Chef Sebastian Larocca, owner of Botaniko, could be called the Jamie Oliver of Costa Rica. Like the famous Brit, he’s a TV cooking show host and restauranteur, and not coincidentally he found his first success working in Oliver’s kitchen and eventually rising to the role of his right hand man. Over a decade ago, he moved to Costa Rica to take over the kitchens at the Mangroove Resort, and he’s still in charge there, but Botaniko is his passion project, a paean to the cuisine of Argentina, his home country. The stylish open-air eatery centers around a massive wood fired stove (pictured), where the Argentine art of the parrilla, or grill, is practiced, using primarily Costa Rican ingredients. Heartiest option on the menu is the 1 kg picanha (called the top sirloin cap in English), with Larocca’s signature Chimi Hendrix sauce. Along with all the meat are many grilled veg options, and a long list of gallos, Costa Rican style tacos with homemade tortillas.

For those into fishier proteins, there’s a speakeasy-style hidden sushi bar in the back called Rokka. It specializes in usuzukuri (thinly sliced sashimi) and nigiri, as well as various rolls. At C40,000, their omakase (tasting menu) is one of the best deals in town.