Planning a visit to beautiful Costa Rica? Eating delicious, authentic Costa Rican cuisine at the Sentido Norte Restaurant is a must! At this unique restaurant, you’ll have a dining experience that is rich in flavor and culture and created with all local and native ingredients. An elegant dining atmosphere is also a key component of Sentido Norte. In fact, the restaurant made the list of CNN’s World’s Most Romantic Restaurants in 2019.
Sentido Norte’s Executive Chef, Jose Lopez, was born in San Jose and brings that signature Costa Rican flare to every dish he creates. Throughout his career, he studied and worked in Paris, before going on to work in Israel and Spain. He later returned to Central America to work in the hotel and cruise industry.
“Our owners and advisers are foodies, so it's great to sit with them and plan the experiences we would like to offer our guests” Chef Lopez said about Sentido Norte. “They believe that food and beverage are as important as any aspect of our guests’ stay, so we get full support in creating events and new menus for upcoming seasons. It is key to have their support and to be trusted and encouraged in that way.”
We caught up with Chef Lopez himself to learn more about the versatile and delicious menu offered at Sentido Norte Restaurant!
Chef Lopez, tell us a little bit about the cooking at Casa Chameleon at Las Catalinas?
It's an absolute honor. Guests are here primarily for romance and relaxing, so their mood is ideal. We amplify that experience with some amazing service and great food and drinks!
How does Casa Chameleon at Las Catalinas incorporate local flavors and traditional dishes into its menu?
Our first priority is to get fresh ingredients. Half of the battle is then already won. We can then focus on offering our guests some unique "tico" (as us Costa Ricans are popularly called) and Latin American dishes. We also feature some amazing international dishes — for example, the Sentido Norte Burger is one of my top three, ever!!
How the menus are created at Casa Chameleon at Las Catalinas?
It's a combined effort. Our first sources of inspiration are requests and suggestions from our guests, as our top priority is their complete satisfaction. I also have amazing advisers from the U.S. who keep me updated on contemporary trends. I then see what’s available for us product wise, using only the freshest ingredients.
What are a few of the signature dishes at Sentido Norte Restaurant at Casa Chameleon?
I would love for you to try our raw fish ceviches, our homemade tortilla breakfasts and our slow-cooked meats!
How is the ceviche made at Casa Chameleon at Las Catalinas?
Our ceviche is made with two main ingredients — the freshest fish and a ton of love!
Is the fish sourced every day at Casa Chameleon at Las Catalinas?
Our fish is locally sourced, and not only that, it's also sustainably caught, which means we don't buy from long-liners or fish nets.
How important are local fishermen to an establishment such as Casa Chameleon at Las Catalinas?
Local fishermen are very important, and we are nonflexible in the sustainability of the produce we buy. If we can't buy it sustainably sourced, we will not offer it on our menu.
What is the best wine or drink to pair with ceviche?
My favorite is Albariños from Galicia. It's absolutely amazing with any fish or seafood. It’s exciting, crisp, and well balanced!
How do you make ceviche at home?
To be honest with you, I use a simple recipe with only the freshest fish. I then salt it with some quality salt, cilantro (just a little), yellow ahi peppers, freshly squeezed limes, and avocado. I could eat it like that any day!
What is ceviche best served with?
Cevice is best served with an ice cold beer! In Costa Rica, we also like to serve ceviche with warm, crisp plantains or patacones. They are the perfect side to an amazing ceviche!
What kind of experience can I expect when I visit and dine at Casa Chameleon at Las Catalinas
You'll have a villa you won't want to leave, a view you will never forget and a meal you will always crave.
Is there anything else you think is important to note about the experience of eating at Sentido Norte Restaurant?
I like to interact with the guests as much as I can. I have the privilege of being able to meet the people that I cook for and adjust to their needs or tastes. It makes a world of difference. It's my ultimate gratification, for example, to know that I contributed to making a guest's honeymoon a truly unbelievable experience. That feeling is beyond compare.