I’m often asked if I have a favorite restaurant and find this a very difficult question to answer. But now, after two visits to Doris Metropolitan, this exceptional, recently opened restaurant immediately springs to mind as a favorite.
What was once Tex-Mex restaurant in downtown Santa Ana, southwest of San José, is now a classy, tastefully decorated steakhouse, with a butcher’s shop counter at the front entrance and an eye-catching wall display of wines leading to a charming, airy dining area.
On my first visit, three of my four companions had been there before and, after memorable experiences, were very happy to return again.
Doris Metropolitan has already established a reputation for its wonderful home-baked bread, and the first treat in store for us was oven-fresh focaccia served with garlic, herb and paprika butter, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and a unique parsley and mint spread.
Next, our excellent appetizers arrived: Caesar and Greek salads, smoky roasted eggplant with a delicious, creamy tahini sauce, and a liver pâté accompanied by an eggplant preserve. Prices including tax range from ₡2,900 to ₡5,000 ($5.80 to $10) for appetizers and huge salads, great for sharing.
But the specialty here is meat. Beef of the highest quality is matured using the “French dry age” method, a delicate, complex process. Israeli owners Dori Rebichia and partner Itai Beneli have contracted farms in the northwestern Guanacaste province to raise beef cattle according to their specifications.
The menu offers 10 varieties of steaks, ranging from a 250-gram chateaubriand or filet mignon to an 800-gram prime rib or 1-kilo porterhouse, served with a grilled tomato, blackened onion and a choice of mashed potatoes or wedge fries (₡11,900 to ₡22,900/$24 to $46). The chateaubriand and filet mignon were juicy, incredibly tender and cooked to perfection. The superlative, top-quality larger steaks are ideal for sharing or doggie-bagging. The restaurant also serves wonderful lamb burgers – with a kosher dill pickled described as “orgasmic” by one diner – as well as lamb chops and veal carpaccio, kebabs and hamburgers.
Non-red-meat-lovers may choose from chicken, a mouthwatering homemade gnocchi drenched in onion sauce, and fish dishes, including a superb tuna steak.
For dessert, the chocolate mousse and crème brûlée are melt-in-your-mouth delicious, a wonderful ending to a sumptuous meal. Chef Avi Maman deserves accolades for what comes out of his kitchen, and on both my visits the service was professional and gracious.
A gastronomic delight, Doris Metropolitan has raised the level of fine dining in the capital. And the word is out, making reservations advisable.
Location: Santa Ana Centro, northeast corner behind church (former Tex-Mex).
Hours: Daily, from noon until the last customer leaves.