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miss junies restaurant carribbean stewed chicken 
 - Costa Rica

Miss Junie's Restaurant

Miss Junie's Restaurant

Destination: Tortuguero

Walking through the coconut palms on the way to Miss Junie's, you can hear the sizzle of frying patacones (fried green plantains) and smell chicken stewing in fresh herbs and coconut milk wafting from the kitchen.

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Sitting on the north edge of town, the aromas alone are enough to attract locals and visitors alike for a meal, if not a three-night stay at Miss Junie's Hotel in Tortuguero.  More than just good food though, Miss Junie's restaurant is part of Tortuguero's history feeding everyone from lumberjacks to conservationists and from presidents to revolutionaries.

In fact, it was Miss Junie's grandfather who was one of the original town founders, came from Jamaica in 1910 to work for Costa Rica's burgeoning banana farms. Miss Junie's business started as a small restaurant for locals, but grew with the influx of new workers to the sawmills during the 1940s. She fed Archie Carr, the biologist who founded Tortuguero's conservation movement and his researchers while they examined and tagged sea turtles, and then in the late 50s served pro-Castro rebels during their short stint in Tortuguero before Cuba's revolution.

Today, Miss Junie's time-tested recipes persevere in dishes like Caribbean-stewed chicken, $14; slow cooked chicken thigh with grilled onions, sweet red peppers and coconut infused rice and beans.

Although the times and the customers have changed, Miss Junie's restaurant still serves the same Caribbean-style recipes using coconut milk, meat and oil harvested and processed from its own coconut trees. You can taste the coconut (perhaps the most cherished ingredient in Costa Rican Caribbean cuisine) in just about everything; from the sweet depth it adds to the rice and beans to the rich flavors it brings out in the meat.

Miss Junie's children continue the family legacy, preserving recipes like the mixed seafood, $17; Caribbean spiced-squid, octopus, fish and baby shrimp served with patacones, vegetables and salad; and the herb-spiced Caribbean pork shoulder, $14, served with fried cassava, rice and beans, vegetables and salad. Oh, and to accompany the food, Miss Junie's serves fresh natural juices including passion fruit and guava.

Ambiance

The restaurant's latest itineration is on the north-end of town. The interior's Caribbean-style wood themed with trellis walls, terracotta floors and green, orange and pink floral printed table cloths and décor.

Service

Friendly Tortuguero locals serve visitors.

Price

Entrees $10-$17

Hours

7 a.m.– 9 p.m. daily

Miss Junie's Restaurant in Pictures