San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Partake! At a Plethora of Palate-Pleasing Places

A lively blend of international residentsdemands an equally lively blend ofrestaurants, and Flamingo and Potrero willnot disappoint. The cast of characters inalphabetical order follows:Amberes (Flamingo, 654-4001, opendaily, 6 p.m.-closing) is the area’s hottestdining-and-dancing venue. This open-airplace on Flamingo’s hill road throws in acasino to boot.El Grillo’s (Potrero, 654-5567, opendaily, 5-11) pub-style menu is but one ofthe attractions at this neighborhood placejust off the main road in town. Weekendssee sing-alongs and you can take part in theSaturday-night jam session if your talentso moves you.Calzones, pizza and sub sandwicheshave recently arrived in the personage ofFlamingo Subs & Pizzeria (Flamingo,816-5749, open 11-11, Fri.-Sat.; 11-9,Sun.-Mon., Thurs.). Pizza is served only inthe evening, but it’s Chicago-style deep dishpizza, and well worth the wait.Bakery and Tex-Mex restaurant rolledinto one, Harden’s Gardens (Potrero,654-4271, open 7 a.m.-8 p.m., closedSun.) is famous for cookies and cinnamonbuns, and began offering south-of-the bordercuisine (well, that’s a few countriesnorth of the Costa Rican border) thispast year.Hillside (Flamingo, 654-4226, opendaily, 6 a.m.- 9 p.m.) proudly makes everythingfrom scratch and serves up gourmetsandwiches, burritos, veggie specialties,pizza and baked goods in a bistro setting.Tex-Mex meets Costa Rican típico cuisineat Las Brisas (Potrero, 654-4047,daily, noon-midnight). They mix up a greatCaesar salad at this beachside restauranttoo.The new Les Arcades (south ofFlamingo on road to Brasilito, 654-4385,daily, 6 p.m.-closing) oozes air-conditionedelegance at surprisingly reasonableprices. Partake of crepes, ecargot, or ahearty Belgian waterzooi before movinginto the sitting room for an after-dinnercoffee or cognac.Mar y Sol (Flamingo, 654-4151,) willopen in August at the top of the Flamingoridge and will serve up the owners’ nativeFrench and Catalán cuisines. Hours had yetto be determined at this writing.It’s all-Italian cuisine –and if you’rehere during prime European vacation time,nearly all Italian diners — at lively MarcoPolo (Potrero, 654-4664, open 7 a.m.-10p.m.). This new restaurant is in the HotelVillaggio Flor de Pacífico.Don’t pass up the banana chocolatebread pudding at the venerable Marie’s(Flamingo, 654-4136, open daily, 6:30a.m.-9:30 p.m.), but start off with the rotisseriechicken or shish kebab as maincourse. This open-air restaurant on themain road is an old standby, and arguablythe restaurant most identified withFlamingo.There is indeed seafood at the MarinerInn (Flamingo, 654-4081, open daily, 6a.m.-10 p.m.), but you’ll just as likely findspaghetti or barbecued ribs at this second storyhangout, popular with the expatriatecrowd.A great mix of locals and touristsmakes the Monkey Grill (Flamingo, 654-4141, open daily, 7 a.m.-10 p.m.) a greatmix of fun. There’s a bit of everything —seafood, meats, appetizers, happy hours, asports-bar atmosphere – poolside at theFlamingo Marina Resort.Don’t drive too fast as you come intoFlamingo. You might miss Pleamar(entrance to Flamingo, 654-4521, opendaily, 10-10) and some of the best cevichearound.Affiliated with the restaurant of thesame name in Tamarindo, Stella II(entrance to Flamingo, 654-4554, open 11-9:30, closed Wed.), was formerly theFantasía Oriental, but has maintained theAsian cuisine befitting its previous name.There are private dining rooms for specialevents too.Greek and Italian cuisines have arrivedhere at Tuanys (Potrero, 654-4475, opendaily, 11-11). The place opened in July, andthe owner plans live entertainment onweekends.

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