I Eat Rice and Beans for Breakfast Every Day and I Feel Great

gallo pinto con queso
Another day, another gallo pinto.

I eat gallo pinto every day. Gallo pinto is Costa Rica’s signature breakfast dish, a blend of rice, beans, and spices, that fills the bellies and hearts of Ticos and savvy travelers every day. For spices, you’ll generally find onion, garlic, sweet pepper, and cilantro (I order mine without cilantro because I’d rather clean all the toilets at the bus station with my tongue than eat that stuff), and Salsa Lizano, which is another uniquely Costa Rican creation. Try it. You’ll like it. Trust me.

When I first moved down here, the concept of eating rice and beans three times a day, every day, was inconceivable. But when I saw the prices of the “desayuno americano” on local menus, I balked: my meager income wouldn’t allow me to have bacon, eggs, and hashbrowns (not to mention that it’s hard to find a good American breakfast here anyway). So I switched to pinto. It fills me up, gives me plenty of energy, and keeps me going until the next time I have to refuel with rice and beans. Although I often cook this at home, when I’m out and about I always find a little soda ( a small restaurant serving traditional fare) with dynamite pinto.

That’s exactly what I found at Boom Bistro, a little place in Barrio Aranjuez. For 2,ooo colones (about $3.60) I get what you see on the banana leaf above: a healthy serving of gallo pinto, two eggs, tortilla, cheese or natilla, and a beverage. It’s all prepared freshly, served hot, and reasonably priced. It’s a great way to start the day.

A Burgeoning Breakfast District in San José?

Boom Bistro is located on Avenida 9, 150 meters west of the Santa Teresita church, in Barrio Aranjuez

good breakfast in costa rica
Boom Bistro has a small footprint but packs a powerful breakfast punch.

(just northeast of downtown). In fact, all along Avenida 9 you’ll find a wide range of restaurants that include small coffee shops, traditional sodas, and some slightly more formal establishments. This “breakfast district” is a five-minute walk from Parque España, and maybe ten minutes from the Plaza de la Cultura. It makes an easy jumping-off point for any trip in or around the Central Valley.

Read More: San José’s Neighborhoods

I highly recommend travelers to stroll the avenue. It’s always busy: the Hospital Calderón Guardia, one of San José’s public hospitals, is on the western edge of the street. Doctors, techs, patients, taxi drivers, tourists, students, and commuters fill the sidewalks during the day, and the side streets are good for exploring one of the capital’s oldest neighborhoods.

If you go: 

Location: Boom Bistro is located 150 meters west of the Iglesia Santa Teresita, in Barrio Aranjuez, San José.

Tel: 2222-1234. They deliver in San José, and also cater. English is spoken.

Online: They have a Facebook page.


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