Caoba Lounge in Plaza Tempo Escazú, located in the eponymous suburb to the southwest of San José, specializes in new European cuisine. The restaurant’s cocktails and tapas are at the top of the priority list, but the menu extends far beyond.
Upon entering, guests are given an option to comfortably dine indoors or take a seat on the patio, where fresh air is always on tap. On a breezy afternoon, sipping a basil lemonade is about as refreshing as it gets, though iced tea and carbonated beverages also available. For those who prefer signature alcoholic libations, Caoba’s mojito and green sangria will do the trick.
The menu describes the sumptuous choices in both Spanish and English, but servers are also well-versed on the restaurant’s fare. Possibly the best excuse to check this place out is the three-course lunch special, which comes with a beverage, an appetizer, an entree and dessert.
Recommended starters include the mango caprese, a ripe mango with mozzarella cheese, and arancini, made with risotto and Brie surrounding carrots and peas, placed over an avocado aioli.
Main course choices run the gamut, from chicken sandwiches to lobster. The fresh pasta comes with tricolored noodles, cherry tomatoes, spinach and beets, sprinkled with Parmesan cheese. Order the “Entraña de res,” and you’ll be presented with an elegant platter of lettuce salad, slices of beef and yucca.
Dessert is – as usual – the toughest choice of all. If you know how to choose from ice cream, Chocolate Forest (brownie and mousse) and a peanut-butter-infused treat accurately dubbed “Temptation,” please explain.
The food at Caoba is quite good when the seasoning is kept under control, and for the most part, dining there was a delightful experience. The restaurant staff was friendly and helpful, offering suggestions and explaining exactly what goes into each dish.
Prices for lunch and dinner dishes range from $11-17 per person. The lunch special costs $13, but you’ll try several items on menu. Desserts run between $5-8 each.
Caoba Lounge is located in Plaza Tempo, on the Próspero Fernández Highway next to CIMA Hospital, in the southwestern San José suburb of Escazú. It is open from Monday through Saturday, noon-midnight on weekdays and noon-2 a.m. on weekends. Lunch specials run from 12-3 p.m. For more information visit www.caobalounge.wordpress.com or www.facebook.com/Caobalounge.