Some Press about the Food...
"Perhaps the most important restaurant to ever hit the Costa Rican dining scene......"
-Sherman's TravelCosta Rica Guide-

"Heralded as possibly one of the greatest chefs of his generation" Chef Magazine UK. October 2013

"Park Cafe is divine, the food exquisite, stunningly presented and a dining experience you can't find anywhere else in San Jose"
- Tico Times -
"...the best-kept secret in the country" - Beach Times -
"A place where the food evokes and provokes in a sanctuary of stunning antiques" - La Nacion-
"This is what makes dining out exciting; cooking that surprises your palette and commands your attention." - Tico Times -

Snails in Powdered Morilles with Asparagus

...and earlier.

"one of the most talented chefs of his generation..." - Caterer and Hotelkeeper  
"...cuisine of bewildering technicality, some say avant-gardiste, where the Tian of Crab and Skate with Veloute of Cucumber is in itself an enigma, such an object of fascination that we hesitate to undo it. No irony here, just a vague sense of powerlessness in the face of a desire for perfectionism" - Gault Millau Magazine -

"The highlight of my culinary year, a roasted veal sweetbread with pea puree - a masterful riot of soft, sweet flavours" - London Newspaper -

"A symphony of savours, orchestrated with expertise and devotion." - Gourmet magazine

"it is perhaps ironic that the best Snails I have ever eaten should be cooked by an Englishman in France" - Table Talk. Eating Out -

"A cuisine ingenious and creative..." - Le Figaro -

"Richard Neat is an extraordinary chef. Presentation is stunning, with each dish a miniature work of art" - Time Out. 2005 -

"Neat is the complete craftsman - dead clever, cautiously wild, fabulously precise. And constantly on song" - The Times. Jan 1995 -

"To eat the food of one of the most talented young chefs to come out of Britain, you must now go to France. .....casually sublime food...." - Fay Maschler. Evening Standard. 3***/3 -

"Neat's Smoked Foie Gras. Utterly, utterly delicious. Sometimes all a restaurant needs to keep people coming back is one gobsmackingly terrific dish and this one alone would do it" - Telegraph Magazine. 2001 -

"Neat is a consistent perfectionist, who can touch greatness in a simple parsley sauce" - Harper's 100 Best -

"Neat has a brilliant understanding of modern cuisine, incorporating a respect for tradition and curiosity for the new"- Homes and Gardens Eating Out -

"Possibly the best new restaurant in London..." - AA Guide -

-"The dishes exhibit an unforced originality, gentle and distinct flavours, fantastic deftness" - Johnathon Meades, The Times. Jan 2000 -

"Neat delivers innovative, exquisitely cooked French food with ultra-delicate taste." - Tatler Restaurant Guide -

"The food is electrifying, the most powerful expression of a chef's personality and talent since Marco-Pierre White opened Harveys, but with more originality and consistency" - Telegraph Newspaper one week after the opening of Pied-a-Terre- 

"Deserves to become one of the London restaurants of the decade." - The Times -

"The food on your plate is more a work of art than the Warhol and Liechtenstein's on the walls. Faultless, impeccable, imaginative cooking that dares to mix anchovy with Foie Gras, knowing the end result will be spectacular" - New Journal Review of the Year. 1995 -

Chef Magazine UK. November 2013

Tico Times. 

‘Observations from the Kitchen’ by philosopher chef Richard Neat

Tico Times. Exquisite Park Café transitions back to small plates, dinner-only.

Carpaccio of beef with mustard dressing.
For proof that smaller is better, look no further than Park Café, Sabana Norte’s intimate temple of gastronomy, presided over by internationally celebrated British chef Richard Neat.
When he opened the restaurant in 2006, Neat created a sensation with a menu of small plates of intricate haute cuisine, the likes of which Costa Rica had never seen. Now, the globetrotting, author and chef has also created a true “menu dégustation,” a tasting menu to give diners “the opportunity to experience more tastes and combinations.”
Though each dish is small, the choice is large, with 17 delectable “tastes” currently appearing on the menu. Restaurants usually require the whole table to order a dégustation, with each dish chosen by the chef. So you are out of luck if you can’t persuade your dining companion(s) to join you in the tasting menu. The beauty of Neat’s new menu is that you design your very own dégustation.
-->Courtesy of Richard Neat
Courtesy of Richard Neat
Of course, you can also order dishes to share with a like-minded friend. However, forewarned is forearmed: Once you take the first bite, you may quickly renege and shamelessly gobble up the whole dish yourself. Portions are definitely on the small side. Don’t expect to leave stuffed, just satisfied, since the goal here is quality, not quantity. Dining here is definitely easy on the waistline.

