We had some really great food in Ojochal. Here are some of my favorite dishes and places.
Restaurante Pinuelas (about 50 meters south of the entrance to Playa Pinuelas) – this soda has super good ceviche and super fresh seafood. I don’t know how many ceviche mixtos (with fish and shrimp) I ate at this place. Be sure to get the ceviche with patacones (fried smashed salty plaintains). The lime juice in the ceviche and the salt in the patacones complement each other perfectly. They also serve a fried whole red snapper that you can get in small, medium, or large. A medium is just the right size for two people. It comes with vegetables and nacho chips. The fish is perfectly crisp. They don’t sell fish tacos, which I love, but you can make your own by ordering the breaded fish (pescado empanizado) and asking for a portion of “tiernas” (small flour tortillas). The breaded fish is crispy and soft and comes with french fries, steamed vegetables, and tartar sauce. My boyfriend loved the filete de pescado casado. Casado is a dish that you can get at most sodas in Costa Rica; it consists of some type of meat of your choosing and salad, rice, vegetables, beans, and sweet plantains. This dish was just perfect for lunch after a morning of swimming. As you can see, we REALLY liked Restaurante Pinuelas. Note that they close when they run out of ceviche, which is usually around sunset. A meal for 2 with drinks is about $20.
Citrus (just past the bridge in Ojochal) – this restaurant has really good seafood dishes that come with more interesting sauces. Here we got the ceviche, which comes with a slightly sauce made from coconut milk, ginger, and bananas; the fish is cut in larger pieces than a standard ceviche. We also got the salmon tartare, which is made from smoked salmon and served with dill and avocado and toast. The tartare was very creamy and reminded me of lox with cream cheese. We also got the sea bass entree, which is served with a saffron sauce and extremely fragrant jasmine rice. The fish is light and fresh and the rich saffron sauce complemented it perfectly. You should make reservations during high season by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling +506 2786-5175. If you can’t get a reservation but are really hungry at night, you can get takeout. Our meal of 2 appetizers and an entree was $50.
Exotica (1 km past the bridge in Ojochal) – the place is run by Lucy and her husband Roberto. They left Canada 23 years ago and never looked back. The food here is a mix of French and colonial French. Our favorite appetizer was the Cognac Pate, which is served with toast, pickles, red onions, and mustard on a bed of greens. I was feeling a bit under the weather when we first got to Costa Rica and ordered the Vietnamese Chicken soup, which was fantastic. It is a tiny bit spicy and made with fresh chicken and green bean threads (sort of like see-through vermicelli noodles but lighter). It was just right for making me well again. We also got an amazing dessert called Cool Passion, which was a mix of passion fruit sorbet, vanilla ice cream, and blackberry syrup. It was fresh and delicious. You definitely should make reservations by emailing email@example.com or calling +506 2786–5050. Our meals usually came to about $60 for 2 with drinks.
Pancito (across from the mercado near the entrance of Ojochal) – this place has bread and good coffee and free wi-fi. Note that their pain au chocolat looks like a croissant but is actually more doughy and like a bun. But at the end of the day, can one really complain about getting bread with a heap of chocolate in paradise? I think not.