A reputation for a spectacular view of the sunset is what attracted us to Mira Olas for an early dinner to satiate our voracious appetites after an afternoon of kayaking amongst the mangroves. We were escorted by our kayaking guides as part of the tour, which can sometimes make me skeptical as to what the business arrangement is between these entities.
The tour guides took our order prior to our excursion, with the menu options offered in broken English simply as fish, chicken, pork or vegetarian. While the full menu is more extensive, everyone on our tour was pleased with their entrees.
As it turns out, the third-floor restaurant located along the Malecon in downtown Quepos was a spectacular place to watch the sunset. Malecon is the Spanish word for Boardwalk. An esplanade, roadway, and seawall along the Pacific coast make up the Malecon in Quepos. Our arrival after the kayaking adventure was timed perfectly with the sunset.
Costa Rica sits just 9 degrees latitude north of the equator. This is the closest I have ever been to the equator. The sunrises and sunsets are some of the most exceptional vistas I have experienced, and I have seen lots of sunrises and sunsets around the world.
There is a peaceful pause at the end of the day. The world quiets, except for the chirping flocks of birds as they prepare for darkness. The quiet reverence for another day well-lived can be felt in the stillness. Enjoying a delicious meal as the sun sets is a great way to end a day.
When we arrived in our shorts and t-shirts, I was a little surprised to see the elegant set-up of the restaurant, including white table cloths and candles. But, given the coastal setting and the emphasis on active watersports in the area, the restaurant staff was welcoming and glad to see early dinner patrons. I imagine a later dinner here would be more formal, and a beautiful place to dine under the stars.
If sunset is too early for dinner, a cocktail and appetizer at the bar is another great way to celebrate the sunset here.
Location: Avenida Central, Quepos, Puntarenas, Costa Rica. The restaurant is in the center of town, attached to the Best Western Hotel and Casino. The third-floor location can make it difficult to find from street level. Look for the Mira Olas sign, then open the door where all you see is a staircase. Go up two flights of stairs, to this open-air bistro.
This area of Quepos is a great crossroad of locals and tourists. You can’t escape the tourists in a Pacific coastal town in Costa Rica, but this is also an area where the locals shop, eat, and conduct their business, making it a more authentic cultural experience.
Menu: Peruvian, Asian, and Latin American food are offered. Seafood is the specialty, with chicken, meat, and pasta also available. If you’ve been on a fishing trip, bring in your fresh catch, and the restaurant will prepare it for you.
I opted for the fish, which was a grilled tilapia in mild spices, served with a traditional array of sides including, white rice, black beans, a green salad, and fried plantains. This was a one-plate meal, with the salad served on the dinner plate. The fried plantains were also served on the main dinner plate. For me, the sweetness of the preparation of the plantains, and the modest portion work as the perfect dessert, just a little bit of sweetness to top off a delicious, healthy meal.
Thoughts: Because the restaurant is attached to the Best Western Hotel, it is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I typically would not seek out a restaurant attached to a hotel, but the third-floor open-air view makes Mira Olas unique. There is also a casino on the first floor below the restaurant for those looking for a bit of nightlife.
When choosing a restaurant for the view, I am sometimes a bit forgiving with respect to the food. However, there was no need to be at Mira Olas. Fresh ingredients are easy to find in Costa Rica, and traditional preparation is simple and delicious.
It is not difficult for people with allergies or who wish to eat gluten-free to find a good meal. The only exception would be for those with seafood allergies.
Trusting the tour guide on this one worked out well. I wouldn’t have found this place on my own. Eating early after a big day of activity, and not having to get showered and dressed to go back out for dinner, was a nice bonus.
Price Range: U.S. dollars or Costa Rican Colons are accepted, as are all major credit cards. Entrees are in the $15-30 range.
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