You won’t hear much about it, unless you’re lucky enough to be invited. Dallas, Detroit and Denver have gone underground, so why not in Boquete? It’s a dining trend that is spreading around the world and will likely be with us for a long while. “Underground” is not subterranean, in this case. It can take place out in a field, on a finca or anywhere.

Underground dining happens in unusual locations, on dates and at times least expected. What is it exactly, and how can folks in Boquete get invited to such affairs?

If a chef is between restaurants and would like to host a meal in a private home or a warehouse, an “underground” event is scheduled. Often it gives chefs who don’t own their own restaurant a chance to show what they might do if the menu were under their control. The location of these events is not disclosed until the day before, and then only to the guests with confirmed reservations.

Because there is “little overhead”, prices are kept low. Diners bring their own bottles and set-ups are usually provided.

Invites are sent by email, only. Seats are reserved strictly by return email, on a first-come, first-served basis. Sometimes, only previous underground diners will be invited, or people referred by previous diners. No money changes hands until the event, cash is paid at the door. No-shows are removed from the “guest list”.

The “Underground Dinner”, by its nature, is elegant and gourmet, consisting of at least 5 courses. The menu is left totally to the chef, who is eager to please the guests. There may be entree choices offered, sometimes not. Many websites further explain this type of event, and some sites give actual menus that have been served at such “underground” affairs.

World-class, fine dining has been available in Boquete for many years, as most residents and visitors know. Now, the options are expanding. BYOB? I like it! Cora