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Monday, October 17, 2011

Excellent Restaurants and Service in Atenas

Saturday night we dined at Pizzeria Alida's with our friends Diane and John. I couldn't find a web site for them that I could link to, but it is on highway 3, past the blinking orange traffic light, on the east side of the highway. You can Google the restaurant name and read all the reviews.

They advertise when they are open by placing empty wine bottles on a table at the entrance to the longish driveway which leads up to the restaurant. The grounds have lots of native trees and plants. The restaurant is designed in the usual style here - open sided so you can sit and enjoy a sunset, mist over the mountains or, in our case, torrential rain.

Service was excellent and we were made to feel very welcome. Tables are covered in linen cloths with linen serviettes. The dining room is large with a brick pizza oven in one corner. You can watch the pizza crusts being made and spun around in the chef's hands. All pizzas are thin crust, my favorite. There are other Italian items on the menu but pizza was what we all wanted. They also have a very good wine list.

Here is what we got for $20 CAD per person: two different large pizzas (large enough that we had take-home boxes), two appetizers and two bottles of wine. We shared it all amongst us. Everything was excellent. We were even served complimentary liqueurs at the end of dinner. Water glasses had lime slices on the rims and the straws wore little paper covers at the sipping end.

I can't imagine paying only $20 per person in Canada for the kind of meal we enjoyed that night. The cost would have been much more. I would go back here any time. We have a lot more pizza selections to work our way through.

We also met some Texans who were vacationing here and staying up at Picaflora, where the power had been out all day and they couldn't cook at home so they went out to eat. Apparently there are lots of Texans who come down here to live or to vacation. It's not a very long flight from Dallas and Houston is shorter still.

Then, on the following day (Sunday) we went into Atenas looking for a breakfast spot and decided on the Soda Las Tres Hermanas in Atenas Centro. We've had breakfast there before but what we didn't know was that they serve a kind of buffet on Sunday. This is a very small soda and the food is just great.  They offer a selection of gallo pinto, omelettes, what I thought was scrambled eggs but turned out to be potato salad, pork chops, carrots ..... hmmm, what else did I see ... oh yes, salad, chicken breast and more. We loaded up our plates and the final tally was 4000 colones or $8.00 CAD - for both of us!!!! That also included two excellent coffees and a ginger ale.

There are three tables inside, a few stools at the counters both inside and out. The kitchen is small but those ladies hustle around and produce such good food. The place was bustling all the time we were there.

Oh yes, Mario Castro was our taxi driver (tel: 8911-08-18) who, along with Jorge Calderon (tel: 8743-08-06), operate their taxi from 4 am to 9 pm every day. They are the best - if either of them cannot pick us up, they phone someone who will. The gates to the restaurant grounds were closed when we arrived and Mario phoned his dispatcher who phoned the restaurant to send someone down the lane to open the gate. Now what taxi service in Canada would do that?

Amazing - this country is amazing!

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