Costa Rican Arroz con Pollo
Costa Rican Arroz con Pollo

Ticos know that the secret to good food isn't just how you cook, it's what you cook. Although Costa Rican restaurants often use local produce, many high-end eateries at popular resorts often import their produce. Now, thanks to the efforts of a select few visionary restaurateurs, "locavore" cuisine is taking off in Costa Rica in a big way. A "locavore" is someone who eats food made from ingredients sourced locally, as opposed to ingredients that have traveled great distances. Let's find out more about this emerging culinary trend!

A cultural shift

The shift toward locavore dining is not just taking place in the kitchens of high-end restaurants. It's also changing the way that local fisherman approach their work. Red snapper is both plentiful and a valuable export for Tico fishermen, but many restaurants are getting more creative with their culinary offerings, inspiring fishermen to cast their nets a little wider to catch delicious fish such as pompano for use in these new dishes.

Sourcing local ingredients isn't just restricted to seafood, either. Some restaurants, such as the Doris Metropolitan in Santa Ana, work closely with farms that rear their own cattle, providing customers with delicious cuts of beef and supporting local farmers.

Gaining momentum

Using fresh, locally produced ingredients isn't just about bragging rights or charging higher prices - it's about encouraging an atmosphere of sustainability and offering healthy food free of synthetic pesticides, growth hormones and other artificial preservatives.

Costa Rica is the ideal destination for foodies who value fresh ingredients and sustainable agriculture. The capital of San Jose is a great place to begin your own locavore adventure, as many of the trendier restaurants in town serve dishes prepared exclusively using locally sourced ingredients.

However, even if you're exploring the more laid-back parts of Costa Rica, you can still enjoy fresh, delicious food. Many seafood restaurants in towns such as Quepos take pride in using fish caught that day, and Demian Geneau's chain of locavore restaurants, Product C, has locations in Mal Pais and Escazú, as well as Santa Ana.

Culinary creativity

Locavore dishes don't have to be fancy. In fact, some of the most delicious dishes are ones that have been staples of Costa Rican cuisine for generations. The key difference is the use of ingredients grown locally. Oftentimes, restaurateurs add simple twists to popular favorites to create simple but delicious meals that bring out the flavors of the ingredients. Locavore cuisine is really taking off in Costa Rica, and when you're here, why not sample a taste of real Costa Rican cooking for yourself?