This post is also available in: Spanish
Origenes Restaurant, located in the maze of one way streets of Obarrio, is so big that is it hard to miss, yet many seem to be unaware of this hidden jewel that offers a menu that will satisfy any palate. Its cuisine is a Spanish fusion with a touch of Mediterranean cuisine.
There are two menus for the elegant main dining area and the bar. For lunch the restaurant fills up with a business crowd. Two private rooms with capacity for eight and twelve people offer the technology for those who need privacy to host business presentations.
At night an adult crowd is divided between couples who sit in the dining area and those who visit the Tasca bar. A terrace allows smokers a place to mingle. Live music is played on weekends.
The bar has a tapas menu, typical of Spain, to share after 5 p.m. Try the papas bravas, fried potato cubes covered with a spicy brava sauce ($6) or get a platter of imported Manchego cheese and serrano ham ($14). The tapas menu also includes sandwiches, hamburgers and four paella options: seafood, Valenciana (pork, chicken and seafood), vegetarian, and earth (chorizo, pork and chicken).
From the dining menu try as an appetizer a ceviche roll of corvina fish wrapped with avocado with a teriyaki sauce reduction ($12) or the wantons filled with chistorra (Spanish chorizo) and piquillo (preserved red peppers) ($12).
For a main dish a good choice would be the Ravioli a la Española filled with pumpkin, covered with Spanish sauce of tomato, onion, laurel, sugar, salt, and Parmesan flakes ($16). Another delicious option is the seafood zarzuela with a red vegetable based sauce with prawns, calamari, shrimp, clams, and mussels served with jasmine rice ($23).
For dessert the Manchego cheesecake is a must, a cookie crust filled with Manchego cheese, covered with candied pineapple, nuts and caramel ($7) or the flan crocante, layers of flan, praliné and custard ($7).
Origenes’ Cava has a wine list of over 80 options from Spain, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, California, France, Italy, Germany, Portugal, South Africa, Australia, Lebanon and Israel.
Chef, Cecilia Russo, has been head chef of the restaurant for four years. This Panamanian chef studied culinary arts in the Interamericana University, then did an internship in La Ancha, a famous restaurant in Madrid, where she fell in love with Spanish food.
Origenes Restaurant is open Monday through Saturday from 12-3 p.m. and 6-10:30 p.m. and Sundays from 12-7 p.m.
For reservations call 393-2416 / 393-2419 or visit www.origenespanama.com.