Costa Rica Restaurants?

Jul 10th, 2008, 05:41 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2007
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Thanks KirstenChuck. We are planning on eating at the Trout Bar while at Peace Lodge. I heard the main restaurant really isn't very good, and it's buffet style. The kids will be very happy swimming while waiting for their food.
Dana_M is offline  
Jul 10th, 2008, 06:10 PM
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the number one dish in costa rica is rice, bean and eggs with fresh fruits, I ate this dish 9 out of 12 days I was there. when you are in a place like costa rica, dinning is the last thing in your mind. when in Manuel Antonio, leave the kids at home and head out to Bamboo jam on Tuesday and Friday night 9PM for live band and salsa dance with the locals you will love it. But they donít take master card only visa. Marlin is great please too but try the outdoor BBQ vendors, they are cheaper. Daily dining will break your budget. in San jose, try the Rin Con in downtown is great. Try the seafood compo spaghetti . yummy

wmvhomes is offline  
Jul 10th, 2008, 06:28 PM
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Thanks wmvhomes. We won't be leaving the children behind and going out to any nightclubs, but I appreciate the recommendation about the outdoor vendors. Most of us do appreciate that type of food, and really like to support the locals.
Dana_M is offline  
Jul 11th, 2008, 03:15 PM
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The one thing I would recommend is not to eat any beef dishes. Everyone we had the meat was tough, they raise the cows in costa rica and the meat is not tender because they open graze. But all food we had was great and we also ate a lot of rice and beans, seems to come with everything you order. That was fine with us because we love it.
enjoy your trip.
alarmist22 is offline  
Jul 11th, 2008, 03:38 PM
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Dear Dana:

I hope you have a great trip. This may be too late, but for fine dining in MA, we really liked Kapi Kapi. Fairly new last fall. Great food & great atmosphere.

MichelleY is offline  
Jul 11th, 2008, 05:08 PM
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I have heard the beef is "different". I didn't realize it was tough. For a women raised in the midwestern U.S., tough meat probably won't go down well. Thanks for the warning.

You are not too late. In fact, I am leaving my house in about 30 minutes, and wanted to print this off before I left. Perfect timing. Thanks for the Kapi Kapi tip.

Thanks again everyone for your wonderful recommendations. I'll let you all know where we ate when we get back and I write that trip report.
Dana_M is offline  
Jul 12th, 2008, 07:45 AM
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About the beef being "tough"...

this made me laugh. the beef was different for sure, it was lean! we all loved the beef in cr and lament the fact that we can't get beef like that here in the us. it was so tender, lean and well cooked everywhere we went.

oh and the bacon is to die for. not a piece of fat on it.

now you've made me want to go back (like i didn't already!)
emavejess is offline  
Jul 24th, 2008, 05:44 AM
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Try one of the newest restuarants in Manuel Antonio, Marlintinis, Their menu has great Steaks and the Freshest Seafood, We ate there 3 nights in one week. Big open air lots of room for big parties, in fact there was a party of 12 there one night we dined and the Chef prepared the Red Snapper that I caught on a Fishing Charter that day. He is outstanding. Agua Azul was another favorite for lunch
Lee102 is offline  
Jul 24th, 2008, 07:39 AM
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Maybe Dana will be nice and tell us where she found good food at and suggest some places for those of us getting ready to go.....
Reisender is offline  
Jul 24th, 2008, 08:39 AM
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I'm surprised someone didn't like Ronnie's Place; we loved it and saw every single person there from our sailing trip, and they all loved it too - excellent seafood and sangria.

Also, I had heard the food at the Peace Lodge restaurant wasn't good, but we tried it anyway. It was fabulous, but also expensive - $35 per person for a 4-course meal. We had delicious sweet corn chowder, great fresh salad, surf and turf beef tenderloin and shrimp in a Bernaise sauce, and chocolate walnut brownies with Bailey's sauce on top - all of it was great! The service was also wonderful. We didn't try any buffets while we were there and ate all our other meals at the Trout Bar.
volcanogirl is offline  
Jul 27th, 2008, 10:24 AM
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Do not miss La Choza in Arenal - they will have something for everyone on your list and have great steaks as well as the rotissere chicken.
silvernt is offline  
Jul 27th, 2008, 10:45 AM
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We got back around midnight last night, and what a trip! I'll post a trip report, of course, but it will take a while. In the interim, Iím going to post comments and respond to specific threads for those who are leaving soon.

We didnít have an opportunity to try very many of the restaurants on our list. We had our days so full of activities that we found ourselves catching a bite to eat wherever/whenever most convenient. I appreciate all of the assistance, and am sorry I canít comment on more of the restaurants on the above list.

