Continued (page 2 of 5)
RESTAURANTE GRANO DE ORO
Hotel Grano de Oro
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.
Marina Los Sueños, Playa Herradura
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
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
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.
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.