The food of Costa Rica – San José – Tortuguero – Cahuita

My introduction to Costa Rican food happened in San José, my first stop of my three weeks travel. Casado is the most typical kind of dish. It always has rice, beans, plantains, salad, and some protein. either fish or meat. It’s not the tastiest meal, but there are always two different sauces available to spice things up. One vegetables sauce, which has a vinegary flavor and a chili sauce. These two sauces can make a huge difference.

my first introduction to Costa Rican food @San José

Since San José has a China Town it was a must for me to go there for dinner. On the recommendation of Jess (from the free walking tour) I went to the Restaurante Holiday. They really went all the way to live up to the name, the restaurant even has a Christmas tree inside (I was there in April). The BBQ pork Ramen btw was a huge portion but rather flavorless. Even the two sauces couldn’t help here.

bbq pork Ramen @Restaurante Holiday

Possibly the best food of the whole trip I ate while in Tortuguero. Arriving after a two private transfer and an hour long boat ride, I left my luggage with my tour company for the next day and went in search of a meal. I found it at Sunset Rooms (they also have, your guessed it, rooms) which has a great terrace on stilts overlooking the waterway.

a well deserved beer while waiting for my meal @Sunset Rooms

The private shuttle had the benefit of a two hour long chat full of tips and recommendations with the female driver Monica. She told me to absolutely try ‘Rice and Beans’ while on the Caribbean side. First I was doubtful, because that’s what’s on every plate anyways. But she explained that on the Caribbean side rice and beans is cooked with coconut milk and super delicious. So this is what I ordered with chicken on the side and it was fabulous. In the end though, it was still called a Casado. But whatever, it was the best meal in Costa Rica.

rice and beans cooked in coconut milk and chicken with sauce @Sunset Rooms

Most of my meals were eaten in Sodas, small family style open-air restaurants which serve traditional food. Some were better than others, but all of them had reasonable prices. Here some more Casados from Tortuguero.

a Casado with chicken in a soda @Tortuguero

Casado with fish @Tortuguero

At my next stop in Cahuita, the owners of Cabinas Cahuita recommended Delrita Patties for lunch and what a joy. Delicious deep fried pockets of gooeyness filled with beef. Two were enough to get me going for the afternoon.

patty filled with beef @Delrita Patty Cahuita

After that much grease I needed some ice cream though, which I got next to the entrance of the national park in Cahuita. I tried a new fruit called cas, which is some kind of Costa Rican guava.

cas ice cream @Cahuita

Right across the street from Cabinas Cahuitas lies Aroma, Coffee Bar & Food, which serves excellent breakfast and coffee. Actually coffee was great everywhere. Since Costa Rica has so many fruits growing just about anywhere, I decided to stick with that.

breakfast @Aroma Coffee Bar & Food

The next morning I got the big fruit plate and had a different selection.

big fruit plate @Aroma, Coffee Bar & Food

Actually though  it was one dinner in particular which I remember distinctly from my time in Cahuita. It was my introduction to Michelada, something I will never forget. But more on that in another post. Yours, Pollybert

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