La Terrasse in San José is the perfect place for a romantic dinner for two during a trip to Costa Rica. This upscale French restaurant, located in the chef’s own home, is not only known for its fine cuisine, it’s been visited by high level Costa Rican government officials, foreign dignitaries, and leading figures of the culinary world.
Chef Patricia Richer cooks for clients (after they’ve rung the doorbell and her husband lets them in) in her elegantly decorated 1927 wooden house. Her mission is to share both her French cuisine and French culture.
On the restaurant’s site, you can not only read the menu but see photos of all the dishes, which will probably make you want to order all of them — but let’s work our way through.
Appetizers include creamy cauliflower soup, goat cheese and basil mousse, and of course French bread. Prices range from 4500 to 4800 colones.
For main dishes, we have Daube Provencal (beef and root vegetables stewed in red wine sauce), chicken rolls with tapenade and Italian ham, vegetarian lasagna, sautéd shrimp, and more. Each main dish is served with two side dishes suggested by Chef Richer, which can include “gratin potatoes or mashed potatoes with olive oil , vegetable crumble or muffins, cooked vegetables, rice with spices…” Main dishes cost from 8000 to 12,000 colones.
Desserts are homemade and include profiteroles with vanilla ice cream and hot chocolate topping (if you want, you can bracket your meal with profiteroles, since the appetizers include a savory version with mascarpone and roasted tomatoes), warm chocolate cake, and several more, mostly very rich. All cost 4300 colones.
(Quick review here, in case you haven’t read any of my other articles about eating in San José: A thousand Costa Rican colones are about $1.87 U.S. So, for example, the desserts will be roughly $8 each.)
Though the wine list is not available online, reviewers report that, as with any good French dinner, the right wine for your meal will be available.
La Terrasse is at Avenida 9, Calle 15, San Jose 100, “25 meters south of the Hotel La Amistad”, according to its TripAdvisor listing, if that helps. Apparently it can be a little hard to find. It’s also near the Hotel Aranjuez. Speaking of TripAdvisor, La Terrasse was awarded a Certificate of Excellence this year.
Reservations are essential, and payment must be made in cash. Though this can be inconvenient, planning for it can make your intimate evening worry-free.
Editor’s Note: Also check out this article for ideas for fun places to shop as a couple.