I was mistaken when I thought I would be eating mostly Latin food but Costa Rica has a phenomenal diversity in the foods that it serves. You would be surprised to find that there are many Asian Restaurants and just as many European Restaurants. The food is plentiful and the cost is reasonable. Of course every fine hotel has a restaurant on the premises but you will want to eat at the Local Restaurants.
In San Jose there are quite a few fine restaurants. Ristorante Bohemia is a fine European restaurant that serves a formal European Dinner with a fine Wine List. While looking for restaurants to try out, I repeatedly found Tin Jo’s on the list. This is a restaurant that seems to have stood the test of time and is still in business. The food is considered Pan Asian and you can find Chinese, Japanese, Thai, and even some East Indian Food. The deserts are delicious.
I once went to a Cuban Restaurant and found out the hard way that not all Latin food is like Mexican food. I embarrassed myself and asked for chips and salsa. Big oops, I got a dirty look for that one. The same is true of Costa Rica; don’t go expecting the Native Food to be like Mexican food. It could be considered bland and is healthier than the Mexican food that we usually eat here in the States. Costa Rican food is considered healthier because it is more fresh and natural. No Canned Peas here!
The nicest thing about eating in Costa Rica is that all fruits, vegetable, and seafood are very fresh. In some cases the beef and pork are actually fresh as well. In all restaurants the juice served is usually fresh. It seems that it is cheaper to serve fresh rather than frozen. Many smaller restaurants actually grow their own fruits, vegetables, and herbs There is also the cheese made by the Quaker community from Monteverde and if you travel through Monteverde you will get a chance to meet the Quakers. .
One thing that I have to have in the morning is a hot cup of coffee. I don’t care if the weather is hot or not, I must have a cup of hot coffee to get moving in the morning. One nice thing is that Costa Rica produces a fine crop of coffee. You may want to stock up and take bags of coffee home with you as gifts for friends and family. Many of the hotels are located on either old coffee plantations or on actual functioning coffee plantations.
One of the local dishes is Ceviche, which is wonderful and is made from seafood. I make my own version here at home with cooked shrimp and crab. One of the delicacies found in most salads is Hearts of Palm. I think that is great, especially since I love Hearts of Palm. Here in the states they are expensive and I haven’t had any for quite some time.
As with any Central American country, Plantains are a staple it the diet of Costa Ricans. When I was a kid my Puerto Rican friend was served fried Plantains for breakfast made by her mother. I was shocked to see her put ketchup on a fried banana. Well I soon found out that Plantains are in the banana family but they are used more like potatoes.
Because of all the fresh produce available, Costa Rica is a heaven for vegetarians or those with vegan diets. You will find many vegetarian restaurants available for your dining pleasure.
Most of the big hotels have buffets and you can always eat at these but you will do yourself a disservice if you don’t try the local cuisine with it being as fresh and original as it is. There are a many Americans and others that come to Costa Rica and open up businesses. No matter where you are in Costa Rica, get out and try the food. Visit someplace new every day.