Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Fresh Fare, Chai at new Atenas Internet Café

June 8, 2012

Mark Van Patten  | Special to The Tico Times

Tired of comida típica? Café Cultura in Atenas is a new, reasonably priced and flavorful option; furthermore, it serves the only chai tea in town. 

The Internet café and bakery has been open just a few months, but its lounge is already filled with Internet surfers partaking in the free Wi-Fi, as well as the tiger spice chai tea and tasty baked goods. Out back, al fresco diners enjoy meals of chicken curry pineapple or chicken tikka masala beneath large, shady trees. 

Co-owners Osmin Gonzáles and Marcial Rodríquez have extensive experience in the restaurant business, and Gonzáles is also the chef. “Our goal was to bring everyday specials priced {3,000 to {3,500 to Atenas,” he said. 

On our first visit, we sampled the eggs Benedict, for which González uses real English muffins made from his own recipe, as well as ham, a poached egg and a secret sauce. Another breakfast favorite is the florentine eggs Benedict, he said, which comes with delicate smoked salmon and leafy spinach.

On a more recent visit, we had the special of the day – chicken diablo – with a chicken breast, salsa (with either a little picante or a lot), red peppers, black olives, basil and a little red wine at the finish. We chose to go the milder route and it was delightful. On the side was a vegetable salad with julienne carrots, red sweet peppers, onions and a secret mix of spices in olive oil. It was as pretty as it was delicious.

Another customer favorite is the Café Cultura Monte Cristo sandwich. Osmin sets his apart with his own tempura pasta. Additionally, he fries the bread in white sugar until crispy, and then adds strawberry jam and real strawberry garnishes.

The owners are intent on developing a reputation for flexibility, so if you have enjoyed a special of the day and want to share that find with others, they encourage you to call ahead with requests. They will do their best to make your breakfast, lunch or dinner memorable.

Mark Van Patten writes a blog at GoingLikeSixty.com that is primarily of interest to baby boomers. He lives in Atenas with his wife and three dogs.

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