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Jan 19, 2009 10:10 PM

Any costa rican restaurants in Austin?

I'm dying for some gallo pinto!

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  1. The closest thing I have found is the Fried Plantain Breakfast at the steeply declining El Sol y La Luna.

    You can buy Lizano in the states now.

    5 Replies
    1. re: El General

      I was told that El Sol closed a while back.

      There is a Dominican restaurant up in Pfluegerville - can't remember the name. The food sort of reminds me of what I had on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica (I've actually only been to that side f the country).

      1. re: rudeboy

        El Sol y La Luna is moving to 6th and Red River, taking the place of the much failed Emo's Lounge.

        1. re: rudeboy

          Rudeboy, are you thinking of Cafe Mangu in Pflugerville? We went once with some friends who really liked it. My dish was blander than I'd expected and my husband wasn't wild about his food. Maybe we just ordered wrong, but we haven't hurried back. I did like the complimentary chimichurri with plantain chips before the meal. Our friends complained the chimichurri was too garlicky, but that was the most flavorful part of my meal.

          1. re: stephanieh

            Yep - that's it! I've been about four times for lunch, but not recently (it's sort of a far trip from work). I'd say most people in our group like the place really well, and for lunch, you get a great deal of food. I know it's hard to give them another shot after a bland meal, though, especially when your husband wasn't thrilled either!

            1. re: rudeboy

              Lunch sounds like a better deal. We went at dinner, but I wasn't super hungry, so I ordered off the app menu and got the Camarones al Ajillo. I thought the shrimp were overcooked and I'd expected more garlic flavor. Hubby ordered the Churrasco Argentina (skirt steak), and I tasted it and thought it was bland and tough. He didn't dislike it as much as I did. He did get quite a lot of food. I think he got to choose three sides, and his favorite was the salad, which was kind of slaw-like. I didn't try that, but I ate some of his yucca fries and they were ok.

              I think our experience suffered some from how much this place was built up by our friends. And the menu descriptions sounded so much more promising than the end result. So, it sticks out as a bigger disappointment because of what it could have been.

              We did share a really delicious Tres Leches for dessert. It was my first Tres Leches, so I'm not qualified to describe and compare. But, it could get me back in their door again sometime.

              As a side note, our friend's wife that so highly recommended this place ordered a special... a Mediterranean pasta. Mediterranean. Pasta. She picked at it and didn't seem to enjoy it much, but that's sort of how she eats most of her meals when we're out with them.

              I'm not sure how long it's been since you were there, but the lunch has gone up to $9.95, and I'm pretty sure it used to be $7.95. It's still a fair price if the food's good. Do you remember what you ordered?

              Their website wasn't easy to find, so here's a link to the menu...


      2. I've never seen gallo pinto on the menu here in Austin, but I have seen Lizano sold at Fiesta and maybe once or twice at Central Market.

        Making your own is a snap once you have the Lizano - see here:

        Now if someone were to open a restaurant here and sell gallo pinto, corvina, maduros, and Imperial beer to wash it down, we'd be there weekly!

        10 Replies
        1. re: addlepated

          Speaking of which (I have the grandote bottle of Lizano in my cubbard), is there any place in town (or in the states mail order) where you can get Imperial?

          1. re: amysuehere

            I called all over the United States last year trying to find some for our 10th anniversary (we got married in Costa Rica and it was the tin anniversary - would have been so perfect). At least in 2008, there was no way to buy it in Texas, least of all Austin. You could try giving Whip In, Central Market, etc. a call again to see if things have changed. Imperial's distributor list is also online at, so you might be able to call them and find out what retailers they sell to, then call the retailers and see if they'll ship here... it's sort of a daunting task.

            1. re: addlepated

              You can get it on

              1. re: amysuehere

                Really? I didn't think they sold hooch!

                Now I did find one liquor store in California who sells a six pack for $6.99... plus $21.00 shipping to Texas. Ouch!

                Anyone have any distributor friends nearby who wanna pick up a beer? :)

                1. re: addlepated

                  Oops. I meant the Lizano, not the Imperial.

              2. re: addlepated

                I was at Spec's Brodie location yesterday and they had a GIANT display of Imperial beer in bottle 6-packs.

                1. re: tico4real

                  $21 for a 12 pack plus shipping, yikes...

                  1. re: amysuehere

                    Imperial has sold distribution in the US for several states (Cali, AZ, PNW, and NE mainly), and it is distributed there. I inquired about purchasing the distribution rights for Texas last year and was told that they are basically under option and that they anticipated Imperial being available in Texas some time in the summer of 2009.

                    This was right after going to a wedding in the Cayman Islands where it had just become available. I gorged myself for 4 days, especially since Stingray had gone out of business.

                    1. re: El General

                      *fingertip pyramid* Exxxxxxcellent.

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              1. The original comment has been removed
                1. Alright , finally some people who love Costa Rican food. My wife is Rica and she cooks gallo pinto for me on the weekends along with platano macho or as it's called here plantane (green banana), with a touch of cinnamon. Anyway I get my beer pilsen and imperial from CA brought to me by my good friends in L.A. about every other month. Yes, there are no CR restuarants in Austin, what a shame, so it seems that I am blessed with the rich foods of CR and no one to share the comida de los ricos. Maybe we'll open a small taco stand like the people in Meixco do, oh that I mention she makes a mean ceviche de camaron not that tomato sauce kind they make here in Texas and Mexico.

                  Pura Vida


                  2 Replies
                    1. re: amysuehere

                      no not ribbing it in, we've tried locateing a resturant close enought to the type of food we enjoy and from amarillo to san antonio and here in austin, we found nothing. So my wife told me about the recipes that where handed down from her grandmother when she was little and hey i love the food. Last year I got online here in ChowHound and notice people where interested in imperial beer (while I sat home having one) and have been trying to import some from CR. So, yes I'm thinking of opening a small shop here at home (Kyle) and see if I can make it a go. What do you think?