San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Arenal Report

Recently, I criticized the comida típica at Tilarán s thriving tourist restaurant and gift shop, Aromatico. More recently, I met with owner Rigoberto Murillo and apologized to him for expressing my opinion here instead of speaking to him personally about a meal. Aromatico, located where the lake highway reaches Tilarán before dropping toward Cañas, is about three years old. Rigoberto s hard work, innovations and expansions have made it a very handy and enjoyable stop for busloads of tourists, as well as a favorite with quite a few locals, who find it a good place to meet as well as to go online with Wi-Fi. Though he has 16 employees, Rigoberto works long hours daily within the cafeteria-style restaurant and the large gift shop, talking to diners and even clearing tables. He and his staff are often especially challenged when as many as three busloads of tourists invade Aromatico at once. As I saw while meeting with Rigoberto, what I wrote didn t chase anyone away, but I shouldn t have added to his stress.

Not to be completely deterred, I ll write about another restaurant, but not in such a way as to give owner Jayson Elliott heartburn. Jayson and partner Cindy several months ago took over the 5 Corners Grill at Cinco Esquinas, just where one comes into view of the lake on the way from Tilarán. The restaurant now has a Tex-Mex menu, and the dishes my wife, Laura, and I ordered recently were very tasty. We had an excellent Caesar salad, fish tacos and taco salad with tilapia. Most menu items offer a choice of three types of rice, three types of beans and several types of dressing ranging from no-problem to hot. The menu includes various soups and salads, some alternative cuisine such as rib-eye steaks, and nice desserts. Pizza will be offered soon. Jayson and Cindy offer a broad selection of wines (finally!) and beers. They are planning to turn the building s former real estate office into a sports bar, and, if all goes winningly, will be using the outdoor dining area as well. It promises to be a great place to hang out.


Alex Murray

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