So, we’re back from Costa Rica. We actually got back last week but I’ve been too busy getting things sorted around here, and going through all my vacation pictures to do a proper update. The trip was wonderful, exactly what we needed, and Costa Rica is a beautiful country. I highly recommend it. Super friendly people, awesome food, great scenery, and sun, sun, sun - what more can you ask for?
Speaking of food there is one restaurant in particular that I’ve been dying to tell you about. It’s called El Chante Vegano, and it’s in Alajuela not very far from San Jose, or the Airport and it’s the perfect place to stay if you’re going up to the Poaz volcano or the La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Anyway, we ate at El Chante twice on our trip and both times we were blown away, and really I don’t say that lightly. This was probably the best food we ate in all of Costa Rica. Everything we ordered was full of flavor, and tasted amazingly fresh. You can really tell that a lot of love and time goes into not only the food preparation but the restaurant as a whole.
|Hummus and Pita|
|Plantains with Refried Beans and Guacamole|
It’s a beautiful place, comfortable and down to earth, and bigger then many of the restaurants we ate in on the trip. The family that runs the restaurant is super friendly, and helpful. They really make you feel welcome and at home. Since during part of our meal we were the only people in the restaurant we spent a lot of time talking with the owners, who were just really, really nice.
|Garbanzo Bean Burger|
The menu selection is small but varied, there are enough options and enough variety to keep everyone interested and make everyone happy. Our first time there we ordered the fried plantains for an appetizer which came with refried beans and your choice of guacamole or pico de gallo. We chose the guac. There were amazing, I loved that they were crispy yet tender at the same time. The refried beans were creamy, and flavorful, and the guacamole was some of the best we’ve ever had. We ordered this again on our second visit and also ordered the hummus with pita. The pita bread was soft and chewy, the hummus was creamy yet fluffy, delicate, delicious and perfectly spiced.
On our first visit my husband had the portobello burger which came with a side of rosemary potatoes. He loved it, and said it was wonderful. I tried the garbanzo bean burger which was to die for. Really this was such a unique patty, it held together well, but was moist, yet flaky. It’s a hard texture to describe and something I’ve never experienced elsewhere. Plus the flavor was wonderful, the perfect amount of seasoning. My burger also came with rosemary potatoes which were delicious.
We also ordered coffee with soy milk - because Costa Rican coffee is amazing - and for dessert we got a chocolate brownie that had little bits of walnut in it. The brownie was straight from the oven and still warm,. So delicious. Not a novice baker myself by any means, but this was probably one of the best brownies I’ve ever had. We also got a cupcake, I don’t remember what kind it was now, but it was so good, and had a light floral taste. I was particularly impressed with the icing which was light, and not overly sugary.
|No Sea Burrito|
For our main meals on our second visit I decided to get the No Sea Burrito which was fantastic. It had refried beans, mushrooms, and some other vegetables wrapped up in a tortilla that was lightly grilled or perhaps broiled. I loved that the tortilla was crisp yet soft, this gave it great texture to go along with the great flavor. My husband had the Lu Sandwich, which was a veggie sandwich with a pesto sauce. I don’t remember all the veggies that were on this but he gave me a bite and I concur that it was fantastic. The bread that they use for their sandwiches is really fantastic too, it’s light, chewy, herby, perfect! The Lu Sandwich came with rosemary potatoes again, and my burrito came with a nice side salad dressed in a light vinaigrette
|Veggie Lu Sandwich|
On our second round we got cinnamon buns fresh from the oven. These were wonderful, crisp on the outside soft on the inside, still warm from the oven with a light sugary, cinnamon drizzle over top. Amazing.
Really, .There are not enough good things I can say about El Chante Vegano. If you’re in or near Alajuela you must pay them a visit, I promise you won’t be disappointed. Out of all the places we ate on our trip this was by far our favorite. High quality food, great flavors, wonderful atmosphere, great selection of music playing over the stereo, reasonable prices, and wonderful people. What more can you ask for? Anytime I’m in Costa Rica this will be my go-to restaurant destination.
El Chante Vegano
25 Meters West of the Post Office of Costa Rica, (Avenida 5 - Juan Santa María)
Open Tue-Sun 11am-8pm, closed Mon
PS: Yes I did take a picture of the outside of the restaurant but seem to have momentarily misplaced it. As soon as I find it i'll put it up.