Boquete, are there canned goods for Salsa etc? so one can cook some Tex Mex at home?

  17. Tom says:
    May 31, 2010 at 11:57 am

    There’s a difference between Mexican food and Tex-Mex?
    as far as I can tell, there is…”we” in Houston call it Tex Mex or Mex Mex…Tex Mex is more common here,what we call Mex Mex is usually higher end Mexican foods at higher prices, in fancier Restaurants, and what I think is more like “rich Mexicans food”…but what do I know, I`m just a ‘ferner’ here in the US anyway…LOL

  18. Hola Don! I will come back for a week around Thanksgiving…might try Antojitos then ,guess I`ll ask around for it….and sure make your own salsa sounds great, as long as I have a good recipe! lol…been spoiled here with so many good salsas in Houston….(and they are NOT made in NY! LOL)

    No idea on the name of the place I ate at in Boquete, but will certainly try out Antojitos….. also, as I cook quite a bit myself , (mostly French ,Italian and Swedish) I am thinking it would be fairly easy to grow your own herbs there ,especially Dill, which I really cant in Houstons heat…

  19. Just for the record, the owners are not Panamanians, I think it belongs to the same people of Java Juice

  20. this made me hungry , had to go to “La Fiesta” a hole in the wall tex Mex place off I10 in Houston , for lunch!

  21. I will fly through Houston, but on to Dallas and then will drive to Austin and then a side trip to Odessa. With all of that, I should get my fair share of TexMex.

  22. Don , sounds like it….I drive up to Dallas/FtW or over to Austin (and San Antionio) quite often as we build there too….lots of good Tex Mex places in all the cities….

    made the mistake once ,driving with my dad up to our farm in Virginia in the 80s, to order “Mexican food”in Virginia….bad mistake!

    looking forward to try to find Antojitos in late November when I visit again!

  23. Coming soon to Panama amigos an authentic mexican and tex mex restaurant by the name Los Reyes Grill and Cantina !!! I´m originally from Guadalajara, Jalisco and I´m looking forward to start my business in Panama this year . Hope te see you there and be of your election mis amigos ! Will be serving fresh guacamole, pico de gallo, fresh salsas , steak, pastor and alambre tacos and much more !

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