Entertainment | Restaurants & Dining | August 2009
|Ah Caramba! Serves Up Scrumptious Seafood and Jaw-Dropping Views|
Roberta Rand - SF Productions
Puerto Vallarta - "Are we there yet?" you may well ask, as you shift your car into low gear for the final ascent up narrow Calle Ecuador. The drive to the top of this steep stone street in the heart of El Centro is worth the effort, however, when you finally arrive at Restaurant Ah Caramba!, perched on the apex of the hill.
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The story goes that the restaurant was named when the very first customer ascended the short staircase to the main patio and uttered the phrase upon glimpsing the sweeping 180-degree, point-to-point view of Banderas Bay. "In clear weather," says manager Marco Polo Romero Orozco, "you can see all the way to Bucerias and Punta Mita."
Anchored like the prow of a ship on a nearly vertical hillside, Ah Caramba! commands not only the view but also the cool breezes that fan out from Banderas Bay. While the folks far below on the Malecón must contend with the town's heat and noise, Ah Caramba! benefits from its altitude, caressed by quiet - except for the pleasant "oldies" music playing at reasonable volume over the restaurant sound system.
Ah Caramba! is a true family restaurant. Bartender Edgar Ramon Romero Orozco confidently presides over the restaurant's beautifully carved bar, while Beatriz de Romero serves as cashier and mans the Ah Caramba! souvenir booth.
Among the signature dishes prepared by the restaurant's chefs, Armando Yepez Verdusco and Noe Cibrian Peña, is Jumbo Shrimp for Two, prepared with butter, garlic, lemon, white wine and béchamel sauce. Another favorite is Fish Fillet Ah Caramba! - grilled fish sautéed and served with béchamel sauce, sweet peppers, onions, mushrooms and topped with shrimp. Sergio Ismael Amezcua Rodriquez prepares a killer guacamole.
Ah Caramba! was originally the family home of Marco Polo Romero, who worked his whole life in the restaurants and hotels of Puerto Vallarta. Along the way he got the idea to transform the house into a restaurant. Ah Caramba! opened in 1996, specializing in seafood and traditional Mexican dishes. Marco's son took over the business 11 years ago, but the senior Marco Polo, 55, still buys all the produce, meat and seafood.
Marco explains, "We have our own divers who go out daily to get lobster from Los Arcos and Yelapa. Currently, our shrimp is delivered from Mazatlan. We also serve fresh-caught Mahi Mahi and Red Snapper."
Ah Caramba! is a popular spot for engagements, weddings and birthdays, and can fully cater groups of up to 120. Located at 1071 Calle Ecuador, the restaurant is open from 12 pm to 11 pm 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Directions: turn left at the PEMEX station as you enter downtown Puerto Vallarta just before the Malecón and go up the hill to Ecuador Street. Turn right - then go up, up, up!
Roberta Rand is Public Relations Manager for SF Productions TV, a full service production and marketing company in Puerto Vallarta. Prior to relocating to Mexico from Colorado Springs with her dog, Bo, Roberta worked as a magazine editor, web editor and marketing copywriter. She is also an essayist and author, whose book "Playing the Tuba at Midnight" explored the quirks of living single.
To learn more about SF Productions, click HERE or visit SFProductionsTV.com.