A lot of tourists in Costa Rica make the mistake of expecting Mexican food. On her first visit my friend, Kathy, famished from a long plane ride, erroneously ordered a taco before I could warn her. What arrived on her plate was a flat corn tortilla, topped with chunks of chicken, shredded cabbage, ketchup and a generous swirl of mayonnaise. Just because it’s on the menu doesn’t mean you should order it. Steve and I have made the same rookie mistake, and all too recently.
You have to remember, that even though we’re south of the border, Costa Rica isn’t Mexico and the culture is very different. The Ticos don’t have a taste for spicy flavors. Traditionally, food here is fresh but mild. Beans are always black, tortillas are always corn, and everything is cooked with garlic and cilantro. Until now.
Finally, in Samara we have good Mexican food at Coco’s Mexican. Steve and I tried it last night and I know we’ll be back. The food was delicious. His chicken fajitas came heaped on a sizzling platter with a side of mildly seasoned pinto beans and accompanied with soft corn torillas and three sauces: guacamole, natilla, and fresh tomato salsa. I enjoyed the marinated steak tacos. The guacamole side was nice but the mango salsa was a little sweet so I ate it like compote for dessert. Although still not picante, it was richly seasoned with Mexican flavors.
Coco’s has long been one of our favorite restaurants in Samara. Through several owners in the same location, the food and service has been consistently good. Located in a shady garden off the street and behind the Samara Travel Center, this Mexican version has expanded with more tables near the street. It’ll be great for people watching. Open for lunch and dinner.