Rant #2: ICT Announces Restaurant Ratings

Today, the ICT (Costa Rican Tourism Institute) published a full-page announcement in the daily La Nacion granting 1 to 5 Fork ratings to a number of restaurants. (Actually, they only published 3 Forks and up). According to the announcement the forks were awarded for “quality and customer satisfaction”. I’m not really sure how they came up with their ratings, but I can assure you their criteria are quite different from mine. In the very short 5 Fork category, you’ll find high-end entries like Le Monestere (considerably overrated in my view) and Bacchus (a damn fine restaurant) alongside the Mexican-Guatemalan chain Los Cebollines and the truly mediocre Pan-Asian Villa Bonita.

The not-much-longer 4 Fork category, runs the gamut from Key Largo/Del Mar (you heard me) and Tacontento to Don Wang and Tony Roma’s.

I’ll be damned if I can find any rhyme or reason… And there are so many omissions as to make the whole thing meaningless.

While the Inka Grill in Paseo de los Flores gets 4 Forks, the rest of the Inka Grill chain restaurants get just three. Other 3 Fork restaurants include everything from Hooters, Pizza Hut, Rostipollos, and Denny’s to Matsuri (one of my favorite sushi restaurants) and La Divina Comida (a very good Peruvian fusion restaurant).

So what are your 5 Fork or 5 Star choices? I’ll be letting you in on mine pretty soon, once the book is ready….

5 thoughts on “Rant #2: ICT Announces Restaurant Ratings

  1. As a restaurant owner who once attempted to go through the ICT’s bureaucratic rating process, I can tell you it has absolutely NOTHING to do with the quality of the restaurant’s food (they never even tasted it). It’s based solely on their antiquated concept of what a restaurant should be; i.e. you have to have a separate banquet room. Another meaningless criteria is seating capacity. As our place, El Patio de Cafe Milagro, is intentionally small and cozy, one ICT inspector recommended we pave over our tropical garden to create more seating. Oh, and if you don’t have a separate entrance for the staff and customers actually see “the help” you’re screwed.

  2. Could not agree more with your rant Elliot! What criteria did they use? Where are favs like TinJo, Park Cafe and Grano de Oro to name just a few…

  3. Well, all of our opinions are biased… but I agree, El Tigre Vestido is superb (and I’m long overdue to check out new menu items and changes). And Sharron, I’ve been meaning to try out Maya Lounge, it gets good reports, not just yours… thanks

  4. For casual dining in a rather noisy small-town setting try the Maya Lounge in Ciudad Colon. I’m fond of their Crispy Chicken Burgers with mango salsa, although I do wonder about the strange slice of generic cheese they seem to tuck into everything. My friend Joan just brings Lulu, her dog, and feeds her the cheese. My daughter likes the pasta with portobello mushrooms, and Joan favors the fresh tuna.

    The Maya Lounge is in the Centro Commercial Los Alphinos, on the main drag from CC to San Jose, and the phone # is 2249-0468.

  5. An totally biased view… El Tigre Vestido, the restaurant at Finca Rosa Blanca- has its own greenhouse with organic fresh grown greens, herbs and spices, and uses the Alice Waters philosophy of only what is in season, fresh ingredients and locally grown supplies. Plus one of the most creative chefs in Costa Rica..

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