This post is connected to my travel blog on Costa Rica and is a short description about Costa Rican food.
I didn’t really know much about Costa Rican food nor have I ever been to a Costa Rican restaurant. Most friends told me that the food is rather bland compared to other cousines in the region. And yes it’s not an exciting foodie experience, but I quite enjoyed some of the dishes. The food in general is rather simple, based on rice and beans, and not spicy at all. The following are some of the staple dishes in CR:
Gallo pinto is a traditional Costa Rican dish usually eaten for breakfast. It consists of a stir-fried mix of rice and black beans can is accompanied by eggs, meat, plantains, etc. Most hotels will have it for breakfast.
On the way between Poás and La Fortuna we stopped at a coffee estate Mi Cafecito (not for the coffee, but for lunch). They have a nice open terrace overlooking the coffee plantation and the food was very tasty.
Then there is the typical Costa Rican lunch – Casado (“married man”), which consists of rice, black beans, potatoes and/or salad, and some source of protein (choice of chicken, beef, pork or fish). It is usually also accompanied by tortillas (¡more carbs!). It is a a very simple, but also quite nutritive dish.
In CR they have these very small and local restaurants called soda. There you can usually eat the casado for lunch and that’s about it. Some have more choice, some have less, and some also have other types of dishes available. There are plenty of sodas all around CR and they’re an interesting experience.
Patacones (also tostones in other parts of Latin America) are basically fried slices of cooking plantain. Quite nice if you like plantain, but definitely can’t eat too many of them as it’s a very repetitive taste and is fried.
A restaurant suggestion in San José’s Escalante neighbourhood: La Uvita Perdida. A tiny place (make sure you book in advance) with a very interesting concept. They have a choice of 4 ‘tablas’ (chicken, fish, cold cuts or veg) that feed 4 people. Each tabla also comes with a bottle of wine included.
We ordered the chicken one and it came with a chicken stew (curry like) and a salad. It was delicious and more than enough to feed 3 hungry guys. The atmosphere in the restaurant is very nice, there’s even some live music on the weekends. The owners also work there and are very nice and happy to help you with you choice of food and wine.