Luna Rossa: A Taste of Italy in Coronado
“In Italy, when you plan a meal for someone you care about, you do many things to prepare. You start with the freshest ingredients of their favorite foods, and then you combine them with so much affection that you can taste it in every bite.” - Luna Rossa Menu
At Luna Rossa, only the best will do. From ingredients to service, this Italian restaurant in the heart of Coronado offers a truly authentic Italian experience. Since Lisa Cappelli & Stelvio Pacchini took over the business in October of 2012 it has continued to grow and flourish.
I recently dined in the new outdoor space, which received a total renovation in order to accommodate larger parties. The rancho offers intimate group dining amongst Panama’s fresh tropical air, that continuously flows with the help of two industrial sized fans mounted in the roof.
It is not only the rancho that has expanded, the hours at Luna Rossa have also grown. This January 2016 Luna Rossa will be open 7 days a week! The staple restaurant in Coronado is now offer lunch and dinner on Mondays and Tuesdays, joining the ranks of only a few restaurants in the area who open their doors every single day.
One of the things that I love about eating at Luna Rossa is the immediate greeting by a friendly face. It doesn’t seem to matter if it is a table for ten or a takeout order for one, the same care is always given. The inside of the restaurant is air-conditioned and tables are nicely set with cloth napkins and lovely center pieces, an attentive waiter is always close by.
When the day starts to wind down and I’m feeling a bit peckish, I start to imagine what I could possible eat for dinner that would satisfy my palate. Luna Rossa continuously tops the list. Rather than holding off until my tummy begins to grumble and the sun begins to set, I usually make an early reservation.
When I arrive Chef Dario is typically hard at work behind the scenes preparing delicious homemade pastas, rich authentic Italian sauces, and the freshest seafood available at the beach.
One of my favorite ways to experience Luna Rossa starts with the aperitivo. The word “aperitivo” is the name for both the ritual of going out for a pre-dinner drink, as well as the type of drink that you would likely be drinking.
Aperitivo comes from the Latin word meaning “to open” and in Italian, it’s that sensation you get when you smell garlic sizzling in butter or your favorite cake baking in the oven. It is something that literally “opens your stomach.” That’s the idea behind the Italian aperitivo, a little bite to encourage your hunger, so that you can fully enjoy your upcoming meal. And let me tell you, enjoy you will!
Weather its prosecco, vermouth, Campari or Aperol, that you choose to enjoy I recommend you pair it with the antipasto italiano cured meats, and the tanglier de formaggi cheese platter. An important part of the apertivio is of course a good atmosphere, which is always provided.
Before deciding on appetizers, I recommend asking for the specials. One of my favorites is the handmade burrata cheese, a tradition Lisa herself has influenced here in Panama. The word “burrata” meaning buttered in Italian, describes this fresh Italian cheese perfectly. The outer shell is solid mozzarella, while the inside contains both mozzarella and cream, giving it a soft texture that melts in your mouth. The cheese is accompanied with fresh tomatoes and often their is the option to add prosciutto.
Luna Rossa has a rich wine menu offering some fantastic Italian wines that can not be found anywhere else in the area. I highly recommend their house Chianti if your main course includes meat or pasta. The Tagliata di Carne, a chopped fillet topped with arugula and fresh parmesan or the Spinach and ricotta ravioli are two of my absolute favorites.
At Luna Rossa you simply must save room for dessert and coffee. Italian Espresso is freshly ground, and a variety of gelato flavor are handmade, the pana cotta and tiramisu are also outstanding.
If Luna Rossa is one of your favorites, or Perhaps new on your restaurant radar, now is a great time to stop by and indulge. Don’t forget to ask your waiter for the specials!
TIP: If you are planning a large event in the beach area, Luna Rossa offers fixed menu seatings for groups up to 80 people.
For reservations call: 345-4575 | 240-1455