Saturday, January 26, 2013

El Rancho Restaurant at Villa Nicolas

I am always careful when I eat out. I need to eat Gluten Free, and usually find this to be a challenge where ever I go. However, I had a great experience in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica at a great little gourmet restaurant called El  Rancho.

I have known Chef Kennet (aka Pato) and his spouse Susan for many years. Susan hails from Maine and has worked at Villas Nicolas over the years. Chef Pato has worked for some of the finest hotels in Manuel Antonio and is known throughout the area as one of the best chefs. Chef Pato now holds court at El Rancho, now located at Villas Nicolas.

Chef Pato

Compared to other Latin countries, Costa Ricans eat dinner relatively early. The sun sets @ 6pm almost all year. So, its dark shortly after 6pm. Restaurants generally serve dinner from 6 to 9pm

El Rancho is an affordable boutique restaurant open to the public. Everyday Chef Pato and staff meet with fishermen, and  farmers to search for the best products for the evening meal. One night, I had Snook,  another night Sea Bass, and then tuna the following night.

Chef Pato fuses native food with an international flare, yet prices are not at international heights. Many of Chef Pato's dishes are naturally Gluten Free. Unlike the USA, where the chefs are tucked away, Pato is front and center in an open air kitchen, cooking for all to see. He is conscious of dietary needs of his customers and is willing to make things for special order. Just ask!

(The semi-circular bar is popular with many patrons. )

I told Pato my dietary needs and was able to make many dishes that were Gluten Free. One night I had "Snook Fish" Snook is a deep water Pacific fish-simply Delicious! Because this is a small restaurant, I felt like I had a personal chef! We ate at El Rancho 6 times in the course of two weeks!

Always pleasing to the eye and the palate!

(Chef Pato's spouse Susan hails from Maine and occasionally assists when the restaurant is busy!)

There are many dining establishments in Manuel Antonio, but this is one should not be missed. Other signature dishes are: chicken curry, Pork, and other FRESH seafoood.

The Details:
El Rancho at Villas Nicolas
Km 4 on the Manuel Antonio Road ( next to Si Como No)
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Chef Pato
Open everyday (Closed Sundays)
Sunset to 9.30pm
Cash Only
Full Bar.
Contemporary Native Costa Rican Cuisine.

1 comment:

  1. Glad to see that you have resumed posting on your blog. For weeks there was nothing new to read. I enjoy your articles even when you go south for the winter. You always find something interesting to say, whether it is about Maine or the tropics!