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Following an influx or expat chefs and creative residents, as well as access to some of the planet’s most raw, natural ingredients – Costa Rica’s capital is finally in the midst of a cultural and gastronomic renaissance. The best way to prove it? Join Ker & Downey on a guided walk through the Barrio Escalante Gastronomic neighborhood to sample the fresh gourmet food and craft beer at every turn. Your stomach will thank us.

Barrio Escalante was a coffee plantation at the beginning of the 20th century, but in recent years it has transformed into a unique gastronomic neighborhood offering food from all over the world. The trend lately has been the restoration of the neighborhood’s old 19th-century colonial houses into very eclectic yet inviting spaces. Guests can marvel at the old architecture mingled with vintage and contemporary design, as well as sample the offerings of a broad swath of top-tier restaurants, bars, breweries, and coffee shops.

 Barrio Escalante - Luxury Costa Rica Travel - San Jose Gastronomic Neighborhood - Ker Downey

Image via Kalu

The gastronomic offering of Barrio Escalante is truly an international amalgamation. Visitors will find a wide variety of suitable options for their cravings and personal preferences along Calle 33 – San Jose’s restaurant row of new flavors.

There’s the Eastern Mediterranean cuisine of Sofia Mediterraneo, authentic Italian plates at L’ancora da Ciro & Tony, Spanish tapas at Olio, cups of single-state Costa Rican coffee at Franco, Costa Rican-French fusion dishes at Kalú, European plates at Isolina, Gastro pub fare at Aguizotes, and beautifully mastered vegan and vegetarian cuisine at Ravi.

 Barrio Escalante - Luxury Costa Rica Travel - San Jose Gastronomic Neighborhood - Ker Downey

Image via Franco

In addition to these many favorites, Ker & Downey suggests looking out for the following hot, new trends in the neighborhood:

Craft Beer

You’ll find plenty of craft beers on tap – a welcome respite from the mass-produced Imperial. You’ll appreciate the taps from Perro Vida, Treintaycinco, Costa Rica Craft Brewing Co., and Apotecario, a bar with its own small brewery specializing in tropical varieties of Belgian sour beers. Come for the beer, but stay for the live jazz and blues performances most nights of the week.

 Barrio Escalante - Luxury Costa Rica Travel - San Jose Gastronomic Neighborhood - Ker Downey

Image via Perro Vida

Tico Revolution

A brand new concept of gourmet Costa Rican dishes using local traditional and fresh ingredients has also infused the neighborhood, most significantly with the opening of the brand new Silvestre Restaurant. Ker & Downey recommends pairing your six-course tasting menu with some amazing natural fruit drinks, cocktails, sangrias, or locally-brewed, artisanal, and international beers. All ingredients are sourced from small local farmers and artisanal fisherman, and simplified dishes range from colorful loins of lamb to playful coconut ice cream.

 Barrio Escalante - Luxury Costa Rica Travel - San Jose Gastronomic Neighborhood - Ker Downey

Image via Silvestre

Market Days

Since the number of restaurants and offerings of Barrio Escalante are prolific, Ker & Downey recommends sampling the best of the best at Mercado Escalante, an open air market known for its many food and drink purveyors. Built mostly out of recycled shipping containers, this market was helmed by farm-to-table aficionado José Gonzalez and opened at the end of 2017. Visitors can find everything on offer here, from wood-fired pizzas and Costa Rican tacos to cocktails and children’s play areas.

Let Ker & Downey show you a different side of San Jose with gastronomic delights of Barrio Escalante. We promise you’ll find your next amazing meal and return home with the kind of memories only your taste buds can provide. Contact your designer today.

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