‘Watts for Dinner’: Lapa's Costa Rican delights

Will Watts

Our next dining destination is Lapa's Costa Rican Bistro in Bonita Springs. While I’m a huge enthusiast of Latin food, this is my first foray with Costa Rican food, and I couldn’t be more excited.  

Things got off to an appetizing start with empanadas ($2.95 each) and patacones (aka tostones, $5.95).

For the empanadas, you can choose from shredded chicken, ground beef, potato or cheese. We picked the potato.

Depending on the culture and region, empanadas can be made of corn meal or flour. These were flour, and the filling was a very yellow potato. And it was delicious. The best part? It is served with Lizano sauce, is a Costa Rican condiment developed in 1920 by the Lizano company. It is a thin, smooth, light brown sauce and it is uniquely delicious.

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The tostones are four fried green plantain patties served with refried black beans, which we spread on top – like jam on bread. This dish is the perfect blend of sweet and salty. I could have eaten my weight in ‘em.

Next, we opted for salads. My dining companion had the avocado salad ($10.95) while I had the shrimp and avocado salad ($14.95). Both feature mixed greens, tomatoes, shredded carrots, red onions, red cabbage and avocado. His salad had a bit more avocado but mine had a ton of tasty, citrus shrimp. These salads are incredible and large enough to be a meal all their own.

For my main entrée, I had the restaurant’s namesake dish, lapa ($12.50) featuring Gallo pinto beans, scrambled eggs, sweet plantains, cheese and avocado (lifted straight from the menu: “We’re not EGG-sperts, and, thus we ONLY offer scrambled eggs.”)

The term lapa can mean anything from a structure to a fish, or mollusk. The dish can feature poached or over easy eggs. But also knowing how particular people are with their eggs, especially when it comes to over easy, I can understand the denotation in the menu.

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What can I say about this dish: original, tasty and hearty are all terms that come to mind. The eggs are fluffy. The rice and bean mix featuring the Gallo beans, is a unique spin (and a unique taste) for a dish I thought I’d had experienced many times before.

My partner in dine had the tostadas ($9.50) featuring crunchy corn tortillas topped with refried black beans, cheese and chimichurri (pico de gallo). You can add shredded beef, ground beef, or shredded chicken.

So crunchy and delicious. While it may seem like a basic dish, when done right, like this, it elevates it to a whole other level.

Lapa’s Costa Rican Bistro has great food and great service. Wait staff are masked. Whether a fan of Costa Rican food or new to it, you won’t be disappointed. Happy eating!  

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If you go

Lapa's Costa Rican Bistro

  • 26251 S. Tamiami Trail, Bonita Springs
  • 239-221-7016
  • lapascr.com