COSTA RICA

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RESTAURANTE GRANO DE ORO
Hotel Grano de Oro
Calle 30
San José
Tel: 506-255-3322
hotelgranodeoro.com

If it's not too humid, a table on the ornate wrought-iron veranda or the tropical garden of this Colonial-style hotel is so romantic; the dining room, with its wicker bucket chairs, is a little less so. Either way, this is the capital's best restaurant, all grand-Euro cuisine and well-heeled locals.

EL GALEÓN
Marina Los Sueños, Playa Herradura
Tel: 506-643-2536

Near the Marriott resort and part of a growing development, this waterside setting is lovely, with marina lights twinkling, boats bobbing, and rigging clinking. The food here really stands out: fresh, seafood-centric and contemporary—it's worth the sticker shock.

INN AT COYOTE MOUNTAIN
San Ramon, Central Valley
Tel: 506-383-0544

A divine Spanish hacienda-style inn on top of a hill west of San José is where to get some of the country's best food—innovative Latin-Creole dishes by chef-owners from Nova Scotia, who also run a cooking school here. Consider overnighting in one of the four lovely rooms.

BALCÓN DE UVITA
Uvita
Tel: 506-743-8034
balcondeuvita.com

You won't believe your eyes—or stomachs—when you arrive at this tiny inn, whose restaurant has blue shutters, Balinese chairs, a spectacular view to the ocean a mile away, and the best (doubtless the only) Indonesian kitchen in Costa Rica. Order the absolutely authentic 15-dish rijsttafel and rejoice. It's open Thursday through Sunday till 9 p.m. for non-guests. You can stay, too, in one of their spotless cabinas.

GINGER
Playa Hermosa
Tel: 506-672-0041

This modern, high-style restaurant has a partly glass-sided, part-open terrace overlooking gardens carpeted (in season) with ginger flowers. The food, by the Canadian expatriate owner-chef, has style too—ginger-glazed chicken, ceviche, spring rolls, all served on small plates for sharing.

 

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