Iíve listed our locations and where we stayed below. Our restaurant experiences (in trip order) are:

ALAJUELA (Orquedias Inn)
We ALL loved the food at Orquedias Inn. Tilapia ceviche, calamari, and rice with chicken were favorites of many in the group, and were ordered repeatedly. One of my favorites was the beef with jalapeno sauce. There wasnít a lot of meat in the dish, but the sauce was excellent. In fact, itís now on my list of things to try to make at home. The vegetarian favorite was the ravioli. The children ordered mashed potatoes with every meal, and could not get enough of them. Food presentation was beautiful. We looked forward to every meal here. Many rave about the breakfast at Orquedias, and although it was very good, we found breakfast good everywhere, and on par with the breakfast here.

TORTUGUERO (Mawamba Lodge)
While at Mawamba, we ate only at the lodge. Surprisingly, we found the food good. Not gourmet, that's for sure, but better than the "just adequate" we expected. There was a hot buffet at all meals, with one or two entrees made to order. At lunch and dinner there was a nice salad bar, which we all appreciated. At breakfast in addition to the hot menu items there was a wide assortment of fruit and cereals.

We ALL disliked the food here, and the service was not much better. We chalked the service issue up to having a group of 12, which I donít think either the main restaurant or the Trout Bar was staffed to handle.

Trout Bar-
Our first afternoon we ate at the Trout Bar, and reviews among our group were mixed. The calamari, which we heard was excellent, was burned. The tuna melt was cold, with no cheese, and more mayonnaise than tuna. The hamburgers were good, and the bbq sandwich and smoked fish dip were excellent. About Ĺ our group said their lunch was good, the other Ĺ said it was bad. The real issue was the service. We sat at three different tables, and ordered by table thinking it would make things easier. However, items came out one at a time, not by table, but seemingly randomly, and many people were finished eating before the others even got their food.

Restaurant Poas-
We disliked the main restaurant (Restaurant Poas). It was too expensive, and the food was inconsistent. The price fixed menu was $34 I believe, and all of the entrees were $24. There was no childrenís menu, and with several children in our group, we did not like the fact that this restaurant was our only choice. The Trout Bar closes at 6 pm, and since it took about two hours to eat lunch, we didnít finish until around 3 pm. At the main restaurant the children all ordered the cheese pasta and liked it a lot, but $24 was a lot to pay for cheese pasta, and the portions were not large enough to share. Even the 10 year old ate all of her pasta. Several adults said the entrees were good, and a few said they were just average. However, the majority did not care for the salads or appetizers, and all left the desserts uneaten. We had reservations at 7 pm, and we did not finish dinner until after 10 pm, which to us was a waste of time. We would have preferred something less stuffy with more ala carte menu options.

Our last night in Costa Rica we were at Orquedias and while talking with some others who had been to Peace Lodge they said the same thing. In fact, they were much more critical than we were. They said the food was horrible.

Restaurant Poas is clearly intended for adults. The children were finished eating before the adults even received their appetizers/salads. Other than the food situation, we really enjoyed Peace Lodge. If we go to Peace Lodge again, weíll bring food to make sandwiches or try Colbertís. The breakfast at Peace Lodge was very good, and by far the best meal we had there.

ARENAL (Lost Iguana)

We had a driver and guide during this portion of our trip, and we asked them to take us to places they ate. We said we wanted to try some sodas for local food, and we loved where they took us. We ate lunch one day at Soda El Rio, and everyone loved their meals. Favorites were the rice with chicken and the rice with shrimp. The following day we had lunch at Soda Pipasa, and everyone enjoyed the meals there as well. The other soda we ate at was Soda La Parada. This is a 24 hour soda, and we at there late one evening after going to the hot springs. The food was excellent. Favorites were the chicken fajitas, the ceviche, and the cheese quesadilla.

Lost Iguana-
On our arrival day we spent some time in town, then did the hanging bridges. It was raining, and everyone was pretty tired, so we hung out on our balconies, had beer and wine with our guides, and ordered room service. Reviews were mixed. Nobody complained, but nobody said it was great either. The food at the pool restaurant, however, was very good as was the breakfast.

Restaurants we missed-
Because we stayed in the first night, and did not eat dinner until after the hot springs the second night, we didnít have a chance to try either El Novillo or La Choza de Laurel, but our guides confirmed what those on this board have said: that the food at both is very good, and if we had time that we should try these restaurants. Unfortunately we did not have time, even though it seemed like we were eating our way through Costa Rica.

MONTEVERDE (El Sapo Dorado)

Main restaurant at El Sapo Dorado-
The food at the main restaurant at Sapo Dorado was excellent. The kids kept wanting to go back to the lodge to eat there. We thought breakfast was included at most of our accommodations, but when breakfast was ordered off a menu (rather than buffet) we thought we had misunderstood. On check-out we tried to pay for our breakfasts, but they confirmed it was included in our room rate. Lunch was also excellent. The children absolutely loved the pizzas, as did the adults. Pasta dishes were also excellent. I canít remember what everyone ate there, but it was unanimous: both food and service here were among some of the best during our entire trip.

Bar restaurant at El Sapo Dorado-
Mixed reviews. Chicken with pesto was excellent and the salmon with orzo was very good. One person liked the chicken burger another did not. I canít remember what all of the children ordered, but none of them liked the food, especially the burgers, which they said were terrible. Several people ordered the chicken appetizer dish (pieces of chicken with tortillas-I canít remember what it was called) and said it was fantastic.

