Dish of the Month: Karmaway

Dave and Steve are Karmaway. They are the company and they will take their vision anywhere they want to go. For the moment, they’ve taken it to Bocas and by the sounds of it; Karmaway will be here for a while.

The Karmaway boys are world-traveling chefs who share a refreshingly thoughtful outlook on the way things ought to be in the hospitality industry. “We started Karma Way with the concept of being a platform for people that wanted to work with an ethical view on business because we found that working in restaurants, there is so much wrong done in the industry towards treatment of animals, towards the wastage of food, towards health, towards nutrition,” explains Dave.

It’s their philosophy that making a profit doesn’t have to get in the way of caring for the environment or your body.The taste of the dish is important, but just as important to them is the nutritional value, the environmental impact and the effect on the local economy.

“You can make a really nice tasting dish, presentation and everything, but the whole balance (health-wise and nutrition-wise) is a really important factor. We work both ways: good for your body and good for the environment. The main part is the holistic part; everything is connected,” says Steve.

The boys really take into account the whole picture when designing their ever-changing menu, considering everything from the nutritional aspect to the environmental impact. They present their menu on a giant blackboard as the dishes will inevitably change due to the availability of local produce. They prefer to keep their carbon footprint small and support local producers rather than import ingredients for signature dishes. They also enjoy the liberty of inventing new dishes based on what is readily available on the island.

With the combined experience of 30 years as chefs, you need not worry about exactly what’s on the menu because everything is spectacular. I would know. I had the pleasure of sampling quite the plethora of Karmaway delicacies. In one seating, they graciously served me all of the following dishes: beet root ravioli, tuna filet in a mustard-soy sauce on zucchini with a fish croquet, calamari steak on a skewer, spring rolls (cream cheese, asparagus, egg, carrot and seaweed) with a soy dip sauce, risotto croquet with prawns and jalapeno mayonnaise, Thai beef salad and beef tenderloin with puree and asparagus. Oh, and let’s not forget the strawberry infused Jagermeister shots. Good times. Now let’s meet the men behind the magic.

Dave is from New Zealand and Steve from Suriname. They met 11 years ago working together in a Japanese restaurant in Amsterdam. As long as they have known each other they’ve always wanted to live in a tropical environment and have a bar on the beach. They started their company in Amsterdam as a way to achieve the financial stability to do so until one day they looked at each other in the kitchen and Dave said “We don’t have to wait to do this. We can just make it happen.”

So they left on a 5 month trip around the world looking for a place that they would like to do business.  They left Holland for Thailand, India, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Panama, Costa Rica and Los Angeles and decided Bocas was the place to be.  They fell in love with the place because of the atmosphere and the people and they believe this is the type of town where their concept can make much more of an impact.

Dave and Steve would like to make it known that other businesses in Bocas have been nothing but supported.  They are so grateful for this because as Dave explains “In most places it’s always about competition and trying to pull other people down, but here people have been amazing.  Everybody has been so nice and the other restaurants try to help us with whatever they can, whenever they can.”  I guess that’s what happens when you put the good karma out there; good things come your way.  Check out their website at to find out more about all the good things that could come your way.


Nicholas Corea is the editor of the Bocas Breeze. He wasn't born in Bocas, but he got there as fast as he could. He is just one of the many foreigners who became enamored with the islands and his mission is to share the magic of Bocas del Toro with the world. Mr. Corea likes to extend his gratitude to everyone who makes the Bocas Breeze happen- starting with YOU (the reader).


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