Pura Vida: the Costa Rican way

Pura Vida  a characteristic Costa Rican phrase, literally means pure life, with connotations that suggest translations such as “full of life”, “this is living!”, “going great”, or “real living”.

That is the philosophy behind the wonderfully crafted dishes of Pura Vida located at Poblacion, Makati. It shows through the decor, the ambience, and even the laid-back vibe from the staff and owner himself.

Tucked along Don Pedro street, right beside Z Hostel, is a two-floor establishment – brimming with all the notes of cilantro, parsley and basil as they prepare their dishes for the day.

Bocas (Appetizers)

We were started with Ceviche de Tiquizia (Marinated raw fish; ₱250) – Raw fish in lime juice, onions, cilantro, local spices, and ginger ale. The best thing about this ceviche is that it’s not cured by vinegar but with lime among other ingredients that bring out the hero of the dish, the blue marlin. It’s right, fresh, and appetizing.

The Chifrijo (₱250) – Bowl of rice, beans, chicharrones, avocado, chips, and pico de gallo. This signature Costa Rican bar chow was conceptualized by a now famous chef who patented the name so that other establishements had to change the way they described the same dish. It’s surprisingly great with beer. Tip, ask for guac on the side to top your hearty mouthfuls of it.

Surtido de Bocas (appetizer platter; ₱750) – Consisting of Chicharrones con Yuca (pork rinds with cassava fries), Patacones (fried plantains), Enyucados (fried cassava balls stuffed ground beef or cheese), and Dados de Queso (diced fried cheese balls) served with pico de gallo, guacamole, refried beans, cilantro dip, and Carribean sauce. A great platter to sample all the fried goodness Pura Vida has to offer for sharing with friends over drinks. All different layers of crunch, umami, and creamyness in one hefty platter for everyone to enjoy.

Desayuno Tico (Traditional Costa Rican breakfast; ₱300) – Traditional Costa Rican breakfast of gallo pinto, fried or scrambled eggs, sour cream, crispy slice of white cheese, plantains, sliced avocado. It’s light, bright, and filling. Most likely the dish to order after all the drinks at the bar.

Almuerzos (Main course)

Con Pollo Caribeño (Carribean-style chicken) – Chicken in a Carribean sauce with habanero, patacones, a green salad, with a mixture of white rice, red beans, coconut, chicken stock, and local spices. The chicken is marinated and sauced heavily with a secret salsa sauce and other spices that will immediately hit you. The coconut infused rice with beans serves as a great balance to the overwhelming flavors from the protein. The creamy salad is not overwhelmingly dressed that serves as the palette cleanser.

Arroz con Camarones (Rice with Shrimp; ₱330) – Shrimp, rice, and local spices served with salad and French Fries. Think: Costa Rican style risotto with creamy notes over the seafood and the herbs and spices used to balance out everything.

Casados (Costan Rican-style lunch; ₱350) Rice, beans, plantains, picadillo, salad, white cheese, and one of the following options:
A) Carne en Salsa (Beef Stew)
B) Pollo con Salsa de Queso (Grilled Chicken)
C) Bistec Encebollado (Onion Beefsteak)
D) Fajitas de Pollo (Chicken Strips)
E) Fajitas de Carne (Beef Strips)
F) Fajitas Mixtas (Mixed Chicken and Beef Strips)
It’s hearty, it’s bright, with varying degrees of textures and flavors. The beef stew and beef strips are recommended.

Postres (Desserts)

Churchill (₱150) -Snowcone served in a soda fountain glass, containing powdered milk, condensed milk, and ice cream. It’s sweet but not overwhelmingly sweet. Creamy with a touch of strawberry syrup. Perfect to end the hearty and bright meal.


The menu also serves signature drinks like this Healthy Rasta which is like a mojito chock full of other herbs and ingredients that make it enjoyable.

Here’s the full menu for your perusal:

Have you tried Pura VIda for yourself? Let us know what was the experience like at the comments section below or over at Twitter and Instagram @MNLMashEats.

This foodie meet up was done in partnership with Zomato. Pura Vida Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Photos by: Hans Lim

Drew Uy

I do words, food, coffee, and photos. Hit me up on Twitter @ginuhit

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