Published on August 12th, 2014 | by Mark Chesnut
¡Buen Provecho! 7 Great Restaurants in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica
Food is a big part of any vacation, of course. And during my recent trip to Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica, I was so impressed with the delicious cuisine at Banana Azul, the small beachfront hotel where I stayed, that I decided to ask the hotel’s owner for recommendations about other great restaurants in this Caribbean beach town.
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Colin Brownlee, a Vancouver native and owner of Banana Azul hotel, oversees a lovely, laid-back Costa Rica beach hotel, where cuisine is part of the pleasure of the visit (we really enjoyed a Caribbean night that included cuisine with Jamaican influence). But the entire town of Puerto Viejo — a cultural melting pot on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast where locals include expats from around the world — is a hotspot for vacations with great taste. Brownlee, a true Costa Rica enthusiast, named some of his favorite local restaurants.
• Koki Beach Restaurant Bar + Lounge: “upscale, Latino fusion, great for drinks,” says Brownlee. This venue was created with mostly reused, reclaimed and repurposed elements. The menu includes seafood, chicken and salads.
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• Stashus con Fusion: “Caribbean fusion cuisine, good value,” says Brownlee. Among the menu choices are tasty-sounding dishes that can be made with vegetables, chicken, fish or shrimp: Thai citrus peanut sauce, tandoori coconut sauce and Caribbean madras curry are some of the options. Some nights, live music performances add to the ambiance.
• Bread & Chocolate: This Puerto Viejo bakery and cafe makes its own chocolate, using cacao from a farm in Costa Rica. Handmade truffles and cakes are among the delights here.
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• La Pecora Negra: This high-end Italian restaurant satisfies locals and vacationers alike.
Other Costa Rica Restaurant Favorites
During my quick-but-enjoyable visit to the Caribbean coastal town of Puerto Viejo, I had several opportunities to sample some very tasty cuisine myself. At Banana Azul, I savored the daily breakfast, a generous and tasty meal that includes fresh fruit, cereal, yogurt as well as gallo pinto, omelets, banana pancakes and breakfast burritos. Lunch at this hotel includes basic favorites like burgers and fries, sandwiches and wraps. Dinner is an especially diverse affair at Banana Azul, normally with a fixed menu that offers three choices and varies from night to night. It may be chicken teriyaki, it may be jerk chicken, it may be Greek-style tilapia, but everything I had there was delicious.
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I also enjoyed a lovely lunch at La Costa de Papito, a 12-room hotel that’s home to Que Rico Papito, a restaurant and bar that’s open to the public for lunch and dinner (evening meals are often accompanied by live music).
For dinner, we headed to Cariblue Beach and Jungle Resort, where the restaurant SoleLuna, set amid a five-acre tropical garden, served us an elegant, multi-course meal with international flair in a semi open-air venue covered with a giant, palm-lined roof. Before dinner, we were treated to a show by talented young acrobats that was reminiscent of Cirque du Soleil.