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Dec 24, 2011 10:25 AM

Manuel Antonio Costa Rica

My husband and I will be traveling to Manuel Antonio Park in Costa Rica staying at a Villa Resort where we will have the opportunity to cook and, of course, try the many restaurants in the area. I'd love some guidance about the culinary resourses available to for home cooking supplies as well as recommendations for restaurants. Thanks so much.

Ann Morris

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  1. Thanks for posting this, annmorris. My fiance and I are also really interested to hear replies on this subject. When are you going?

    7 Replies
    1. re: Monksmonks

      there are great restarants in Manuel antonio
      La Hacienda
      Grand Escape in quepos
      Villia Nicklous ask for Albert as a great waiter.
      Se Como No eat there and get a ticket for a nice little movie theater.
      Angels next to superjosephes (market in MA) is a good soda
      for supplies go into Quepos and shop at SuperMas, Pali (southamerican wallmart) has good inexpensive basics. for the good stuff SuperMas Super Josephes is moy pricey.
      Try Tropical Shushi (where my daughter in law makes rolls) right next to Grand Escape.
      go to Grand Escape for deserts.
      get your conceriege to find you a chef to come to your house and make your party a great local meal. oh and for the greatest sunset and five star dining dont miss dinner at the Gaia. a golf cart takes you up the mountain to the restarant for and incredible view and five star service and meal. tell boris Linda sent you. He is just great. i live in MA most of the year and these are my favorite pics. Eat fish. everywhere. avoid beef. try the chicironies. Market day on Saturday morning and friday night on the road facing the ocean. dont miss that. i heard that Quincy, our local cheese maker was selling funny brownies at the market several weeks ago. might have been a hoax. The Local Coffee Roaster is Cafe Milagro and is very special coffee. be sure and take some home.

      1. re: potter50quepos

        Thanks so much for your input potter. My husband and I first viisited MA over 25 years ago staying at the Mariposa which was one of the only places at that time. We remember that the food was really bad, so I am glad to have your recommendations. We are thinking of hiring a local chef through our concierge but, not to be too immodest, we're really good cooks and have taken cooking lessons all over the world. Will let you know how thinks work out.

        1. re: potter50quepos

          I must respectfully disagree with the Gaia La Luna recommendation. Based upon your suggestion here, my boyfriend and I went last night and while the space was great, the food was riddled with mistakes - nothing 5 star about it. I had pork tenderloin which looked unlike any cut of pork tenderloin I've ever seen. It was accompanied by tasteless mashed potatoes and an inedibly sweet vanilla  wine reduction. My boyfriend had an octopus & calamari dish to start - the octopus too tough and chewy to eat. His crispy red snapper was overcooked. He's a foodie so this was especially disappointing. What's worse is that I just read the TripAdvisor reviews of the restaurant and if there's a negative one, the restaurant owner (who we met on our visit) responds with a defensive, bitter and condescending retort that is clearly meant to convey that the reviewer doesn't know anything about food. An approach like that is not going help overcome poor reviews. 
          We went to Kapi Kapi the night before and will probably go back tonight since we had such great food the first time - thanks for THAT recommendation. Kapi Kapi is wonderful!

        2. re: Monksmonks

          We'll be leaving on the 21st of Jan for one week. When are you thinking of going? We'll try and post a review when we get back which, I hope, could be helpful to you. We're staying at the Tulemar Villa Resort. Best of luck

          1. re: annmorris

            Right across the road (and on a recommendation from our concierge at Tulemar this past summer) we tried Kapi Kapi one evening. Was pleasantly surprised. It's slightly on the pricey side - but someone tell me what *isn't* priced up in M.A. I had excellent homemade lobster ravioli and wife had a very good filet mignon.

            My son enjoys the kick @#$ burger at Aqua Azul down the road. Excellent view, and far better food that El Avion (although Avion's ambience is ok for an appetizer and drink). It's nearly impossible to find a good burger in Costa Rica, so Azul stands out.

            Down the road (toward Quepos) there's a place called Rancho Tipical Bijagual. Wife (who is a Tica) is partial to the typical cooking - the chicharrones are very good (and possibly the only ones you'd find w/out driving into Quepos). You won't be blown away by the ambience but if you're looking for a respite from the commercialization element.

          2. re: Monksmonks

            Just got back from wonderful Manuel Antonio. The food in this country is nothing to rave about, but we did have a reasonably good meal at Kapi Kapi. We had tapas at Gaia while watching the sunset. Since we had such a beautiful view from our villa and the food was not great, we didn't feel it was worth the trip. We did alot of cooking at home but even that was not terribly satisfactory due to inferior ingredients. We did have some reasonable lunches at our resort Tulumar. Sorry this report couldn't be more positive. I should let you know that we are very picky. Good luck!

            1. re: annmorris

              Thanks for the update, annmorris! I will keep this in mind for the future. We have since decided to go to the Virgin Islands for our honeymoon since we only have 5 days for it, but will definitely go to Costa Rica before kids enter the picture. (so in the next year or so.)

              We are picky, too, so it is a big help.

          3. Si Como No is very good for lunch. Dinner at the Mariposa Hotel is nice as the view is fantastic.

            1 Reply
            1. re: bronwen

              Thanks bronwen. Will note this for next time. Actually my husband and I stayed at the Mariposa about 25 years ago when it was the only hotel in Manuel Antonio. How things have changed!


            2. just got back from costa rica and the mrs and i probably had the most memorable dinner at agua azul. we still salivate about the bruschetta...we stayed at the parador and enjoyed their dinner one of the nights. cafe milagro was our daily morning fix before the canopy/zip lines/atv/parasailing and various other activities.

              odd was some of the best food was the home cooked meals and various street vendors (will try to remember after looking thru our photos)

              4 Replies
              1. re: rockwell

                Rockwell, Thanks for the update. My husband and I and some friends are actually going back to Tulemar again at the end of the month. We plan to return to Kapi Kapi and will add Aqua Azul to our list. Any other suggestions will be most appreciated. This year we will go into Quepos for our shopping hoping the ingredients will be superior to what we found at Josephes which was so sub par.

                1. re: annmorris

                  Any recommendations or updates from you trip? My family is heading to MA next week. This is our first visit to Costa Rica.

                  We are spending part of our time at Arenal and the rest at Tulemar.

                  1. re: suburban_mom

                    This time we ate at Victoria's just outside the gates of Tulemar and found it to be quite acceptable. Kapi Kapi is always good.
                    We also hired the private cook for our villa and had 2 out of 3 fabulous meals. We ate at Cafe de Malanga again and were completely disappointed. Hope this is helpful.

                    ann morris