Half the fun is salivating over the menu and making your choices. Prices per dish, including tax and service, range from $6-$12. With three Michelin stars to his credit over four decades, Neat never disappoints. His dishes are innovative, exciting and expertly crafted.

For example: Pan-seared scallop wrapped in prosciutto with parmesan. This was the first of six plates my enthusiastic dining companion and I ordered. One large, tender and sweet, caramelized scallop wrapped in salty prosciutto, topped with an afro of fried green onion frizzles, sat on a pillow of savory parmesan risotto. Only one problem: This is one dish you have to order two of to avoid any table tug-of-war.

Next up: Ravioli of crab with asparagus and ginger cappuccino. Delicate crab-filled ravioli bathed in a white ginger-flavored foam. The ginger started as a slow burn, then exploded with flavor. We used the asparagus spears to dip up the ephemeral but tasty foam. This one was easier to share.
Our third dish was the artistic and flavor hit of the evening: Carpaccio of beef with mustard dressing. Four shareable rounds of meltingly tender morsels of raw beef were each surrounded by a ring of green pesto, topped with a swirl of mustard sauce, a sprinkle of parmesan and Neat’s signature, lighter-than-tempura fried green onions. The centerpiece for this quartet was an edible vase of hearts of romaine lettuce.

Once we got over our ecstatic praise, we asked Neat where he found such tender lomito?
“Oh it’s local beef,” he answered. “I add just a little salt and pepper, a squeeze of lemon and truffle oil to tenderize the beef.”Somehow I think that even if I had truffle oil on hand, my results would never be the same.My companion and I worked our way through the menu, sharing fillet of red snapper freshened with a complementary vanilla sauce, over a purée of green peas; Chinese-spiced duck breast and crispy leg meat with Hoisin sauce, paired with a cooling cucumber and mint salad; octopus braised in red wine and tomato with Greek salad.

All went companionably until the last dish: an exquisite single lamb chop balanced atop a large wild mushroom ravioli. This is food for the gods and one you have to order two of. Trust me. It will prevent a brawl.

We chose a bottle of crisp, fruity California chardonnay to accompany our tasting adventure. The interesting wine list roams the globe: South America, the U.S., Europe and Australia. The average price for a bottle is ₡25,000 ($45) – not cheap, but the quality is on par with the level of the cuisine. You can also order a few wines by the glass (₡4,600/$8.40). For romantic dinners à deux, there’s a half-bottle of Champagne (₡40,950/$74.50).

The sweet finish is a six-course dessert platter (₡11,000, $20), meant to share, with large portions of crème brûlée, tarte tatin, caramel ice cream, a chocolate-banana soufflé, tiramisù and strawberry shortcake, every dish prettily presented.

Art and elegance imbue the entire experience here. Enclosed in a cloistered courtyard, tables are set in a romantic garden and under colonnades furnished with an exotic collection of Balinese antiques and curios. The Indonesian theme appears on tables, too: small serving platters, patterned with natural swirls and whorls, are cut from petrified Indonesian wood, more than 1.5 million years in the making.

The elegant Park Café doubles as an antiques shop.

By day the restaurant is a showroom for Louise France’s Asian antique collection. At 5:30 p.m., the place transforms into the restaurant. Service is smooth and polished, never rushed. Neat often appears to present his creations.
Dining here is expensive. But how many opportunities are there in Costa Rica to experience world-class, gastronomic artistry and creativity?For three hours or so, any evening from Tuesday to Saturday, you can enter the rarefied realm of haute cuisine, in a serene, exotic setting, without buying an airplane ticket to foreign shores.
Even though Park Café offers seriously crafted food, it’s also the best fun a food-lover can have: a chance to indulge in a sensory experience.


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