I come from a long line of people who enjoy experiencing life through the olfactory and taste senses (aka “foodies”). Before me, there was Tia Berta. Before her, came my mom. At any given meal out, you can find any of us commenting to the other:
“What’s that- coriander?”
*Taste sauce again* “No, that’s definitely cumin.”
We like to figure out the complexities and deconstruct the flavors as we go: call it eating as code-breaking.
When visiting a new place we like to inquire from the locals and also from other visitors, where is the best place to have a great meal. I watched Tia Berta in action, rattling off in Spanish her question to people we encountered from Argentine Lucretia at the beach to our VRBO coordinator Eduardo. She is fearless (and I love it).
Without a doubt, every time we asked this question in Nosara, Costa Rica, the answer was, “Lagarta Lodge.”
On the day of our arrival into Nosara, Eduardo drove us to this famed lodge. He had told us, if you go anywhere, you must go to Lagarta Lodge.
The walls of the restaurant are open air and look onto a jungle and riverbed from one angle and then onto the ocean and beach from another. It might not surprise you that the answer we received when we asked to book a reservation was a coy smile from the hostess and “everyone would.”
We squeezed in an early reservation for our party of four on January 1st. Since we were without car, we walked the easy but slightly uphill climb to the lodge from our house. (If I never say this again, when planning a trip to Nosara, the need-to-have item is a flashlight. Trust me, it will make all those evening trysts and trips materialize.)
For fine dining in Nosara, this is it.
When we arrived at Lagarta Lodge, the hostess made a point to confirm our arrival and invited us to enjoy cocktails at the neighboring Sunset Bar. Now, this bar is a must-visit. It lives up to its name- watching the sun set over the casual waves of the Pacific below was spectacular.
We lingered over blended drinks. A fantastic detail about Lagarta Lodge is they only have one seating per night. You could linger at the bar as long as you like- your table and seats are held in your name.
I kept looking for lagartas, crocodiles, below in the riverbed but none were to be found. There was a black vulture peering down at the bar from a nearby tree bough. I have a feeling he wishes he too could suck down a blended bevvie.
Once the sun had officially sunken deep into the horizon, we ambled our way up to the restaurant. Our server was friendly and informative. As she ran through the evening’s specials, we all came to our conclusions and ordered a few minutes later.
The waitress brought out rolls, which are not seen often in these parts. We later learned that they purchase them from a bakery in Liberia. Not a hop, skip and a jump away. I treasured that roll because of the journey it had taken to get to my mouth.
Nathan and I split an Ensalada con Palmito, Salad with Hearts of Palm, while the mamas halved their Ensalada con Aguacate, Salad with Avocado. Michael ordered la sopa de pescado, fish soup and it was made from scratch.
He pulled off the tiny crab that scented the broth, pulling the sweet meat from inside the claws. Our salads were good, especially since we had underestimated the amount of greens we would be taking in over the course of our stay.
For mains, Tia Berta and I ordered the Filete de Corvino preparada a la plancha con ajo, Grilled Sea Bass with Garlic and a side of their croquettes. The croquettes were an interesting treatment of mashed potatoes formed into the shape of a pear, rolled in breading and fried. They made such a pretty addition to the plate and the accompanying “pear stem” that was really a shoestring potato was a nice touch. Michael ordered the bacon wrapped shrimp brochettes along with my mama. Nathan ordered swordfish in a white sauce with a side of rice.
Each of our entrees was cooked perfectly. The garlic sauce didn’t overpower the fish and the slight crunch of croquette complemented. We had saved no room for dessert and frankly the night had become so thoroughly darkened, it was time to start the journey home.
A memorable meal awaits you at Lagarta Lodge. And if you happen to walk from home, make sure to take your time meandering back- the stars will put on an after-dinner show of Milky Way proportions.