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“Local Food at Local Prices”
Review of Fonda de la Merry

Fonda de la Merry
Ranked #77 of 115 Restaurants in Boquete
Cuisines: Central American
Restaurant details
Reviewed August 3, 2013

We ate lunch at La Fonda de la Merry, a little restaurant that is frequented pretty much only by the locals. The three of us had 3 plates of food, 2 small glasses of orange juice and one can of coconut water for $9.25.

Location: The restaurant is tucked away on the southwest corner of the intersection of Ave. A Este and Calle 5 Sur. It's one block south of the Romero supermarket.

Decor: Well, it's a simple local eatery. It's clean and they have mostly outdoor seating. That's about it.

Food: The lunch menu consisted of three choices - roasted chicken (pollo asado), stewed chicken (pollo guisado), smoked beef with onions (tasajo encebollado). So since there were three of us, we got all three. Each dish came with a small salad consisting of shredded lettuce and a slice of tomato with dab of mayonnaise and a heaping pile of white rice and a bowl of beans. The roasted chicken and stewed chicken tasted exactly the same; the only difference being that the stewed chicken was juicier. Both were flavorful and well seasoned. We were split on the tasajo. If you don't like tough and chewy meat, then you will definitely not like it. Or to put it another way, if you have not enjoyed the beef in Panama, then steer very clear of the tasajo. On the other hand, if you don't mind chewy, almost thick-cut smoked bacon-like texture, then it was quite good - salty and smokey with a rich, deep flavor of beef. It's a Chiriqui specialty, so I didn't want to leave here without trying it. We took pictures of each dish.

Service: The food is pre-cooked so it comes out ridiculously fast. The owners were also our servers and they are quite friendly and want you to be happy. If you don't speak Spanish, they will try their best to explain the dishes to you. When it's time to pay, just go inside and pay at the register.

Value: Like I said before - 3 plates of food, 3 drinks = $9.25. Except for maybe the empanada stand by the central square, I don't think you can beat this place for value.

Conclusion and Comments: We ate comida tipica at El Sabroson as well, but we thought the food here was better and cheaper. You don't have as many choices, but overall, we liked La Fonda de la Merry much better as the service was much friendlier. To be clear, this is not a place for everyone. It's a no frills place that caters to the locals, but if you want to eat like the locals, then this place is worth a try for $3.

    • Value
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Thank dart95
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 22, 2013

My husband and I found Fonda de la Merry by chance when we were looking for another restaurant. How lucky!

This bright green restaurant is run by Maria and her husband Francisco. Maria is hostess and server, and she is warm, cheerful, and professional. Food is fresh, it represents local cuisine, and it is served promptly.

The breakfast menu is diverse, but we loved the scrambled eggs with vegetables best ($2) and the hojaldres which are like big deep-fried pancakes (60-80 cents apiece or so). We also shared a large fruit salad of papaya, pineapple, banana, and a wedge of lime each day ($2). The regular pancakes were also fluffy and good. For lunch, I'd recommend the beef with rice. The meat was simple but tasty, with onions and a hint of peppers but no "heat," and the plateful of rice is fluffy.

Of note, Maria will very nicely steer you away from items that the kitchen does not have the ingredients for that day -- "Oh no, not the bacon...perhaps the ham?" And the atmosphere is very basic, with wood tables and a cement floor -- this is a working class type of Panamanian restaurant. Other locals come there and passersby share greetings. Moreover, as I worked to find the words in Spanish to communicate with Maria, she was patient and helped me. She also spoke clearly enough that I could understand her with my Tarzan-level language skills ("Me hungry, like egg please today" for those of you too young for that reference).

My husband and I loved the food and prices so well, that we returned again and again...totaling 5 meals there in 6 days! Our last day, Maria offered us a hug.

I would love to hear if anyone else tries this wonderful restaurant.

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    • Atmosphere
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1  Thank Linda N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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