Costa Rica Eats: Balu’s Beach Bar @ Manuel Antonio

Other posts from our Costa Rican honeymoon: Soda y Restaurante Viquez @ La Fortuna, Chifa La Familia Feliz @ La Fortuna, Rainforest Cafe @ La Fortuna, Tico y Pico @ Santa Elena, Bistro Bon Appetit @ Santa Elena, Balu’s Beach Bar @ Manuel Antonio, Falafel Bar @ Manuel Antonio, Parque Sushi @ Manuel Antonio, Marlin Restaurant @ Manuel Antonio, Pops @ Quepos, Soda Sanchez @ Quepos

Finally got to Manuel Antonio after a long bus ride from Monteverde! After checking into Manuel Antonio Hotel (yes, good creative name for the hotel), we headed for a stroll on the beach. Manuel Antonio was supposed to be a beach town, but we were quite disappointed with the beach. It was not very white, not very sandy, and quite dirty! Little did we realize that the good beaches were in the national park that you had to pay $16 for. We went there the next day.

Anyway, after strolling around and having to evade touters like the plague (seriously hate being approached to buy this, try that etc.) we found a quite cafe at the other end of the beach that did not seem to care if we were interested in eating there. Perfect! That sounds like the kind of place for us–no fancy mid-afternoon specials, live music or fat price tags. This was just a hut by the beach, with some stone tables here and there.

Balu is a bar, restaurant/cafe, surf school, rental center all-in-one. The food was barely passable as food, and it was just… not great. I wouldn’t wish this food upon anyone!

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Beef and tomato stew casado – 3200 colones / US$6.50: As usual, we got a casado. J ordered the beef and tomato stew, which was quite a disappointment. The beef came in a slice! What!? The most delicious thing on the plate was the zucchini and yellow squash stew, which J hated. The red beans were from the Goya can (I can taste that smell) with no added salt, heat or flavor. I could still smell the tin can–eww!! Saddest most horrible casado we had this trip. 😦

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Fish Sandwich – 3000 colones / US$6: Sad untoasted bun with a pan fried file of fish that was really fishy. It looks much better than it tastes, sadly.

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Here’s Balu’s beach bar. Looks kinda nice, right? The water is just a few feet to the left. Maybe the drinks are good, but the food is definitely not!

Balu’s Beach Bar

Address: Manuel Antonio Beach. Facing the water, walk to your right until you see it!
Price Range: $ (Below $10 per person)
Overall: Not good. Can’t recommend!

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