Every Saturday, fresh-caught fish is delicately transformed into succulent sushi in the upstairs kitchen at Chile Rojo in Puerto Viejo de Limon, Costa Rica. Chef Andrew Bacon takes obvious pride in this weekly culinary extravaganza that he so generously shares with the rest of us. Here, we get to indulge in the pure taste of fish caught just a few feet away and enhanced by a select group of flavors seemingly designed to excite the senses.
Chile Rojo is a magnet for those who travel to the farthest reaches of the globe for a bite of something original, local, delicious and different. A "Super Sexy Sushi Bar" and Japanese dishes are additions to the original Thai-inspired international fusion menu that includes a notable Lebanese Fatoush Salad and an especially savory Coconut Soup with Lemongrass.
Tsunami Roll at Chile Rojo — Photo courtesy of Chile Rojo
At first, Chile Rojo occupied a tiny seaside spot with just a handful of tables that spilled out into the road. Diners were squeezed in elbow to elbow and an agile waitress would navigate the maze to deliver the goods that were turned out from the tiny kitchen.
When it was clear that Chile Rojo was here to stay, it moved to its current space on the second level of the more recently constructed Puerto Viejo Shops courtyard mall, where a combination of seating arrangements offers an amazing view of the town and the dense green jungle a few yards away.
On Fridays and Saturdays, Chile Rojo plays host to live music, and it's a great place to check out local bands as well as international talent. Occasionally, Chile Rojo's live entertainment has been known to include belly- and break- dancing alongside its all-you-can-eat-buffet on Mondays, which somehow works well together in this unusual corner of the world.
Chile Rojo is easily a restaurant discovery worth writing home about. Four hours south of San Jose along the main road that ends a few kilometers further at the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge, Chile Rojo lies smack dab in the center of Puerto Viejo. It's hard to miss if you're looking up for it.
Don't forget to leave room for dessert. Chile Rojo's sweet stuff includes decadent chocolate cake and ice cream.
The restaurant is open every day (except Wednesday) for lunch and dinner from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. Chile Rojo has an extra dining room to accommodate special occasions and events. Walk-ins are welcome, but for reservations, call (506) 2750-0025.