The last Thursday in November promises, family, friends, feasting and football. What more could you want from a day?
Traditions have changed since the first Thanksgiving in 1621, when the Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians broke bread for a harvest feast in Plymouth, Massachusetts. But the essence of the day is still intact. Friends, family and food come together for a celebratory feast to remind of us all we have to be thankful for. Not a bad way to spend a Thursday.
For those of you planning on ignoring all dietary restrictions, calorie counting and belt loops on Nov. 24, plenty of places around Costa Rica will make sure you don’t miss the great meal – and you don’t have to spend the morning slaving away in the kitchen. All the turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and other fixings, trimmings and trappings you can imagine will be delivered right to your table. All you have to do is bring your appetite.
In downtown San José, Casino Club Colonial in the Sleep Inn will offer an expansive banquet with just about everything that accompanies Thanksgiving tradition. The all-you-can-eat buffet will include white and dark turkey meat, stuffing, cranberry sauce, applesauce, a selection of salads, mashed potatoes, vegetables, pumpkin pie and a glass of beer or wine for $25 per person. Dinner will be served 11 a.m.-7 p.m. To reserve your spot, call 2258-2807, extension 4227. Club Colonial is at Avenida 1, between Calles 9 and 11.
The Del Mar Restaurant in the Hotel Del Rey will begin its Thanksgiving feast with salad or pumpkin soup, followed by a main course of turkey, cranberry sauce, yams, giblet gravy, beans and mashed potatoes, with your choice of pumpkin pie, tres leches or apple pie to finish it off. For price information and reservations, call 2257-7800, extension 232. The Del Rey is at Avenida 1, Calle 9, one block southeast of Parque Morazán.
The Aurola Holiday Inn will serve a formal Thanksgiving dinner from 5:30-10 p.m. on the top floor of one of San José’s tallest hotels in its Restaurante Mirador, which offers a panoramic view of central San José. The menu will include salads, pumpkin soup, turkey breast with stuffing and cranberry sauce, pork tenderloin with prune sauce, mashed potatoes with gravy, and pecan, apple and pumpkin pie. Dinner will cost $30 and includes a bottle of wine and a drink. Thanksgiving lunch also will be offered in the Tropicana restaurant in the hotel lobby from 11:30 a.m., featuring salad bar, pumpkin soup, baked turkey with gravy, roasted pork loin, fish au gratin with spinach sauce, mashed potatoes, stuffed rice with mushrooms, and pumpkin and pecan pie, for ₡6,500 ($13) including a drink and coffee. For information and dinner reservations,
call 2523-1000, extension 451. The hotel is at Avenida 5, Calle 5.
In the western suburb of Escazú, the Beacon Escazú hotel will offer Thanksgiving dinner in its fine-dining restaurant, The Muse. Starters will include Waldorf salad with apple, celery, grapes and cream cheese, as well as pumpkin soup. Main courses will be smoked turkey with stuffing and gravy, corn bread, sweet potatoes, steamed vegetables and cranberry sauce. For dessert, apple or pumpkin pie will be served. The cost is $30 per person. A kids’ menu of chicken fingers, French fries and dessert will be available for $10. For reservations, call 2228-3110. The hotel is 150 meters west of Escazú’s Central Park.
Time Out Tavern in Escazú Centro will host its fifth annual Thanksgiving dinner, which will be served from 11 a.m. until the last order of the day is made. The menu will consist of the usual Thanksgiving suspects, including turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, a variety of vegetables and apple and pumpkin pies. For price information, call 2588-2622. Time Out Tavern is 300 m south of the Costa Rica Country Club.
Café de Artistas in San Rafael de Escazú, 100 m behind Plaza Rolex, will begin serving its feast at noon on Thanksgiving Day. The menu will consist of two pieces of turkey, green beans, mashed potatoes, turkey dressing, Waldorf salad, cranberry sauce, turkey gravy, corn bread, pumpkin soup, pecan pie and a drink. The cost is $30 per person; kids eat for half price. Dinner will be served until 8 p.m. For reservations, call 2288-5082.