Tree House-
We really liked Tree House. One person who ate rice with chicken at least once at every location during the trip said this was her favorite. The seafood dishes were also excellent. The chicken eaters, the seafood eaters, and the vegetarians were all happy with their meals. There was live music, and the atmosphere was fun.

We all loved the food here. Service was also excellent. The shrimp special was ordered by many, all of whom said it was one of the best meals we had in Costa Rica. We heard they had a lot of vegetarian dishes, but several of those dishes had eggs in them so were not true vegetarian. I canít remember what the vegetarians in the group ordered, but they also enjoyed dinner.

Do not miss this bakery. We chicken quiche, vegetable ďpastiesĒ, and croissants that were to die for.

Restaurants we missed-
Johnnyís. We knew Johnnyís was a full service restaurant, but anytime we mentioned pizza the kids wanted to go to the Sapo Dorado main restaurant. We also tended to go into ďtownĒ where we could do some souvenir shopping and then walk to a restaurant, and Morphos and Tree House fit the bill.

We could not decide on a favorite. El Sapo Dorado, Tree House, and Morphos all had excellent food, and weíd return to all of them in a heartbeat.

MANUEL ANTONIO (Buena Vista Villas and Casas)

We ate several meals in the Casas. The casas were beautiful, we were right next to the pool, and had beautiful sunsets from our decks. We tended to eat large breakfasts then head out for activities, returning to the casas mid afternoon. The kids went swimming, and we either snacked or ordered food from Tule Café, so we didnít try too many restaurants while at MA.

Tule Café-
We had breakfast here every morning, and really enjoyed it. There was a large assortment of both hot and cold dishes. The food was very good, the view excellent, and there was a resident sloth in the tree over the pool. We ordered ďroom serviceĒ for lunch while sitting around the Casa pool one afternoon, and it was very good.

El Avion-
Everyone enjoyed El Avion. It was a fun atmosphere and the kids loved the plane. We went there for the atmosphere and the sunset view, but we all loved our food as well. We ate calamari and ceviche at almost every place we visited, and when we ordered the calamari appetizer the waiter said the calamari were too small to fry so he suggested a sautéed calamari dish. Calamari was sautéed with garlic and tomatoes, and was fantastic. It was one of my personal favorites of the entire trip. I canít remember what everyone ordered, and we didnít take notes on the food, but everybody liked what they ordered, and several shared one anotherís food.

Restaurant at Mariposa-
A couple of people went here one night while others went to Ronnieís Place. The three who went said it was very pricey, but that the food was excellent. They went early (5 pm) for the sunset, and said the view was incredible.

Ronnieís Place-
We had a late lunch so we decided to hang around the pool and watch the sunset from there rather than eat early that evening, so we didnít see the sunset from Ronnieís. We went to dinner around 7 pm, and Ronnieís was practically empty. The food was good, but Iím not sure I understand why people rave about it so much. Service was excellent and we enjoyed talking with Ronnie.

El Avion was definitely the favorite of the group. They had a large menu which accommodated everybody in the group.

We found the food at most places very good. Some dishes were a little under seasoned for our palates, but we quickly learned to order the spicier dishes. We ate large breakfasts, and either had a late lunch and snacked for dinner or snacked for lunch and had a full dinner meal. We rarely all sat down for three full meals a day lest we miss out on some activity.

We had fun comparing similar dishes from one location to another. The favorite rice with chicken dish was at Tree House, followed closely by Orquedias Inn. The favorite calamari was at El Avion, with the favorite fried calamari dish at Orquedias Inn. Rice with shrimp was best at Soda El Rio. The favorite vegetarian dish was the ravioli at Orquedias, followed by the cheese quesadilla at Soda Parada. Favorite breakfast was Tule Café. Ceviche was good everywhere, with no clear favorite. Best pizza was at Sapo Dorado. Best bakery was Stellaís.
Dana_M is offline  
Jul 27th, 2008, 12:27 PM
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I think the food at the Trout Bar may be slipping a little. We loved it when we went last year, but it was a mixed bag this last trip. I ordered nachos, and it said they came with cheddar cheese, but when it came out, it was that liquidy goo, and it wasn't even warm. I asked them if they could heat it up in the microwave, and they said that it wouldn't fit! I also had a burger there, and it was great, good fries too - seems like it's gotten kind of hit or miss.
volcanogirl is offline  
Jul 27th, 2008, 12:56 PM
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Several in our group ordered the nachos and got the same thing you did. A cold dish with cheese whiz. Very disappointing, especially since it's the only casual place to eat on-site after 4 pm.
Dana_M is offline  
Jul 27th, 2008, 01:22 PM
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Just got back add 2 more

great gourmet food Arenal

Good food good price overlooking

central valley
qwovadis is offline  
Jul 28th, 2008, 07:06 AM
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Thanks Dana
Reisender is offline  

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