Costa Rica Restaurants we recommend

Solo Camaron for shrimp lovers in Costa Rica

IVO HENFLING | MARCH 20, 2015

Solo Cameron restaurant Costa RicaWe were seriously surprised to find a restaurant with such a varied shrimp menu. I knew the restaurant existed as we had walked by it several times, but from the outside, the place looks like a Johnny Rockets, not inviting enough for me. When I find a restaurant that's worth mentioning because the food, the service or the ambience is worth telling my readership about, I will do so in one of my blogs.

If you're reading this blog and you want to order a takeaway, don't call my office as many people who read my blog do, but call 2228-5981 /  8888-2449

Dany and I had planned to have a nice Peruvian lunch on a Sunday afternoon and went to Plaza Itskatzú, a great strip mall with lots of restaurants in Escazu. The parking lot of the strip mall was packed and we barely found any space. People are either making a lot of money or the credit card companies are.  Walking over to the Peruvian restaurant, we were nicely greeted by a young waiter who invited us to check out the menu. The name of the restaurant: Solo Camaron, which means Only Shrimp. 

We were surprised with the variety on the menu and Dany is a seafood person, so we decided to forget about Peruvian food for now and try the shrimp. The restaurant is not very cozy and very inviting; it looks more like a hamburger joint, which is not my favorite for a nice Sunday afternoon with my wife. 

How to go about tipping in Costa Rica

IVO HENFLING | MARCH 13, 2015
 
How to go about tipping in Costa RicaYou just arrived at the international airport in Costa Rica. As soon as you walk outside arrivals, 10 guys jump on you, trying to help you with your suitcases. Of course they want to get paid for their services, how much should you pay them?
 
You’re having a great lunch with friends in this fish restaurant in Jaco Beach and the service is outstanding. Should you tip at all and how much?
 
Propina is the right word for a tip in Costa Rica. A 10% service charge is customary in most parts of the world. Well, in Costa Rica, the 10% propina is not customary, its LAW.
 
In all restaurants and bars, the service charge of 10% will show on your invoice as Imp. Servicio and is charged over the total sum of the products consumed. The 13% sales tax (soon to be called IVA) is calculated after the 10% service tax is added. So you pay the sum of the products + 10% + 13%. If you are a real fanatic in finding out more, you can check the law in Spanish by clicking here  

Try tango, wine and bife de chorizo in Costa Rica

IVO HENFLING | NOVEMBER 6, 2014

Aqui Es, an Argentinian steakhouse in San JoseI had never heard of this Argentinian restaurant in San Jose, though I had driven past it many times. I don’t go to San Jose that often anymore, but it looks like the city is becoming a good place for great restaurants again. One in a while, when I find a good restaurant that is worth writing about, I will tell you all about it here.

Last time we went to an Argentinian restaurant was to La Esquina de Buenos Aires, where we had great food and a lovely evening. This time, our friends suggested going to Restaurante Aqui Es, which means “Here it is”.

The restaurant is really easy to find, it is 100 meters south of Subway restaurant on Paseo Colon. You can either park on the street, where there is a guachiman or half a block further south is a 24/7 parking lot. If you are not used to Tico addresses, turn onto Paseo Colon from Sabana Park, take a 2nd right (at Subway) and you’ll see it at the end of the block on the left. Reservations at phone 2221-5727.

What is needed for a Costa Rica housewarming party?

IVO HENFLING | APRIL 4, 2014

What is needed for a Costa Rica housewarming party?When you purchase a house in Costa Rica, you have to organize a housewarming party. A couple of months ago, TicoNuevo was planning his housewarming party and asked me where to find musicians to turn this into a real happening. Who else to ask than your Costa Rica real estate agents? Well, I didn’t have a clue and since I thought everything is available online now, I started searching on Google, coming up with nothing.

In Costa Rica, private parties are a big happening and live music is really important. You have a huge choice of solistas (one musician), dúo’s (two musicians), trío’s (three musicians), mariachis, organists, DJ's and many other ways of making music.

Usually, when you are looking for a musician or anything related to entertainment, you’ll have a hard time finding what you are looking for. That was what happened when TicoNuevo asked me to help. He lives in a totally different area of the Central Valley than I do, which makes the search a lot harder. My son Andres came up with some musicians who were charging an arm and a leg to go out there to play for a couple of hours.

