This week, instead of hunting down a restaurant for a specific occasion (girls’ night, couple time, family dinner with wound-up kids), I get to go completely random. And I’ve ended up, as I often do in real life, at a little neighborhood sandwich shop. This one is PiCNiC Deli and Café, aka PiCNiC Club Culinario, in Lindora, San José, Costa Rica.
Its website further describes it as an “espresso bar and artisanal sandwicheria.” English seems to be mingling freely with Spanish in San José, at least in the restaurant world. But the food itself, according to the place’s motto, is local and honest.
The menu starts with semi-continental breakfasts that may be a little small, or low on protein, for North American tastes: Waffles, yogurt parfait, fruit salad, toast, and pastries. On Saturdays you can get Eggs Benedict. The price range is 3600 to 6100 colones.
At lunch the menu expands into sandwiches (of course) and salads. All the bread is baked in house and ingredients, whenever possible, are organic. (“Healthy food is food with a conscience,” says the PiCNiC site.) There’s some English on the sandwich menu — roast beef, BLT, and (chicken) curry — but I’ll translate some of the others for you. The Botanico features hummus and roast eggplant, the Tartine uses house-smoked salmon, and the Caprese is a tomato and cheese panino. Those last two are 5100 colones, and the rest are just 4200.
The salad menu is small but varied. “Del Campo” features arugula, strawberries, and feta, for example, and Salata combines roasted beet, prosciutto, honey, and ricotta salata. Prices range from 5100 to 5900 colones.
If you’re just interested in a snack, a couple of you can share a plate of artisanal Costa Rican cheeses for 8000 colones, or get some hummus with vegetables or some marinated olives.
Of course, this being Central America, there’s plenty of coffee, everything from French Press to latte caramelo, costing from 1100 to 1900 per serving. There’s also tea, hot chocolate — and if you like coffee in everything, there’s “dirty chai” (chai plus espresso) and moccha (hot chocolate plus espresso). For cold drinks, you can have everything from bottled water to mint lemonade.
PiCNiC can be found at Plaza Futura, Local #2, Lindora (which in turn is in Santa Ana). It’s across from the Hotel Indigo, and near the Fresh Market de Lindora. Its business hours are Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 AM to 6:30 PM and Saturday from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM.
Sandwich shops are a great place to get a meal when on a budget, and this article has more ways to save money while in San Jose.