Oasis Café in Trejos Montealegre de Escazú will offer a traditional Thanksgiving meal with a vegetarian option. The menu includes roasted turkey breast or a vegetable pie, steamed seasonal vegetables, “Oasis” stuffing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie with vanilla ice cream. Chef Marco González said dinner will be served noon-8 p.m. for $27 per person ($17 for kids under 12). Promotions and special offers of wine, liquors and beer will also be available. For reservations, call 2228-4876. The café is inside Apartotel María Alexandra, 100 m north and 150 m west of Vivero Exótica.
On the old road from Escazú to Santa Ana, Alta Hotel’s La Luz Restaurant will offer turkey-day trimmings buffet style, with turkey, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and a host of other Thanksgiving staples. Homemade pumpkin pie will top off the exhaustive feast. For price and reservations, call 2282-4160.
On the highway from San José to the airport, in La Uruca, the Barceló San José Palacio hotel will serve a Thanksgiving feast throughout the day. An assortment of salads, international cheeses and a shrimp cocktail will start off the meal, followed by a main course of baked turkey in cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes with marshmallows and vegetables. Other main course options will include pork loin in mushroom sauce with blue cheese, barbecue ribs and tilapia. For dessert, apple, pumpkin and pecan pies will be served, as well as caramel flan, white chocolate brownies and a cranberry mousse. The cost is $37 per person. For reservations, call 2220-2034.
Closer to the airport, in Cariari, the Ramada Plaza Herradura hotel’s Tropicala restaurant will partner a fine dining experience with live music beginning at 7 p.m. Dinner will include a choice of five appetizers, including Waldorf, Caprese and Hawaiian salads, followed by roasted turkey, gravy and cranberry sauce, or roast beef and four pepper sauce. Clam chowder, rice with dried cranberries, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, glazed carrots and pumpkin and pecan pie will also be served. Dinner costs $26 per plate. For reservations, call 2209-9860.
The Doubletree Cariari by Hilton will serve its Thanksgiving banquet from 6-9 p.m. The menu includes some Latin flair, with appetizers such as ceviche, as well as all the U.S. favorites: several salad options, cream of squash soup, mashed potatoes, glazed turkey in cranberry sauce and apple pie for dessert. Other main courses of grilled pork loin and chicken breast will be offered, as will a kids’ menu of chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, French fries and nachos. Dinner costs $35 per person. For reservations, call 2239-0022, extension 8121, or email email@example.com.
One of the largest Thanksgiving spreads in the country will be offered at the Marriott Costa Rica Hotel in San Antonio de Belén, northwest of San José, from 6-10 p.m. The mammoth selection will include several salad options, such as maple nut carrot salad and apple orchard coleslaw, turkey breast stuffed with dried fruits, apples and bourbon gravy, corn bread and cranberry sauce, as well as seven types of soups, pastas, pork leg marinated Cuban-style, rib eye with herbs and sauces and some 15 dessert selections. Thanksgiving brunch will be served throughout the afternoon for $48 per person. For reservations, call 2298-0207/0206.
In the verdant hills of Rosario de Naranjo, northwest of San José in the Alajuela province, Vista del Valle Plantation Inn will serve a buffet-style “authentic homemade” Thanksgiving meal, starting at about 6 p.m. The meal will offer a choice of turkey, ham or pork roast, complemented by corn-bread stuffing, squash, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, a choice of fresh peas or string beans, and pumpkin pie and coffee for dessert. A vegetarian option includes a selection of vegetables and vegetarian gravy and stuffing. For prices, call Erika Hope at 2450-0800. The cost is $20 per person if prepaid by today, and $25 per person after Nov. 18 ($15/$20 for vegetarian option). Reservations are required and must be made by Nov. 21.
Over on the central Pacific coast, in the Gringo-friendly town of Jacó, Lemon Zest restaurant will serve a traditional Thanksgiving dinner of roasted turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetables, rolls and pumpkin, peach-blackberry or apple pie. Dinner will be served 5:30-10 p.m. For reservations, call 2643-2591.
Up north in the Guanacaste province, the JW Marriott at Hacienda Pinilla, south of Tamarindo, will offer a massive Thanksgiving banquet including Caesar and other assorted salads, pumpkin and coconut soup, roast turkey, cranberry chutney, biscuits, gravy, stuffing, rum and maple glazed pineapple ham, meatloaf, seafood casserole, green bean casserole, sweet potato and marshmallow gratin, double-baked potato and several scrumptious dessert options. The cost is $45 per person. Call 2681-2000 for reservations.