Although we have made an effort to do as much cooking as possible there are times when we venture out to the local restaurants.
We are fortunate to have a typical tico Costa Rican restaurant at the bottom of the hill where we live. It's called Fiesta de Los Chicharrones aka Party of the Deep Fried Pork, BYOS (Bring Your Own Statins). The place is constructed as open air with about 8 tables and barstools surrounding those 8 tables. There is a TV with local news or national futbol games. It is run by a brother and sister and there is a very sexy waitress. For breakfast there is the Breakfast Burrito con Cafe. For lunch they have wraps, cerviche, rice with anything, and the typical casado. Casados are a mix of a meat or fish, with whatever is available that day. It could be red potato salad mixed with beets, rice & beans, salad, & maybe spaghetti. The cost of the casado is only $5 and it is very delicious and filling. It's so filling that we make sure that we have rested at least 15 minutes before starting our walk back up the hill to get back home. Beer is less expensive than soda. They have Karaoke night once a month. They also serve whole red snapper with plataconies which are the same as as tostones, which are smashed fried plantains.
My favorite place for seafood is Feliz Langosta or Happy Lobster. It is 4 minutes by car from here. They serve freshly caught fish-whole red snapper, shrimp appetizers, and the best cerviche. Cerviche is fresh raw fish that has been marinated and therefore cooked in citric juices such as lemon and limes. The Costa Rican variation includes chopped onions, red peppers, tomatoes, cilantro, and black pepper. It is served with soda crackers. They have cerviche with mixed fish, cerviche con pulpo (octopus), and cerviche con camarones (shrimps). Cerviche is popular all throughout Costa Rica and you will see many cerviche stands on the roads. What makes Feliz Langosta's cerviche so good is that the fish is very fresh. It costs about $5. They also serve spaghetti con mariscos (seafood) in a rich cream sauce and many yellow rice dishes mixed with chicken or seafood. My favorite is the arroz con pulpo. Of course they have lobster but it is very expensive. About $30 for a whole lobster or $25 for lobster tail.
About 6 minutes away in the opposite direction in the bohemian surf town of Dominical is the popular Tortilla Flats. It has dishes found in the US but also serves typical casados as well. The food in general is very good but is a few dollars more expensive than the Costa Rica restaurants because of it's location in a tourist town. They have American breakfasts such as pancakes, bacon, eggs and hash brown potatoes. It is located along the beach and has excellent views of the tourists and surfers as they walk along the sandy main street. Other restaurants that we ate at in Dominical are La Casita for very good pizza, San Clemente which also caters to the American surf crowd and it's sister restaurant the Surf Shack, and the typical Costa Rica restaurant Nanyoa. There's supposed to be a great hamburger restaurant at the end of the beach called The Refuge, but every time we go there we find only some surfer dudes hanging around and the restaurant is closed. I think we keep going back to mainly see the surfer dudes.
However, we did recently find a place for great, tasty, and inexpensive burgers and wings located about 15 to 20 minutes away in Escaleras called the Jolly Roger. We saw lots of expats eating there. The community of Escaleras has people from all over the world living there and it is a popular spot for them to eat. They have 22 flavors of meaty wings, and several choices of burgers. It is located way up a hill reachable only by an SUV 4x4. It has an excellent view of the pacific and surrounding jungle. It opens up at 4 PM which means that I have to drive home in the dark. I have not been a fan of driving at night because the highway right near the restaurant is not clearly marked. Combine that with the possibility of heavy rains and that makes for a slow cautious ride back home. But those wings! It's well worth the risk. Good thing that I don't drink. Wish I could say that about the other drivers out that time. Oh well, Pura Vida!
We have eaten at a few places at the very popular town of Manuel Antonio which is 30 to 40 minutes away. We like to go early and use the National Park with it's wildlife and tranquil white sand beaches, and then eat lunch. We enjoyed Agua Azul with it's magnificent views of the Pacifica and various rock formations. They are known for their Big Ass Burger and Son of the Big Ass Burgers. The name says it all.
Many of the hotels in Manuel Antonio also are open for lunch and it is a good chance to see monkeys while doing so. We saw many squirrel monkeys at Hotel Costa Verde and were told there are also many to see while dining at Mango Moon's restaurant.
To all those people that will be traveling to see us we could recommend 2 places to stop to eat lunch. There is a large tourist souvenir shop that serves Costa Rican food that is already prepared. It is a good place to get a quick bite to eat. The other place is about 45 minutes after that one in the town of Jaco. It's called the Taco Bar and they make THE best fish tacos that we have ever eaten. Service is slow and it could take up to an hour to finish the meal. They even have signs for their restaurant where we are living which is about 1 and a half hours away.
If you like empenadas we found a small place in Uvita, near the blue whale tourist kiosk. They have ham & cheese, chicken, beef, and spinach & cheese for $2 each. They even have bagels, which of course were not as good as our Brooklyn Bagels, but did manage to fulfill our bagel craving. This place also has fresh baked pastries.
Next on our list to explore is the truck stop at Matapalo. Every time that we pass that place it is full of truckers so we're thinking that it has to be good.
There are many other "sodas" or typical Costa Rican small restaurants to check out and we plan to do so.
Everyone speaks about Ojochal and their fine dining Asian Fusion restaurants, but is about 45 minutes to an hour away. Maybe one day for lunch as there are beautiful beaches down in that area too.
All in all not bad considering how isolated and quiet it is around here. We are missing Katz's Deli, our good Chinese restaurant food, Brooklyn bagels, and Billy's Bakery, and those cannolis of Littly Italy. We ate our first chayote today but it was not the same.
Buen Provecho and Pura Vida!