The dusty pot hole ridden road winds through dense jungle vines and foliage on one side and the rugged, enchanting coast on the other. There are innumerable motels, hotels, restaurants, and Soda's along the way each tempting you with something. Night life, good music, tropical ambiance, american delights, comida tipica (tico food) or a romantic getaway.
Soda Johanna's is a non descript, small Soda located one block from Peppilinos, Cocles' grocery store, on the south side of the bridge.
The brightly painted interior is small and plain. The outdoor patio has the most vicious mosquitos you'll ever encounter. There is a TV inside sturdy wooden benches and believe it or not an OPEN KITCHEN! That's right. If you have OCD this is the Soda for you!
Sit outside for some unbeatable people watching. In front of this dusty but tidy soda is a public pay phone that brings all kinds of interesting people by.
Now the food. The food at Soda Joanna's is authentic tico food and delicious. Dishes come with a marked Caribbean flare which is unique to the this coastal region. This stretch of road, all the way to Manzanillo is primarily occupied with businesses trying to entice US and European travelers. Because of this, it is actually quite difficult to find authentic food! It's easier to find italian food, pizza, gourmet chef creations, and vegetarian entree's then the food that the people who live and work there actually eat on a daily basis.
If you are like me, this is quite disconcerting because if you wanted American food...you would be in America eating American food, right?
Soda Johanna's has efficient, patient, and attentive- non disruptive staff. Try some of the fish in their special Caribbean salsa. Make your entree "tipico" with salad "ensaladas" rice and beans "gallo pinto", and patacones (fried plantains).
I tried fried plantains at four different restaurants between Puerto Viejo, Turrialba, and San Jose. This humble Soda takes the prize! They use a special flour batter and the sweetest plantains. You can eat them with sugar, salt, ketchup, or nothing at all. They are that good.
Your choice of delicious natural juices is available as well. If you would like to try something different, go with "jugo de guanabana". It's light, crisp, frothy, and refreshing.
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