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“disappointing”
Review of El Ancla

El Ancla
Ranked #40 of 74 Restaurants in Playa Samara
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Costa Rican
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Reviewed August 7, 2013

After reading a lot of good reviews we ate here one evening arriving at about 7.45. The location was charming with tables on the beach under a sprawling tree and lights on sticks. We made the mistake of orderering a starter - guacamole. It eventually arrived an hour later (it's a cold dish we could have been prepared a little before) when we had asked what the problem was. By then we could see other diners losing the will to live as they waited too. Eventually our main dishes came - shrimps in garlic sauce and fish of the day in garlic sauce. Both were swimming in oil and or butter - not bad but really not that good either. Not sure that we will return despite all the good reviews. The long wait was simply too much for us - a quarter of an hour ? For guacamole ? OK, half an hour ? Needs explaining, three quarters of an hour ? Inacceptable, but one hour is just damn insulting.

    • Value
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Thank luxingzhe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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75 - 79 of 165 reviews

Reviewed July 6, 2013

I love to come here for Drinks and the view but the food was not great. But the service was lovely. Cute puppies out front.

Thank TheWriter13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 31, 2013

Based on a local's recommendation, we came for a late lunch. We ordered for a casado and a filet dish. Food was alright. Nothing spectacular. I would prefer to try somewhere else. Probably won't come back again.

Thank Lisaman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 20, 2013

I have eaten at El Ancla several times over the years. It is a real Costa Rican restaurant in the midst of the tourist hoopla of a resort beach community. The food is good and the prices are honest (ripoffs are becoming more common in Sámara). It is not fancy, but you get the exact same view as the gringo-fancy places along the same beach for a fraction of what the other places charge. Example: Pilsner beer is 1000 CRC + 10% service = 1,100. On my last trip to Sámara I paid 1,700 in one of the fancy beach joints, and the cost was not honestly displayed.

My most recent meal at El Ancla was a perfectly done fresh fish sandwich with some cucumber slices on top. It came with fries, but they let me substitute that for a salad and added some perfectly steamed pieces of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. It was delicious and more than enough for dinner. The service has been upgraded a bit with the addition of a dedicated waiter. I did not have to wait long for my meal or my check.

If you need inflated prices, pretentious decor and undocumented blond European waitresses, this is not the place you're looking for. I see some of the same people, Costa Ricans, every time I go in.

I like El Ancla and will certainly return.

Speaking of tourist ripoffs, I was sad to see a common CR con had arrived in Sámara at some of the fancier places (not at El Ancla!). If the prices on the menu are only in U$ dollars, they may be taking you for a ride. The con involves the exchange rate they use if you pay in local currency or any sort of card (all credit and debit charges here are processed in CR colones). If they convert your bill to CRC at a rate of 540 and then assess a 10% service charge and the 14% tax, they are inflating your bill by about 10%. Your credit card will convert this back to dollars at a rate of around 500 CRC to the dollar. They make it confusing to cover what they are doing.

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Thank Quincho Q
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 15, 2013

Went here for lunch last month, service was extremely slow. Food just ok and not worth the price. View was great and some horses ran by on the beach while we were waiting for our food.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank crgirl08
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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