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Local Restaurants Go All Out for Turkey Time

The joys of Thanksgiving are rooted in excessive eating, family and a variety of embedded traditions, from special turkey recipes to the breaking of the wishbone to games played or watched after the feast.

Fortunately for U.S. citizens living in or visiting Costa Rica, an assurance of tradition seems to be the theme of many local restaurants serving Thanksgiving dinner this year. So, if you are looking for something to remind you of that home-cooked bird with all the trimmings, the following restaurants may have what you’re looking for.

In the western San José suburb of Escazú, Café de Artistas is in its eighth year of offering a Thanksgiving feast.

“We always try to stay traditional with it,” says owner William Hill. “It should be a beautiful feast, just like it is every time. We’ll have a four-course meal with everything anybody could want for a Thanksgiving dinner. It will be a mountain of food.”

Hill, who claims to be one of the first to serve Thanksgiving dinner in the San José area, says the menu will consist of turkey with stuffing, candied sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and giblet gravy, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, homemade corn bread, Waldorf salad or soup, a glass of wine or other beverage and freshly baked pumpkin pie. Though the price has yet to be set, Hill says it will run about $20 per person.

Dinner will be served from noon to 9 p.m., and Hill assures diners that, with the all-day cooking of 36 turkeys, Thanksgiving grub will be available all day. For reservations, call 2288-5082. Café de Artistas is 100 meters south of Plaza Rolex in San Rafael de Escazú.

A traditional “Gringo” Thanksgiving will be served at the Capitol Grill restaurant at White House Hotel in the hills of San Antonio de Escazú. In addition to the panoramic  view, dinner will include oven-roasted turkey with brown giblet gravy, walnut and mushroom stuffing, mashed potatoes sprinkled with Parmesan, green bean casserole, fresh cranberry sauce, homemade pumpkin pie with whipped cream and coffee or tea, all for $29.95 per person.

Dinner will be served from 1 to 10 p.m. For reservations, call 2288-6362. White House Hotel is 600 meters south of the San Antonio de Escazú cemetery.

Time Out Tavern in Escazú Centro will host its third annual Thanksgiving dinner this year, served from 11 a.m. until the last order of the day is made. The menu will consist of the usual Thanksgiving suspects, including turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, a variety of vegetables, and apple and pumpkin pies. A set price is yet to be determined. Time Out is located south of the Costa Rica Country Club. For information, call 2289-3217.

Heading west on the old road from Escazú to Santa Ana, La Luz Restaurant at the Alta Hotel will offer turkey-day trimmings buffet style, which has become a tradition here. The buffet will include turkey, gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and a host of other Thanksgiving favorites. Homemade pumpkin pie will top off the exhaustive feast. For more information and prices, call 2282-4160.

In what appears to be another budding tradition, El Mirador restaurant at Aurola Holiday Inn will again be serving Thanksgiving dinner on the top floor of one of the capital’s tallest hotels, offering a panoramic view of downtown San José. The menu will include turkey, mashed potatoes and other traditional Thanksgiving sides, pumpkin pie and a glass of wine, all for $20 to $30 per  person. The restaurant will serve dinner from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and from 6 p.m. to midnight. To reserve, call 2523-1000, extension 451. The hotel is at Avenida 5, Calle 5.

If mixing and matching the appropriate trimmings for your bird is your motive, Restaurante Magnolia at downtown San José’s Casino Club Colonial will again offer an expansive buffet providing just about everything that accompanies Thanksgiving tradition. The all-you-can-eat buffet will include white and dark turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, applesauce, a selection of salads, mashed potatoes, vegetables, pumpkin pie and a beverage for between $20 and $25 per person. Call 2258-2807 to reserve your spot. Club Colonial is at Avenida 1, between Calles 9 and 11.

Northwest of the capital, the Costa Rica Marriott Hotel in San Antonio de Belén will also offer a buffet, consisting of several stations serving up turkey, ham, prime rib, salmon, soups, salads, sides and desserts. The buffet will be open from 6 to 10 p.m. For reservations and prices, call 2298-0207.

A little outside of San José, Vista del Valle Plantation Inn will be serving a sprawling traditional Thanksgiving meal, expected to begin about 6 p.m. The open-air restaurant of the hotel in Rosario de Naranjo, northwest of the capital, offers a stunning view of lush coffee country. For more information and prices, call 2451-1165 or visit




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