We had a week-long stay at the Arenas Del Mar resort and dined most nights at El Mirador. It was an easy choice on the first night because of convenience, but became easier night after night because it was consistently a great dining experience.
The restaurant is situated at a 100' high clifftop view of the beautiful Cathedral Point just outside Manuel Antonio. Most of the photos you see online of Cathedral Point are taken from the view at this restaurant. The sound of the ocean breaking below is audible and provides a nice ambiance. The open-air layout of the structure allows the normal restaurant din of guest chatter and clanking of silverware and china to dissipate. Even when the restaurant was at capacity there we had a pleasant dining atmosphere.
The menu was diverse and intriguing. I was eager to try all the local seafood choices and Mirador has them all in an array of preparations. My absolute favorite was the grilled mahi mahi which was served over fried plantains. One evening we were treated with Chef Adrian's off-menu preparation of perfectly cooked sea bass in butter, garlic and herbs. Simple and stunning! Customary Costa Rican casado is available, of course, and the chicharones were excellent as a localized appetizer. Wines and cocktails were very nice as well.
The staff is the star of El Mirador and the entire Arenas Del Mar Resort. They are always eager to help in any way they can and do everything with a smile. We were greeted by name often and could tell the staff was genuinely concerned in the satisfaction of every guest. The meal is paced slowly so there is never a sense that you are being rushed, but when we did have a time constraint we simply informed our server of our timetable were accommodated.
El Mirador is worth the trip if you are in Manuel Antonio. They will chauffeur you across the large nature resort by oversize golf carts. All of the wildlife found in the Manuel Antonio park is present on the resort. We saw a mother sloth with twin babies (super rare!), monkeys, iguanas, and more birds than I can recall, (the official count was 182 unique species on site in Jan 2014). If you are staying at Arenas Del Mar, there is genuinely enough variety and delight in the dinner menu to eat on-site every night. After dinner, take a cocktail over to the observation point 50 feet from the restaurant and enjoy one of the best views in the world.
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