photo: Courtesy of Nick Flandro
The Cerdas family makes their mission clear: "We feel blessed to have the opportunity to share our traditional home-cooked foods. We hope your entire experience proves to be pura vida, which means pure life in Costa Rica."
Traditional home-cooked foods? Check. Look for avena, the trademark milkshake of Costa Rica made with an oatmeal base. Sounds different, but at $2.75, it can't hurt to give it a sip or two; other shake flavors include passion fruit, mango, pineapple and banana (tip: order a two-flavored shake for only a dollar extra). Move on to the casado, a traditional Costa Rican plate packed with your choice of thin rib eye steak or chicken breast with caramelized onions, rice, beans and sweet plantains, all served over an egg and cabbage salad, a bargain at $10. If you'd rather stick to plates from lands you know (like the land of Flash Taco) go for the award-winning vegetarian burrito made with sauteed mushrooms, or the chips with guacamole.
And as for pure life? That depends on how you define it. If your idea of purity involves a charismatic, doting staff (rumor has it that customers call Miriam Cerdas "mom"), good food, tranquil music, a relaxed BYOB policy and the wholesomeness of a comfortable place to sit with a considerable lack of pretense (the restaurant is a yellow hut with a green roof, the small dining room is festooned with house plants): It's a safe bet you'll be livin' the pura vida at Irazu.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Jennifer Berg