Dining OUT in Costa Rica
Steve and I have been travelling to COSTA RICA together since 2001. As we set out on our first trip we read several books about Costa Rica learning about culture, industry and food. The Lonely Planet and Foder's travels guides were among those books we bought and read cover to cover. We also spoke to many people who had either wintered in Costa Rica or been surf bums there in the late 80's early 90's. Every one told us the food was bland.
A day or so into our first trip Steve and I were beginning to wonder what the discussion of bland food was about? We ate local dishes. Casados is the Costa Rican name for a plate of the day. You get the fresh catch or chicken and salad, beans, rice, and fried plantain and sometimes some young cheese. All ingredients are fresh and delicious. Nothing in our opinion is bland.
We are currently living in eastern NC where we rarely go out to eat. I'm positive in the bigger city of Raleigh there are excellent restaurants but in our area not so much. Yes, we are food snobs. Having come from a city like Toronto where we can get every type of cuisine under the sun where competition is fierce so food quality rock - it's hard to come to this area to eat out. I'm not saying southern fried is not good, it is , it's just other specialties done well are lacking here. So we elect to stay home and cook. While the restaurant experience is disappointing the shopping is not. We have a Saturday morning farmer's market we can shop for organic produce and a fish co-op within walking distance.
On this trip to Costa Rica we were very excited to dine out for two reasons:
1. We have not dined out in ages - especially long leisurely dinners since becoming parents. Family is so respected in Costa Rica and the wait staff is all over the children. Children are welcomed to dinner at any hour of the evening.
2. The food as we have come to know it is AMAZING!
Casado from Harbour Reef
Finley & Steve sharing a Casado at Soda Melyssa
Shrimp & Avocado salad from Lagarta Lodge
Finley & Steve sharing the same expression and a chicken burrito at Kaya Sol
Shrimp in Gorgonzola Sauce at Casa Tucan
Papas Fritas at The Guilded Iguana
The Priest Family eating at a Soda which is a typical outdoor Costa Rican Restaurant.
The cokes are served cold in glass bottles and are made with sugar cane ... so yummy!
Pargo Rojo or as we know it Red Snapper from Casa Tucan
Snook in salsa verde aka basil pesto from Guilded Iguana
Molly chowing down on a margherita pizza at Giardino Topical
(yes that is my PILSEN in the foreground!)