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       robertos restaurant toucan table 
  - Costa Rica



Destination: Cahuita

Roberto's a fifth generation fisherman, born and raised in Cahuita. He's spent as much time off-shore snorkeling for lobster as he has working on his restaurant: honing his recipes, crafting the furniture and caring for the fresh lobsters stored in the tanks at the rear of his restaurant.

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Every day, Roberto snorkels for lobster among the reefs off Cahuita's coast, catches them alive and carefully selects the best ones for the restaurant where guests pick their own, market price, and the kitchen will serve it up grilled or steamed in a garlic butter, coconut, or Caribbean sauce, piled high with grilled vegetables, crispy patacones (fried green plantains) and rice.

To this day, Roberto's 82-year-old mother still gives her seal of approval on new recipes before Roberto can add them to his menu – a variety of Costa Rican, Caribbean and Italian food drawn on fresh red snapper, shrimp, octopus, squid and lobster.  The shrimp cocktail, $9, uses the day's catch in its mixed seafood ceviche that can include octopus, squid, fish, red pepper, cilantro onions, and a handful of cocktail shrimp. His Caribbean-style shrimp, a 17-year-old recipe, $16, is sautéed with carrots, cucumber, squash and whole black pepper corns served with crispy patacones and rice.

For those craving Caribbean flavor without the seafood, Roberto uses many of the same sauces for his beef and chicken dishes like the grilled chicken in garlic butter, $13, served with patacones, grilled vegetables and rice.

For dessert, Roberto keeps it simple: a banana split with strawberry and lime ice-cream with a drizzle of chocolate sauce. Or, for something a little more adult, try the restaurant's signature pina colada, $7, made with a splash of strawberry syrup.


Inside the restaurant colorful paper lanterns hang underneath the thatch roof softly illuminating tables cut from fallen rainforest trees; carefully chosen and carved into the restaurant's tables and chairs.


The restaurant's run by Roberto and his family.


Appetizers $7-$10; Entrees $6-$40


12 p.m. -10 p.m. daily

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Roberto in Pictures