This Review of Ostra Restaurant at the Andaz Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo is from our recent stay at the resort. The restaurant only reopened in late November 2022, following a redesign and relaunch with a new chef.
Ostra Restaurant Location and Hours
Ostra Restaurant is located at the Andaz Costa Rica at Peninsula Papagayo in Guancaste Province. Within the resort, the restaurant overlooks the Adult Pool, down a stone path from the Spa. The restaurant is open for dinner only, 6-10pm daily. We highly recommend advance reservations which we were glad we made, since on the evening we dined, the restaurant was completely full and a private event had taken over the resort's other main dinner restaurant, Chao Pescao, leaving only the all-day restaurant Rio Bhongo, where breakfast and lunch are also served, or room service.
When we arrived for our 6 pm seating, there were already a couple of tables of guests seated, and four staff members clustered around the host stand, one of whom wished us a good evening, but the other three remained huddled for a couple minutes before one of them finally assisted us, walking to the far other end of the restaurant to grab menus before seating us. Not terribly organized.
Ostra Cooking Class, Empanadas
While Ostra is only open as a restaurant at dinner, we highly recommend the empanada cooking class held at Ostra, to see it in the daytime. The restaurant enjoys lovely views of the water over the adult pool:
Our teen took the cooking class on his own, and thoroughly enjoyed making the empanada dough and shaping the empanadas. He was gracious enough to let my husband and I try some of his three hearty empanadas with the provided salsa, guacamole and bbq sauce. I'm by no means an empanadas expert, but these are the best I've tasted in recent memory.
Ostra Dinner Menu and Food
Ostra's dinner menu is relatively compact, with five salad choices as appetizers, as well as oysters and mussels; seven seafood choices; a pricey wagyu striploin, a pork main, a chicken main, and a couple vegetarian mains in addition to a few side dishes.
We'd previously advised the Andaz of a life-threatening allergy in our family, and as always, we informed our server of the allergy after sitting down. Ostra's Chef then came over and mentioned that he was quite new to the property (and to Costa Rica) and reassured us that only certain bar snacks contained the allergen, and the kitchen would use all precautions to ensure that there was no cross-contamination. That reassured us.
We waited. And waited. Even though we were one of the early tables to be seated, there was at least a 30 minute wait until we received anything, which turned out to be an amuse bouche, which the server (not our original server) informed us contained the deadly allergen (which the chef had assured us was not in any of the restaurant's regular food) in the sauce. Needless to say, we weren't happy, believing that one of us was nearly killed by the restaurant's lackadaisical approach to allergens. The Chef apologized, and said that the amuse bouche was prepared in a completely different part of the kitchen and that he'd told the team NOT to give us the amuse bouche (but we still wondered why he hadn't mentioned this amuse bouche at the outset, when we talked to him initially for around 10 minutes).
Ultimately, he came back to us and said there *wasn't* in fact any of the allergen in the amuse bouche sauce, the team member who delivered it to us had been misinformed. Just to be safe, he provided the scallop amuse bouche to us without the sauce. It was good, although by this point we were all extremely stressed.
The Lobster Salad Appetizer that came next was a disappointment–extremely little lobster for its $35 price, and a completely forgettable dish.
Fortunately our main dishes were much better, and the Chef assured us there was none of the allergen in any of the dishes.
My husband had the Yellowfin Tuna, which was a good portion and especially good with the dollops of romesco sauce.
Our teen had the Snapper, which had perfectly crisped skin and was nicely complemented by the black garlic and kale.
My Pork Bondiola was especially succulent and delicious, with its sweet potato mash, caramelized cabbage and jus.
Ostra's redesigned space is lovely, and objectively our main dishes were very good and reasonably priced for the quality and ambience. But the team is noticeably inexperienced compared to the Four Seasons, and our overall experience was extremely stressful given the allergy scare. Given that we had provided our allergy information in advance of our stay, there was a communication breakdown both before our stay, as well as at the time of our visit. We hope the team is able to learn from this incident and wholly revamp their communication and procedures when it comes to allergies and dietary restrictions.
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