Big Daddy’s Grill in Boquete is under new ownership and both the food & plans for the restaurant look very appetizing. Find out what’s on the menu for this laid-back cafe, restaurant & bar in the highlands of Panama!
Vision for Big Daddy’s Grill
In order to truly appreciate the vision for Big Daddy’s Grill, you first need to understand Boquete & know Chris Young’s background.
Boquete is located in the highlands of Panama & has recently blossomed after being declared a top choice to retire due to the town’s eternal spring.
It’s also one of the most popular destinations in Panama.
Despite being located just 9° north of the equator, Boquete has a moderate climate year round.
Although there is a mix of Europeans, the majority of the residents are snowbirds from the United States & Canada.
They are used to great customer service, large portions, & American staples with a twist. Big Daddy’s Grill delivers on all accounts & creates a friendly environment that keeps expats & locals coming back time & again.
Big Daddy’s Grill is a mullet: it looks like an unassuming café from the front, but the atmosphere is a lot livelier in the rear!
Depending on your tastes you can people watch from the outside tables at the entrance, or venture to the patio out back which is spacious & has a bar compiling excellent margaritas which is what we did here at DIY Travel HQ.
Chris… the new Big Daddy
Chris previously worked as a chef in fine dining & did some consulting work for restaurants in Panama before taking over Big Daddy’s Grill. His goal is to take his experience & fuse it with a bar & grill menu.
Just a few months into the transition, Chris has already started tweaking the menu & adding new dishes. This includes packing a lot of flavor into typically well-portioned meals, creating a great presentation, & using top notch ingredients. Vegetables are sourced locally, & specialty meats & dairy are purchased from Panama City.
The biggest change is a smokiness to many of the dishes starting with the complimentary salsa & tortillas. In the future, he wants to have a barbeque area with outdoor seating to share his passion, & even a special menu for dogs!
Big Daddy’s Grill Drinks
After taking a look at the drink menu we here at DIY Travel HQ knew straight away what to have… Margaritas! Big Daddy’s Grill has several flavors depending on the fruit on-hand. We tried the Passion Fruit flavor ($5.95) in addition to the Classic ($4.95).
Both were very good, but the Classic Margarita stole the show. It was perfectly blended where you could tell there was alcohol, but not an overpowering amount. Even though the drink comes with a straw, don’t forget to savor the salt or sugar (predetermined based on the flavor) around the glass’s rim.
Corndog Bloody Mary
In the spirit of trying new things, Big Daddy’s Grill decided to make a Corndog Bloody Mary. I’m guessing you haven’t heard of this concoction before, but Chris assured us that he consulted a whole website dedicated to unusual combinations. He tried a few before making the Corndog Bloody Mary available for guests to try.
Even without a hangover, the Bloody Mary was on par with the best that we have tried. Again, it had a nice blend that didn’t have an overpowering spiciness. Although the official way to enjoy the Corndog is to dip it into the Bloody Mary, it does come on a stick that extends above the drink for your choosing.
Just think of the Bloody Mary as a spicy, alcoholic ketchup for your Corndog!
Or just stick to the local & foreign beers ($2-3) 🙂
Big Daddy’s Grill Appetizers
Boom Boom Shrimp
For starters at Big Daddy’s Grill you can choose between Mexican & American staples such as quesadillas, chicken fingers, wings, & onion rings ($5-7). However, we wanted to try the new dish, Boom Boom, at Big Daddy’s Grill. For some this means hot & spicy, & for men that frequent Southeast Asia there is another connotation… either way, the Asian flavor matches the name.
We chose the shrimp version over chicken, & feel we made the correct choice. They were king prawns covered in a light batter & a hint of spiciness. Thankfully there was a big serve so we didn’t have to fight over the last one!
Big Daddy’s Grill Signature Tacos
We mistakenly looked at the Taco section of the menu & assumed these were also appetizers. Nope! These will probably be the largest & most delicious tacos you will ever try. You can choose from a range of meats, but we wanted to try the Fresh & Fabulous Fish ($11).
The two tacos each had what could be considered a normal serving of filleted fish inside. We had Mahi Mahi, but this may change depending on availability. Accompanying the two oversized tacos were three sauces (tomato, guacamole, & aioli) with either rice & beans, or curly fries.
Big Daddy’s Grill Big Plate Entrees
Whatever meat you want – and you have to have meat at a bar & grill – you can find as an option on the entree section of the menu at Big Daddy’s Grill. Mains go for $10-16 & could be big enough for two.
Thankfully, we came after a long day of hiking the Quetzal Trail & were ready for the challenge. Our choices were the Black & Blue Filet Mignon ($16) & the Margarita Chicken ($10).
The Margarita Chicken consisted of a juicy chicken breast topped with sweet peppers & smothered in cheese. The base of the dish was a combination of refried beans & Mexican rice. The final kicker was Margarita salt for an added flavoring.
Like most Americans, I tend to savor each flavor separately. However, the Margarita Chicken is best enjoyed by mixing all the elements into each forkful. It is an explosion of tastes all at once! Give it a try & tell us what you think.
Black & Blue Filet Mignon
Our other main was the Black & Blue Filet Mignon. We hadn’t found a steak so tasty in all of our Central American travels. It was cooked medium rare per our request & was nice & juicy on the inside. The filet mignon was a thick steak, which made the grilling even more difficult to perfect. Hat’s off to the chef!
What enticed us to try the Black & Blue Filet Mignon was the blue cheese dressing on top. We can never say no to blue cheese, & especially when combined with such a nice cut of steak. Combined with curly fries & a house salad you have a true American meal!
The salad was chockfull of healthy & locally sourced vegetables, while the curly fries were nicely seasoned with the correct consistency. Those that still have room for dessert can try the Panama Red Churros – we had to cancel our order because we were that full, but they looked very appetizing when served to another guest.
Sunday Yoga & Mimosas
Whether you live in Boquete, or are traveling around Panama, yoga enthusiasts shouldn’t miss the two hour Yoga & Mimosa session on Sundays. For $15 you not only get a Yoga class, but unlimited Mimosas!
This might be what gets me into trying Yoga for the first time 🙂
Know Before You Go
Location: Avenida Los Fundadores, ½ Block South of Central Park in Boquete, Panama
Prices: Drinks $2-6, Appetizers $5-9, Mains $8-16, Dessert $5.50
Read Big Daddy’s Grill’s Tripadvisor reviews here
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***The Final Word – Big Daddy’s Grill has great food, large portions, a friendly owner, & is a great way to refuel after a long day of hiking around Boquete, Panama***
Which dish that we tried at Big Daddy’s Grill would you like to try?
* We received a complimentary meal at Rene Cafe, thank you to Rene, Lourdes, & Maria for hosting us. We only recommend fun, value for money experiences that we believe our readers would enjoy. As always, all opinions & photos are our own.
Visited in February 2017