After all these weeks we actually found two really good restaurants within about three days of each other and I have a new type of food I love. I’m sorry to say that Costa Rica is not a foodie vacation spot as the food here is, well, bad – sorry CR!

There is basically one main “typical” dish that is on every menu and this consists of black beans, rice, fried plantains, sometimes a fried egg, and may include fried white cheese or chicken. Some versions of this are quite nice but after our 10th restaurant where this is the primary food we have become somewhat disillusioned with black beans! There is fish available — one type — corvina (sea bass) and this is done in about 5 different ways at just about every restaurant and served with fries and if lucky, a slice of tomato and lettuce leaf. But on to better things.

When leaving Irazu Volcano the other day (will post about that soon) we saw a sign marked Volcano Museum and Restaurant so pulled in. The place was empty except for three gamboling Labradors and a sweet youngish couple. We sat in a covered patio outside (it is chilly up there but warm with the sun hitting the patio roof) and there was a large children’s play area and swings etc. The little ones loved it and the dogs turned out to be big softies who mooched politely with huge brown eyes gazing at our food. We were forced to share tidbits and the dogs rolled, leaned against us, and allowed children’s hugs and loves. And the food was really good. Excellent soups and salads and a fried cornmeal pancake thing with locally made soft cheese that was very rich but delicious. The vegetables were all supposed to be locally grown which was nice and believable given the surrounding mountain sides are all fields of various crops.

Max with one of the restaurant labs:


So then the next discovery actually came from two restaurants, both having Peruvian food. I am searching for a cook book with these recipes as we had the most delicious food. Potatoes figure prominently and are often paired with seafood, which given I’m British and love my fish and chips, seems like a natural connection!

A couple of dishes: sauteed baby octopus in various spices over mashed potatoes with loads of crunchy fried garlic pieces; mixed shellfish with a roasted red pepper sauce over garlic mashed potatoes, flash fried (like a fajita pan) potatoes, peppers and squid; slightly spice seafood soups with different (and delicious) spices that I’m going to have to look up, steak with cheese and mushrooms (actually much nicer than it sounds), and ceviche with mixed seafood and sweet potatoes, corn and red onions.

Usually I can identify ingredients and spices in the types of food I eat often such as Indian/Thai/Italian… but this had new things that were really good and have me wanting to explore recipes. So if anyone knows a good cook book for Peruvian food or a restaurant in the US please let me know!

Slopes of Irazu that are filled with fields of crops:




Posted to Costa Rica by KateG on July 18, 2008 12:44 AM