The Flying Taco is one of Samara’s newest eateries, and has already earned the reputation of being one of its best. Before all of the signage went up around town, it was a word-of-mouth situation—and word spreads quickly in Samara.
First impressions: it’s warm and welcoming, and it’s quirky and campy. And the food is delicious. It has a great vibe, and is a good place to chill. Being a native of Southern California I know about chill’in.
Ladies, meet Jason. Jason is a co-owner of the The Flying Taco; the bartender and usually the food server. Remembering that The Flying Taco just opened, you will understand that Jason currently does almost everything (oh, the joys of owning a small business). But I’ll wager that will be changing soon, because every time I visit there are more and more patrons.
Okay, how do you find The Flying Taco? Heading up the main street from the beach (towards town), you will see the soccer field, Outback Tours and the bank. Turn left, and you will dead-end at The Flying Taco. There are quite a few new signs directing your progress, but you won’t really need them. Just look for the entrance sign at the top of this post.
Once inside you will find that the restaurant is spacious, but not huge. It is open air, with a few ceiling fans, and there is also outside seating if you choose to smoke. It’s full of wood, homemade furniture and the quirky and campy local artwork that I have come to love, and that gives The Flying Taco its unique charm and ambience.
Jason will most likely greet you, immediately, upon entering. He is a charismatic, surfer-dude kind of guy, with a big smile and what I suspect is an even a bigger heart. I took a liking to him from the get-go, and from what I’ve observed his other patrons feel exactly the same way. And he remembers—after just one visit, he now greets me with an ice-cold Pilsen beer (my cerveza of choice).
Do you like dogs? Well I do. The Flying Taco is dog friendly, and there are always a few passing from table to table. They are well-mannered, friendly and clean. No mooching for food (well, at least it’s not too blatant—the mooching that is). Again, it’s that kind of layback easygoing vibe that makes The Flying Taco so attractive.
Jason has a well-stocked bar to cover any request, but I usually stick with my cerveza. Did I mention that it’s always served ice-cold? You can either drink your adult beverage while sitting on a bar stool, or feel free to grab a seat at any open table (preferably under one of the twirling ceiling fans).
However, what really completes the package is the food. The specialty of the house? Tacos of course. But not just any tacos. Growing up in Southern California I’ve eaten literally thousands of tacos in my time. I hesitate to label the food here, I am not a restaurant or food critic (I just know what I like), but if forced to do so, I would probably say the food is sort of a Mexican, Southern California, Costa Rican fusion. Choices include: fish, chicken and beef. And a word about the salsas, they offer a plethora of original salsas that titillate the palate.
Though the flavors are definitely Latin American, their complexity rivals the best of Thai and Indian cuisine. Subtle, no one flavor muscling out another, but blended with such perfection as to make you drool with anticipation. Everything is homemade, and made from scratch (even to the extent of adding fresh orange zest to the homemade tortilla dough).
A master chef could probably describe it better, but I’m just a chow hound who knows what he likes. Jason has one goal: to serve the best tasting food in Samara. Two weeks into his venture, and I think he has already accomplished his goal. It is my favorite food experience here in Samara. I ate there last night, and I’m going back tonight to celebrate my 68th birthday.
If you plan to visit Costa Rica, you should make plans to head to the Nicoya peninsula, and the small beach town of Samara. There you will find a dining experience you could never have imagined. And it’s all at The Flying Taco.
Stephen F. Dennstedt
Photographer, Writer and World Traveler
Reporting from Playa Samara, Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica