The Costa Rica Restaurant Review

Pane e Vino - Restaurant Review

mnsrconnoisseur | 28 June, 2008 17:03

Pane e Vino is, as you would expect from the name, an Italian restaurant.

Each location in this italian chain is decorated differently.  Those that I have eaten in, passed through, and seen from the outside have all been simply decorated, but clean and relatively comfortable. 

The first time I went to this restaurant, which was a few years ago (in Escazú), I had a shellfish pizza that was delicious, and as I recall, the price was right as well.  One of my fellow diner's had a pizza with mussels that he quite enjoyed.  I don't recall what our other companion ate, but I do remember that he was quite satisfied with his choice as well.  I recall that, at the end of the meal, the waitress brought us all little pieces of dessert on the house, as there had been some small misunderstanding over the order of one of my companions, which they had also corrected immediately.

My most recent visit to Pane e Vino was for lunch at their location in San Pedro.  I had a beer and a pepper sausage calzone with lots of cheese, which I enjoyed thoroughly.  One of my companions had a plain calzone with only cheese and sauce -- he evidently eats at this restaurant frequently so received pretty much what he expected and had no complaints.  Another of my fellow diners ordered a "large" mushroom pizza (which was only large enough to fully cover her dinner plate).  She also seemed to be quite satisfied with her choice.  The other diner ordered a meat lasagna.  This was unfortunately where the meal bombed (at least for her).  She felt that the lasagna was not well seasoned, and that the meat was not well cooked.  To be certain, I had a bite of her dish myself, and while the meat was cooked enough for my taste, and the general preparation seemed to be alright, the sauce tasted like it had come right out of a can, so was certainly not a good-quality homemade italian sauce, and not to my liking.  Strangely, the sauce in my calzone was very much acceptable.

The grand total of this meal for four, which included some drinks, was $40.  Portion sizes for all of the dishes were reasonable, so $10 per person got us a full and (for the most part) enjoyable meal.  Just avoid the lasagna, if you decide to eat here.


Note:  As Pane e Vino is a chain, their restaurants can be found in many places throughout the metropolitan area of Costa Rica.  I have eaten at one of their locations in Escazú (near the fork in the main road in San Rafael), and in San Pedro, but they also have restaurants in Belén, other locations in Escazú, Heredia, Rohrmoser, Santa Ana, Tres Rios, and Zapote.

El Terruno - Restaurant Review

mnsrconnoisseur | 13 June, 2008 11:45

El Terruño is an Argentine restaurant.  The menu features items of typical Argentine cusine -- in other words, lots of meat.  If you´re a vegetarian, look elsewhere. 

The restaurant´s layout and furnishings, while not extravagent, are clean, tasteful, and comfortable.  Aside from the main area of the restaurant, they have a glass-enclosed ¨outdoor¨ area immediately in front of the restaurant.  The back wall (facing the restaurant) is open, and there is an open space between the celing and the walls, so the area is well ventilated.  My dining companion and I ate in this area, and we both found it to be comfortable.

We ate here on a Thursday night.  When we arrived it was early evening, and there were only a few tables occupied, but by the time we had finished and were ready to leave, the place was almost completely full.  Most of the diners were expats.  We did not have a reservation and it would appear that one normally would not need one.  On the other hand, it may be a good idea to arrive slightly early if you want your choice of seating.  Bear in mind that the place might be even busier on weekends.

Our waiter was attentive and helpful throughout the duration of our visit -- even after the place got busy.

In terms of food, we started our meal with an appetizer of Argentine Empanadas, which are meat pastries (or turnovers).  These were served with a delicious seasoned oil on the side.  I ordered a lightly battered and fried steak served with slices of ham, motzarella cheese, and sliced tomatoes over it, and covered just slightly with a tomato-based sauce.   This came with a healthty portion of steak fries on the side.  My companion ordered a dish of bite-sized chicken breast pieces and bite-sized potato served in a tasty cream sauce that contained mushrooms and small pieces of ham.  The meal was accompanied by a small loaf of bread.  

We were both exceedingly satisfied with our meal choices.  Both were delicious.  Portions were very good sized and we both finished very full and satisfied.

The pricetag for this combination of comfortable surroundings, great service, and reasonably large servings of excellent food (including the tip) was $36.  While somewhat more expensive than other restaurants I have been to here in Costa Rica, I can´t say that the price was exorbitant.  You will pay less to eat here than you would at, say, the White House, located up in the Escazú hills, and the food here is far superior.  There are many other restaurants now that one can find in Costa Rica that sport a pricetag of this size but without the quality.  I try to avoid restaurants that fall in that category but from time to time I stumble into them by mistake.  When I do you can be sure that I will write an unfavorable review on the pages of this blog.  But that is not the case here.  If you are up for spending +/- $35 on a nice dinner for two, then El Terruño is a good place to do it.


Note:  El Terruño is located in Plaza Itskatzu, which is on the opposite side of the autopista from Multiplaza in Escazú.

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