Thursday, May 30, 2013

Gluten Free Costa Rica: Hotel Playa Bejuco

Playa Bejuco is a stretch of beach about halfway between Jaco Beach and Manuel Antonio National Park along the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica.  We recently spent two weeks in a rental home close to the beach, and on our last night there decided to go to dinner at the nearby Hotel Playa Bejuco

This area of beach is a designated blue flag beach, which means it has the highest ecological rating.  The beach is clean and almost deserted most of the time, and has great surfing waves but also enough shallow water for wading into the ocean if surfing's not your thing.  It's a bit off the beaten path, but if crowded beaches and overpriced accommodations aren't your thing, this place might just be for you. 

Eating out anywhere is always a bit of a gamble because we need to make sure the food preparation is safe for my gluten free son.  We asked to see the menu before committing to the restaurant, and it was extensive enough that we were certain to find something for our son.  We asked a few questions of the waitress when we arrived and were happy to find that she was able to answer all our questions to our satisfaction.  She confirmed that the French fries were fried in a separate fryer from anything breaded, and knew the ingredients of the dishes we asked about. 

The menu was pretty extensive, and the prices were reasonable.  We ordered two appetizers and three main courses and the bill came to approx. $40 US.  Pretty reasonable, especially for the quality of the food.  The meals were delicious. 

Our meals:

Chicken & Vegetable Soup  

Caprese Salad 

Chicken & Rice with Salad & Fries 

Chicken in Mushroom Sauce with Grilled Vegetables & Fries

Fried Coconut Fish with Vegetables

We couldn't have been happier with the service and the food.  The waitress was friendly and although we were there in the low season, the quality of the food was still good.  There was a group of surfers staying too, and they were enjoying the pool and talking about their surfing experiences.  The atmosphere is elegant but relaxed, and the hotel is an eco hotel in tune with nature.

There are two floors to the restaurant, one with a view to the pool and the second floor overlooking the beach.  We didn't stay at the hotel, so I can't speak to the accommodations, but the outside of the hotel was well maintained.  The pool was one of the nicest I've seen, and there is a small children's pool as well.  The whole building exuded charm, and it's a quick walk to the beach from the hotel.  Building directly beach front is not allowed in Costa Rica, but it's less than a one minute walk from the hotel to the beach.  I snapped a few photos of the hotel grounds:

Pool view from the ground floor of the restaurant

The Bar

Second floor hall with rooms to the left

If you're looking for a place to have a special meal, but don't want the crowded, overpriced restaurants of the more touristy areas, this restaurant is easy to get to, is full of charm and has great service and food. 

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