Restaurant & Lounges
Salsipuedes Restaurant in Panama City
Savor the essence of authentic Panama at Salsipuedes Restaurant, the marvelous new restaurant located within Bristol Panama hotel. Under the direction of renowned Executive Chef Cuquita Arias de Calvo, Salsipuedes offers a rich showcase of gourmet Panamanian cuisine.
The restaurant’s name honors Panama City’s legendary - and sometimes notorious -Salsipuedes Street, which has been a city landmark since 1671. Today, up and down the street, you can find Chinese and Panamanian merchants offering handmade crafts, Panamanian clothing, montunos, hats, books, magazines, school supplies, articles, Jewelry, vegetables, fruits, dishes, pots, pans, medicinal plants, teapots, among other items.
In this regard, Salsipuedes Street and Salsipuedes Panama City Restaurant share several traits. Each celebrates the spirit of the Panamanian culture and is as cheerful and spicy as the people themselves.
Chef Cuquita Arias de Calvo
From the very beginning, Cuquita knew how to bring her Panamanian pride to the table - by using local ingredients to create delicious dishes. Her extraordinary career has led her to become one of the most recognized chefs in Panama and all over the world, as well as the only Latin Chef listed on Saveur Magazine’s “100 Best Chefs in the World.”
Cuquita grew up in a large family, the youngest of six children born to a Cuban mother and Panamanian father. She was also the granddaughter of Tomas Arias, the founder of the republic and committee member who served as head of state after the separation of Panama from Colombia.
Since childhood, Cuquita loved being in the kitchen, though she admits that not all attempts were successful: "When I was 10, I made mashed potatoes and added blue dye. The potatoes took on a green color and my brothers refused to eat, but the experience did not discourage me. I’d found a love that would last all my life. "
Cuquita did her secondary studies in New York and Paris, where she took her first formal cooking courses. Back in Panama, she organized cooking classes for children, but also dabbled in decoration and fashion design.
After 26 years, Cuquita and an associate opened the restaurant Candy. Soon after, she began working with Bishop Romulo Emiliani to found NutreHogar, a nonprofit organization responsible for feeding children with malnutrition. Said Cuquita, “For me, cooking is the joy of sharing with others, so feeding the poor children and giving them love and a chance to get ahead is a cause that moves me deeply.”
For the past 14 years, Cuquita has been Executive Chef at Hotel Bristol, where she has perfected "Style Cuquita.” This term, which later became the name of her television program, arose when scientists from the Sonian Smith Institute went to eat at a small restaurant in Bocas del Toro. The owner of the restaurant, a local delighted with the visit, decorated the table with flowers of papo, calling it "Al Cuquita Style,” which led to diners referring to her way of serving food as a style.
For more than seven years, Cuquita was host of her own TV show, the most successful of its kind in Panama, which also aired in the United States. In 2005, the program received the Martin Fierro Award for Best Culinary Program in Argentina and was seen by over 20 million people in Latin America. Cuquita is also the author of a weekly gastronomic article in La Prensa, Panama's leading newspaper. She has written three cookbooks - Panama in Salsa, Rumba At Style Cuquita and Gourmet. The latter was awarded best cookbook by the Panamanian International Gourmand Awards in 2007. That same year she was honored by Hilary Clinton’s "Vital Voices" organization for her outstanding work as an entrepreneur.
Acclaimed international magazines such as Travel + Leisure in the U.S., Food & Travel in England, Buenhogar and Vanities in Latin America, "elgourmet.com" in Argentina and "Good Life" in Colombia, have praised Cuquita’s culinary creations. She has cooked for presidents, first ladies and celebrities like Julio Iglesias, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Oscar de la Renta, Tommy Hilfiger, Prince Albert of Monaco, David Rockefeller, Carolina Herrera, Gloria Estefan, architect Frank Gehry, Gabriel García Márquez and, more recently for the Prince Felipe of Asturias.
Cuquita was chosen to design the food for the set of the James Bond film, Quantum of Solace, which was filmed in Panama. International firms such as Hermes, Chanel, Louis Vitton, Cartir, Carolina Herrera, Juicy Coutire constantly hire her to cook for their events. She has been honored with invitations to give seminars in countries ranging from Colombia and Monaco and has represented Panama in several international food festivals, including the prestigious Food & Wine Festival in Aspen, Colorado.