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Le Petit Paris (Calle 5, Avenidas Central/2, tel./fax 506/2262-2564, noon–4 p.m. Mon., noon–10 p.m. Tues.–Sat.) has spruced up its interior and has a patio. It features such French dishes as crepes ($2–5), quiche, tripe with tomato sauce, and nougat ice cream. It has a buffet with live music on Friday night. (I’m wasn’t too thrilled about the chef with a cigarette in his mouth, though!)
Fresas (Calle 7, Avenida 1, tel. 506/2262-5555, 8 a.m.–11 p.m. daily), a clean, airy eatery, serves meals such as casados for less than $5, as well as all things strawberry, including shakes and ice cream.
Outside of Heredia, at Santo Domingo, the Hotel Bougainvillea (tel. 506/2244-1414, www.bougainvillea.co.cr) is known for its excellent cuisine in a gracious restaurant. It offers a plato fuerte (entrée, dessert, and coffee) for $12—a good value. Don’t miss the buffet brunch on Sundays.
Also in Santo Domingo, Ceviche del Rey (tel. 506/2244-2985, 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m. and 6–11 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m. Fri.–Sun.) serves superb Peruvian dishes, such as appetizers of boiled potatoes with cheese cream or octopus salad with olives, and sea bass in mushroom sauce.
Good for filling up for pennies is Spoon (tel. 506/2263-2159, 8 a.m.–9 p.m. daily), in Plaza Heredia; this clean, well-run, air-conditioned café serves a wide range of value-priced set meals, salads, pastries, and desserts.
For vegetarian dishes, head to Restaurante Vegetariano Vishnu Mango Verde (Calle 7, Avenidas Central/1, tel. 506/2237-2526, 8 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., 8 a.m.–7 p.m. Fri.–Sat., 9 a.m.–6 p.m. Sun.), serving pita sandwiches (from $2), veggie burgers ($2), and batidos ($1) in several cubicle-like rooms. Nacho’s Restaurant & Sports Bar (Avenida 2, Calles 6/8) has a raised outdoor patio for enjoying.
You can buy baked goods at Musmanni, 50 meters south of the plaza. Café Scarlett (Avenida 2, Calle 3, tel. 506/2260-1921, 8 a.m.–6:30 p.m. Mon.–Sat.) has a warm and romantic ambience. This Caribbean-themed place is run by a lovely lady from Limó with the unlikely name of Ana Loletti Scarletti.
Trigo Miel (tel. 506/2237-9696, 7 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 8 a.m.–6 p.m. Sun.) has a pleasant WiFi lounge.
I also like Espigas Repostería (Avenida 2, Calle 2, tel. 506/2237-3275, 7 a.m.–9:30 p.m. daily), a well-run café and bakery with a pleasing ambience. It serves pastries, patties, and a value-priced lunchtime buffet ($4).
© Christopher P. Baker from Moon Costa Rica, 8th Edition