San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Good eats for the mind and body at Ome

From the print edition

In the Nahuatl language spoken by the Aztecs of Mexico, the word “ome” means two. For Julio Montoya, one of the owners of Ome Restaurant located in the Antares Gastronomical Center in San Pedro, the word represents the duality inherent in the act of eating. “Eating is one part spiritual, and one part corporeal,” Montoya said.

I thought Montoya might be on to something with this duality thing when my eating partner and I sat down at Ome one night recently. The pint glass of mojito ({3,500/$7) a waiter slipped into my hands a few minutes later soothed both my physical and spiritual aspects, with a crisp lime bite balanced on top of a cool minty sweetness.

It was around 9 p.m. on a Tuesday evening and most of the dinner crowd had already shuffled out into the night as we perused the menu of fresh, herb-infused dishes, some featuring unique flavor combinations. Ome has been open for about one year, Montoya told us. The menu includes juices, cocktails and artisanal beers, sandwiches (from {4,000/$8), bocas (from {1,800/$3.50), lunch plates and host of entrees for meat-eaters and veggie-lovers alike.

My eating partner ordered a ginger-lemonade ({1,300/$2.50) from the juice menu despite my exhortations to go for a mint-and-watermelon concoction.

“First, we want to have something healthy, some very fresh ingredients,” Montoya said. “And then we want to take our customer somewhere new with interesting flavors put together in ways they might not have experienced before.”

For starters I went with the tower of tuna ({5,500/$11) while my friend opted for avocado with shrimp in chipotle salsa ({4,900/$10). Neither dish disappointed; the tower of tuna stacked fresh avocado slices together with the brighter flavors of lemon-marinated tuna sashimi splashed with soy sauce and drizzled with a hint of sesame oil. The creamy combo of avocado with shrimp and chipotle couldn’t be faulted, though, as a Texan I found myself wishing for a little more picante kick out of the chipotle sauce.

For entrées we went all out, requesting beef tenderloin, cooked rare and dripping in a rosemary red wine sauce ({7,700/$15), a vegetable and mint-leaf stuffed tilapia filet ({7,800/$15) and a steaming plate of yucca gnocchi swimming in a tomato and tequila sauce ({6,800/$13). 

The beef tenderloin came out beautifully cooked and accompanied by steamed vegetables and yucca puree. The tilapia filet had a crisp crust and the mellow flavor meshed well with the warm mint and mixed veggies inside. The yucca gnocchi, though, stole the show for me. Perhaps I’m a sucker for the starchy vegetable, but the gnocchi soaked up the tangy tequila and tomato sauce accented by little curls of fresh of basil garnish.

For dessert, we selected chocolate and almond salami with gelato and mint leaves ({2,900/$6) and a mixed fruit sundae topped by an orange rosemary sauce ({2,900/$6). The former, a chocolate loaf packed with almonds and cookie bits, was more delicious than the name suggests; gelato topped with mint leaves is pretty unassailable in terms of decadence. 

We left feeling not the essential existential dichotomy suggested by Ome’s name, but rather a warm and well-stuffed universal oneness.

Ome Restaurant

Location: San Pedro in the Antares Gastronomical Center next to the Rotonda de la Bandera
Hours: Mon-Fri. Noon-3 p.m. and 6-10 p.m., closed Tuesdays, Sat. Noon-11 p.m. and Sun. Noon-10 p.m.
Contact: 2253-3447,

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