• Costa Rica Coffee Guide

Caliche’s Wishbone in Jacó is a seafood paradise for the hungry surfer

February 20, 2017

JACÓ, Puntarenas — The first thing you notice in Caliche’s Wishbone, located smack-dab in the middle of Jacó’s main street, is all the signed surfboards decorating the restaurant’s walls. Each one of them offers patrons a recommendation on what to eat or shows kind words for owner Caliche Alfaro from notable surfers like the late, great Andy Irons.

One bright pink surfboard in particular gives new customers a great clue as to what to order, as the bubble letters inscribed call down to the weary beachgoer: “Love the pokeee.” It’s these words, coming after a long day in the sun and sand of Playa Jacó, that are cast down onto the hungry and possibly confused customers like a sign from God. And they should be treated with the same seriousness.

Caliche's Wishbone

Michael Krumholtz/The Tico Times

On a personal level, there are few things I love as much as seafood. If I lived by the coast I would eat it three times a day every day without hesitation. So anytime I go to the beach in Costa Rica, my itinerary must include a sampling of fresh fish.

So in this, my third visit to Caliche’s, I had now had enough experience to know that just not any plate of fish would fill my empty stomach. It had to be the poke, the common name for a raw fish salad.

Caliche’s twist on the dish includes a bowl full of sticky rice, avocado, sesame seeds, spinach and a beautiful smattering of raw tuna.

Caliche's Wishbone

Michael Krumholtz/The Tico Times

Every time I have gone to Caliche’s I’ve ordered the poke and every time I have come away more and more certain that it’s one of the very best dishes offered at any restaurant in Costa Rica. It’s a perfect dish in every way, from the texture of the tuna with the rice to the appropriate blend of vegetables that don’t try to mask the fish.

My girlfriend, who refuses to eat raw fish, did not share my zeal for this meal. In fact, she looked at me like I was a maniac while I scarfed down the huge bowl of poke.

She, instead, opted for the pargo rojo – red snapper – which is always a good choice in Costa Rica.

Caliche's Wishbone

Michael Krumholtz/The Tico Times

So it shouldn’t be surprising that the red snapper at Caliche’s is especially good. I’ve had snapper countless times now and I’m hard-pressed to remember a piece of snapper I’ve tasted that was as perfectly cooked as this one.

The famous Argentinean chef Francis Mallmann once wisely said, “There is nothing more sad than an overcooked fish.” That spongy taste that makes the fish chewy when it should almost melt into your tongue is when you know a fish has been wrongly cooked. And if we’re still on the subject of signs from God, it truly should be considered a sin.

But Caliche’s avoids that by letting the snapper’s flavor shine and making the skin nice and crispy. Even if I’ve maybe had better overall pieces of snapper, this was the best experience I’ve had with the skin. My girlfriend and I both agreed it made the dish stand out in a country where you can find red snapper on every menu.

Caliche's Wishbone

Michael Krumholtz/The Tico Times

Caliche’s self-titled “eclectic menu” is part Asian, part Cali-Mex and a dash of vegetarian, with some coastal Costa Rican influence.

Besides the seafood, Caliche’s is also purported to make a mean pizza and offers common Mexican fare like tacos, nachos and burritos. The wide-ranging menu also boasts pita options, salads and pastas.

So even if you’re not quite ready to heed the almighty wisdom of the pink surfboard and dive right into a bowl of raw fish, there are still plenty of delicious options to choose from.

Contact Michael Krumholtz at mkrumholtz@ticotimes.net

 

You may be interested

DIMEX required for vaccination, Costa Rica says
Costa Rica
16394 views
Costa Rica
16394 views

DIMEX required for vaccination, Costa Rica says

Alejandro Zúñiga - March 3, 2021

Costa Rica began administering coronavirus vaccines in December 2020, and the country hopes to inoculate its entire adult population. We've…

Campaign to help families, businesses in Guanacaste
Business
1247 views
Business
1247 views

Campaign to help families, businesses in Guanacaste

The Tico Times - March 3, 2021

Costa Rican authorities this week relaunched a campaign to support businesses and provide meals to tourism employees who lost their…

24 travelers have been caught with falsified Covid tests: report
Costa Rica
1846 views
Costa Rica
1846 views

24 travelers have been caught with falsified Covid tests: report

The Tico Times - March 3, 2021

Twenty-four travelers have been penalized after presenting falsified coronavirus test results when trying to leave Costa Rica through Juan Santamaría International…