Caliche’s Wishbone in Jacó is a seafood paradise for the hungry surfer

February 20, 2017
4 Comments

JACÓ, Puntarenas — The first thing you notice in Caliche’s Wishbone, located smack-dab in the middle of Jacó’s main street, is all the signed surfboards decorating the restaurant’s walls. Each one of them offers patrons a recommendation on what to eat or shows kind words for owner Caliche Alfaro from notable surfers like the late, great Andy Irons.

One bright pink surfboard in particular gives new customers a great clue as to what to order, as the bubble letters inscribed call down to the weary beachgoer: “Love the pokeee.” It’s these words, coming after a long day in the sun and sand of Playa Jacó, that are cast down onto the hungry and possibly confused customers like a sign from God. And they should be treated with the same seriousness.

Caliche's Wishbone

Michael Krumholtz/The Tico Times

On a personal level, there are few things I love as much as seafood. If I lived by the coast I would eat it three times a day every day without hesitation. So anytime I go to the beach in Costa Rica, my itinerary must include a sampling of fresh fish.

So in this, my third visit to Caliche’s, I had now had enough experience to know that just not any plate of fish would fill my empty stomach. It had to be the poke, the common name for a raw fish salad.

Caliche’s twist on the dish includes a bowl full of sticky rice, avocado, sesame seeds, spinach and a beautiful smattering of raw tuna.

Caliche's Wishbone

Michael Krumholtz/The Tico Times

Every time I have gone to Caliche’s I’ve ordered the poke and every time I have come away more and more certain that it’s one of the very best dishes offered at any restaurant in Costa Rica. It’s a perfect dish in every way, from the texture of the tuna with the rice to the appropriate blend of vegetables that don’t try to mask the fish.

My girlfriend, who refuses to eat raw fish, did not share my zeal for this meal. In fact, she looked at me like I was a maniac while I scarfed down the huge bowl of poke.

She, instead, opted for the pargo rojo – red snapper – which is always a good choice in Costa Rica.

Caliche's Wishbone

Michael Krumholtz/The Tico Times

So it shouldn’t be surprising that the red snapper at Caliche’s is especially good. I’ve had snapper countless times now and I’m hard-pressed to remember a piece of snapper I’ve tasted that was as perfectly cooked as this one.

The famous Argentinean chef Francis Mallmann once wisely said, “There is nothing more sad than an overcooked fish.” That spongy taste that makes the fish chewy when it should almost melt into your tongue is when you know a fish has been wrongly cooked. And if we’re still on the subject of signs from God, it truly should be considered a sin.

But Caliche’s avoids that by letting the snapper’s flavor shine and making the skin nice and crispy. Even if I’ve maybe had better overall pieces of snapper, this was the best experience I’ve had with the skin. My girlfriend and I both agreed it made the dish stand out in a country where you can find red snapper on every menu.

Caliche's Wishbone

Michael Krumholtz/The Tico Times

Caliche’s self-titled “eclectic menu” is part Asian, part Cali-Mex and a dash of vegetarian, with some coastal Costa Rican influence.

Besides the seafood, Caliche’s is also purported to make a mean pizza and offers common Mexican fare like tacos, nachos and burritos. The wide-ranging menu also boasts pita options, salads and pastas.

So even if you’re not quite ready to heed the almighty wisdom of the pink surfboard and dive right into a bowl of raw fish, there are still plenty of delicious options to choose from.

Contact Michael Krumholtz at mkrumholtz@ticotimes.net

 

You may be interested

Four Seasons Resort hosting job fairs across Costa Rica
Pic of the Day
771 views
Pic of the Day
771 views

Four Seasons Resort hosting job fairs across Costa Rica

Alissa Grosskopf - September 19, 2018

The Four Seasons Resort at the Peninsula Papagayo is looking for employees. The resort is hosting job fair events throughout…

Unions and government start talks to end strike
News
1156 views
News
1156 views

Unions and government start talks to end strike

AFP and The Tico Times - September 19, 2018

Representatives from the government and public-sector unions got together Wednesday in a preliminary meeting to seek an agreement to stop…

Venezuelans fume after Nicolas Maduro filmed dining with celebrity chef ‘Salt Bae’ in Turkey
Latin America
2082 views
Latin America
2082 views

Venezuelans fume after Nicolas Maduro filmed dining with celebrity chef ‘Salt Bae’ in Turkey

AFP - September 18, 2018

Impoverished Venezuelans have reacted with fury after videos of President Nicolas Maduro gorging on succulent pieces of meat in a…