A New Caribbean Cuisine Restaurant in Versalles
Colonia Versalles continues to attract new restaurant entrepreneurs, the latest of which is Dominican chef Graciela, who opened Orégano, her Caribbean cuisine venture, some two weeks ago.
“My inspiration is the flavors, scents and memories from my mother’s kitchen,” she explains. “Whenever she was cooking she would involve the entire family in the process, and she loved to prepare huge feasts for the family, friends and neighbors.” Graciela had previously lived in Puerto Vallarta some 16 years ago, after which she decided to travel through the world, but always with the idea of returning to Mexico. “I came back to Puerto Vallarta a year and a half ago because I love its beauty.”
Prior to returning to Puerto Vallarta, Graciela opened and subsequently sold a successful restaurant in Curaçao, her father’s homeland. She then moved to Aruba, another Caribbean island, where she operated a private dining restaurant. “I love Caribbean flavors and envisioned Orégano as a perfect project to introduce them to Puerto Vallarta.” Chef Graciela is thrilled to have found the perfect spot in Versalles. “It’s an up-and-coming neighborhood that has opened its doors to young entrepreneurs like myself. There are a lot of new businesses cropping up here, and finding a parking spot is a breeze.”
Like other similar projects (particularly the now-legendary Barrio Bistro, the restaurant that started the Versalles trend some four years ago), Orégano sits on the street level of a two-story house. The space has been transformed into a cozy eatery that can fit 16 at most, for a casual and comfortable lunch or dinner experience.
Some of the dishes we tasted include the Hummus, made with white beans and chickpeas, with feta and truffle oil; the Caribbean Wings; and the Curry Fried Rice, with both chicken and fish, all of which were beautifully presented, extremely flavorful and aromatic.
All things considered, Orégano is a most welcome contributor to Puerto Vallarta’s world cuisine in general, and particularly to the increasingly cosmopolitan gastronomy available in Versalles.
One detail: we were not offered—and did not see on the menu, not to mention that we were not in the mood for—wine or any alcoholic beverages. Maybe the waiter simply forgot to share their beverage menu with us. Liquor licenses in Mexico can be an expensive proposition, particularly for venues that are just starting up. Perhaps one is being processed as you read this, or maybe Chef Graciela allows patrons to bring their own wine and even offers pairing suggestions! But these are not reasons of concern. They are great excuses to return soon!
August 31, 2019 Update:
A brief conversation with Chef Graciela confirms that they do serve wine and beer, and are working increasing their offerings—gracias, Graciela!
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