Entertainment | Restaurants & Dining | May 2009
|Restaurant Week at Banana Cantina|
Gary R. Beck - PVNN
ChocoBananaCantina owner 'Queen' Debbi Egan's exotic contemporary 2nd floor gathering space is an open air restaurant decorated in a modern style. Handmade features like the whimsical ceramic roosters, bright lime and red painted walls, the west-facing shades in vibrant colors that are pulled down when the sun shines too brightly, and hanging metal globes with cutouts that illuminate the evenings, add to the restaurant's elegant, yet warm and inviting, atmosphere.
|Banana Cantina offers an exciting Restaurant Week menu full of Contemporary Mexican Cuisine and International favorites served in a uniquely creative & fun atmosphere. Call (322) 222-2114 for reservations.|
Add to that the stylish glazed concrete and foam tables with iron bases, seats with cushions of saddle leather and large plush banquettes with leather upholstery and here, one is made to feel at home, needing only an Ottoman for your feet to stretch out and relax.
At bANANAcANtiNA, traditional and contemporary Mexican cuisine is always beautifully presented. During Restaurant Week, we started with nicely crisp Spring Rolls stuffed with shrimp, carrot and cabbage, accompanied with wasabi and sliced pickled ginger. Sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds, they were nestled on Asian Hoisin sauce.
Room temperature Open-Faced Baguette was topped with refried beans, beef and cheese. A spiritedly flavored Guacamole and salsa Méxicana added flavors to the dish. Four Adobo Chicken Tacos, resembling flour tortilla taquitos, were accented by the same two mixtures in addition to vinegar-sautéed onions. The sauce was bright red and rich in medium spicy pepper flavors.
Avocado Enchiladas in the same Adobo sauce intrigued us. The interior mild avocado blended well with the tasty sauce. The portion was generous and delightful. Achiote Pork, cochinita pibil, was nicely shredded with the meat moist, succulent and nongreasy. This is a traditional Mexican dish cooked in a banana leaf, a natural parchment paper, which was laid alongside as a colorful appropriate garnish. This little touch highlighted the importance of a long-loved and respected recipe. Smooth mashed potatoes and tempura vegetables lay alongside.
Divine Crab Raviolis were thin soft house made pasta stuffed with a generous portion of crab meat. The sauce was a rich creamy fresh basil sauce, having a slight sweetness. Again, the portion was filling. No one leaves this restaurant hungry.
A visit to this dining establishment is not complete without a taste of what made this all happen, the Choco Banana. Downstairs the café is maintained, now serving fine breakfasts, and always the signature banana covered with chocolate and chopped nuts. Sample one to learn why this business flourishes after a number of years.
A Homemade Brownie with intense Mexican chocolate was served in a glass with fried plantain and big dollops of whipped cream. That dessert does not make the rounds at a table. The most unusual option was Napoleon made with layers of crisp thin cookies, each holding a portion of fresh strawberries, chocolate syrup and whipped cream. The crunchy and soft textures were intriguing.
bANANAcANtiNA Restaurante presents old-style dishes but adds modern twists that excite your taste buds and encourage a return visit.
The author was supplied one choice in each of the 3 courses on the special Restaurant Week menu for this review, which is in no way connected to his independent restaurant guide, "Puerto Vallarta Restaurant Guide Beck's Best," where write-ups receive no compensation.
Restaurant Week continues through May 31st at some of the most recognized restaurants in Puerto Vallarta. For a list of participating restaurants and Restaurant Week 2009 reviews click HERE.
Located on the corner of Pulpito and Amapas in the Romantic Zone of Puerto Vallarta, Banana Cantina Restaurant serves creative Contemporary Mexican and International Cuisine in an eclectic, yet comfortable, atmosphere. For more information, click HERE or visit BananaCantina.com.