Lake Arenal is peppered and spiced with a variety of eclectic eateries, but of all of them, Gingerbread in Nuevo Arenal takes the cake. Make no mistake, you’ll never see gingerbread anything on the menu (so don’t bother asking). If you’re asking why there is no gingerbread at Gingerbread Fine Restaurant and Boutique Hotel, it’s because it’s been aptly named for its architecture—particularly the unique “gingerbread” trim. Come for dinner or stay the night in one of five themed rooms, and Chef Eyal and his wonderfully friendly staff will serve up one the best meals you’ll eat in all of Costa Rica. Specializing in international fusion cuisine, Gingerbread’s menu changes nightly and varies based on the availability of fresh ingredients. Regardless of whether you get the Tuna Poki or Jamaican Pork Curry, a meal at Gingerbread is one you won’t soon forget.
Finding Your Way to Gingerbread
Gingerbread is located just 1.5 kilometers past the main part of town and on the road heading to La Fortuna. Park your car just in front of the restaurant and prepare yourself for more than a meal. An evening at Gingerbread is an entire experience. Arrive early and enjoy as glass of wine as the sun sets over Lake Arenal. Patrons have the option of dining on the patio or inside. Couples and small groups can post up at the bar for a front row seat of the lively, always entertaining Eyal in action.
What to Eat at Gingerbread
When deciding what to eat at Gingerbread, the short answer is everything. You won’t be disappointed with whatever you choose. Meals are served family-style and each dish typically can feed between two and four people (and sometimes more). Though Lake Arenal is a few hours away from the shore, the seafood is as fresh as it gets. Chef Eyal’s high standards of quality are one of the key ingredients for the restaurant’s success. The other is his inimitable combination of flavors. Though Gingerbread’s internationally inspired menu incorporates foods from the four corners of the world, dishes like the Mediterranean platter and chicken schnitzel that are comfort foods from Eyal’s country of origin are highly recommended.
And whatever you do, leave room for dessert. The Boca Negra is Gingerbread’s signature sweet—a decadent brownie topped with creamy ice cream and drizzled in fruit toppings. If chocolate isn’t your thing, there’s always bread pudding and bananas fosters, with tiramisu and macadamia cheesecake occasionally featured on the menu.
Everything Else You Need to Know About
Gingerbread is open for dinner at 5:00 pm Tuesday through Saturday, and it’s highly recommended to call ahead and make reservations. Gingerbread accepts cash only (US dollars and local colones), so leave your credit cards at home and bring a healthy appetite.