Sunday, September 7, 2014

San Jose Costa Rica's Hotel Grano de Oro - Fine Dining in a Fine Hotel

Hotel Grano de Oro
Calle' 30, San Jose, Costa Rica
http://www.hotelgranodeoro.com/
Phone: (506) 2255-3322
 The first two nights we were in Costa Rica we stayed at a lovely boutique hotel name the Grano de Oro. We were up for an adventure, so I chose this over the usual big names. It had a unique location in the middle of a residential neighborhood vs. being near the airport, and it wasn't a brothel as far as I knew.
Take a look at the contrast in the picture above. This is is an old mansion in the heart of a neighborhood, but the superstructure looks like the designer from 2941 spent some time working on this one with the glass and industrial supports. The lobby was contemporary, but the rest of the place was old-world.
 The woodwork at the front desk was exquisite. Every time I went to speak to one of the people at the desk I would find myself distracted by the beauty and patterns in the meticulously crafted veneers....they'd look at me and say, "Mr. Smelson, can we help you with something?"
The restaurant was very comfortable.The bar was open one both sides: one to the restaurant, and one to an atrium that was open to the elements.
 This is a picture of the atrium as the sun went down. Two stories of stained glass, tile floors, and smoked glass above your head to protect you from the daily rain (only if you're sitting at the bar though.) We didn't have the opportunity to dine in the atrium as it did rain every afternoon.
 Dinner here was nice. Not over-the-top, but certainly a break from the street food we'd had during the day. The amuse bouche was a fine ceviche with the ubiquitous plantain chips.
 Did I mention that I love the butter in Costa Rica? This was a little fancier than others. One was herbed with tarragon, the other with shallots.
 This is the tenderloin with truffled demi glace. Flavorful, cooked correctly. 
 The trio of sauces that came with my wife's Chateaubriand..peppercorn, Bearnaise, and roasted walnut.
 The cheese ravioli that one of the kids ordered was very nice. Handmade, light, and a nice presentation.
 Alex ordered the duck with caramelized fig sauce and a duck liver pate crostini, which he generously shared with me. He knows I have a thing for duck liver. Good boy. Sometimes when you order duck in a restaurant it is tough. I'm not sure if it's the duck or the cook, but in this case it was perfect. Almost as tender as my steak. Well done folks.
The finale was a piece of tres leches cake. Traditionally, and literally, it is the cake with three milks: in the cake, in the whipped cream, and in the caramel either as a topping or on the plate. How can you go wrong there? 
Overall, a good dinner. Not the best of the trip, but certainly not at the bottom of the list. The hotel is very cool. The rooms are all different as far as I could tell. Between the two nights we stayed on the way in-country and the one night on the way out each room we saw was unique. Tropical, but elegant. If you get a chance to go to San Jose give them a shot. Great location, very hospitable employees, and some seriously good espresso. 
Stay tuned for more travel adventures!

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