Friday, January 9, 2009

Trout Farm Restaurants in La Paz, San Ramon Costa Rica

Rincon Poeta in San Ramon was my local hangout while I lived in the barrio these past 8 years. Many thanks to the owner Alonso, Sergio, Jason, Gigi, etc. for great service and to Carla and the chicas in the kitchen for great food. Out in La Paz (20 minutes into the country outside San Ramon), the 3 trout farm restaurants are becoming my new regular spots.

A cool Costa Rica tradition is trout farms that double as bars and restaurants. Fresh fish is one thing, but eating a fish that was alive just minutes before eating it is another realm.

Mi Tata is the closest to Bajo La Paz center. Located down a dirt road, it has a down home local feeling with it’s open air wooden structure overlooking two trout ponds. When we entered, Johnny Cash was playing followed by “Born to be Wild” and other popular American music…. Kind of surreal. The owner and waitress, who we met on earlier visits, warmly greeted us.

Janet and I started our meal with a few shots of Guaro (Costa Rican sugar cane liquor) and a beer. The Guaro set us back C600/$1.15 a shot and the bottle of Pilsen a mere C800/$1.50. A 1lb. whole Trout dinner with yucca and banana cerviche was delicious, fresh and very satisfying ($5.00). In the USA, people pay big bucks for a fresh fish dinner. In these tough economic times, it’s a real treat to live so well for so little $$$$ and lots of welcoming spirit.

Nearby is Rancho Carrucha which seems to be more family oriented. The first time we were here, it was a busy Sunday and quite the scene. Local families bring their kids for a pleasant day of catching and eating fish, playing pool, a cool time just a short ride from San Ramon.

CentroEcotouristica, the most exotic of the 3 settings, is at the end of the road in Bajo La Paz. After a couple of miles on a stone road you arrive at the edge of a reserve that stretches all the way to Monteverde. A hand painted sign reads, “Mundo Sin Explorer,” loosely translated as, “The World Not Explored.” This is the end of the road for cars and becomes bird, plant and animal paradise beyond this establishment. The air is clean and fresh and the river is perfect for a swim.

The meals are pretty similar at all 3 places. Explore and decide which spot feels best to you.

As I was paying my bill at Mi Tata and walking to my car, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” by Cindy Lauper was blasting from the speakers. Great meal, fun scene … and many adventures ahead.