Reading the menu in a Costarican restaurant

by Ivo Henfling
 
A typical Costa Rica restaurantOnce you move to Costa Rica, you will want to eat out once in a while. Depending on where you are going to live, you will be able to read the menu or not.
 
In the Escazu and Santa Ana areas, as well as the beaches of Costa Rica, you will probably find the menu in most restaurants in Spanish as well as English, due to tourism and the amount of foreigners living in that area.
 
But once you start getting into the rural areas of Costa Rica, you will probably find the menu only in Spanish, a reason I always recommend you learn at least basic Spanish before you even move to Costa Rica, especially if you want to eat well. 

Burgers and Johnny Rockets in Costa Rica

by Ivo Henfling

Eating hamburgers in Costa RicaWhen you grow up with burgers, you cannot live without them. Moving to Costa Rica doesn’t change your eating habits. If you have grown up eating hamburgers and hotdogs, you cannot just start eating gallo pinto the next day. The advantage is that if you move to Costa Rica, thousands of US citizens have done so before you did. For that reason, you will find quite a few burger joints all over the country, some good and others not so good.

We Dutch don’t really know how to make a good burger or even how to eat one; we eat French fries and mayonnaise. I see how some North American friends love to eat a huge hamburger with all kinds of stuff on it. Well, I got great news for those burger lovers who read my weekly blogs.

Dining in Costa Rica While Keeping an Eye on Expenses

You will find a multitude of restaurants in Costa RicaWhile the country isn’t renowned for its own cuisine (there are some really great exceptions), you will find a multitude of international restaurants in addition to well-known restaurant chains (if you yearn for a taste of home, but then, why bother coming to Costa Rica in the first place). In our estimate during our visit last year, my wife and I had three of the very best meals we have ever eaten.

One was lunch at an Argentinean-themed establishment, one a seafood meal at a restaurant run by an American ex-pat and one, admittedly, at a Costa Rican-style outdoor restaurant catering to the tourist trade. We had the meals in three different areas of the country. The costs of these three incredible meals were not “cheap” by our standards, but less than what we would have expected to pay in the States for the same quality. In the two weeks we were in country, we ate out lunches and dinners probably 15 times. We never had a bad meal.

The Best Asian Restaurant in Escazu | Banzai Restaurant

by Ivo Henfling

Great Sushi restaurant in Escazu - Costa RicaThanks to Liz & Tony, I got to know the best Asian restaurant in Escazu - Costa Rica, right across the street from where I live……..yes, it was right there and I didn’t see it. They say “see further than the end of your nose” and I have a big nose.

The name of the restaurant is Banzai, a traditional Japanese exclamation meaning "ten thousand years". I hope they will be there at least as long as I live.

Their Sushi is bigger than it is anywhere else and the best Nigiri, Sashimi and Maki. Unlike most Sushi places, their Japanese food is also out of this world and at incredible prices. If you are a fan of Asian food, you really need to visit Banzai and be attended by owners Cassius and William and their staff. Cassius takes care of the Oriental cooking like Indonesian, Japanese, Thai, Malaysian and Vietnamese, and William does the Sushi.

Fish tacos and more in Taco bar Santa Ana

by Ivo Henfling

Costa Rica Tacobar in Jaco, Escazu and Santa AnaEvery time I go to Jaco Beach, I need to stop over for lunch at the Taco Bar Restaurant downtown, across from the Pops ice cream parlor. This first Costa Rica Taco Bar has some incredibly awesome Tacos and at very reasonable prices and it’s a quick in an out as it is set up like a fast food restaurant.

In December last year, my friend Pete Scott called me to say they opened a restaurant in Santa Ana (he’s friends with the owners) and they were giving free lunches away. A real Dutchman would have gone because it was free but I was just too busy. I guess I’ve been here too long and I am losing my Dutchness.

The new Tacobar in Santa Ana, which is now not new anymore, is one I can definitely recommend for a quick bite. Their prices are very, very reasonable. They don’t serve liquor, only natural drinks and fantastic smoothies. There is now also a new Tcobar in Escazu, across from Saretto's supermarket.