Le Monastère is one of Central America’s best restaurants and you will find it on a hillside overlooking San José, the Gulf of Nicoya and the Central Valley. The views are just as impressive as the atmosphere of the restaurant, which is best described as holy.
The property once belonged to a wealthy family in the early nineteen hundreds, but was later converted into a monastery in one of its stone buildings. The small mountainside monastery is today renovated and owner Vincent Kempgens can assist you with your wedding in it if you please.
Belgian native Vincent Kempgens arrived in Costa Rica in the mid nineteen eighties to do his civilian service instead of military service in his home country. He stayed in Costa Rica and worked several years exporting medicinal herbs to Europe. Eventually he was suffering a huge setback and had to completely reconsider the life he was living. He ended up in a life crisis, but almost divine signs in his life finally brought him to the abandoned monastery which he today has completely renovated and turned into several restaurants, a cava and a bar. It was anything but easy to turn the complete dilapidated property into the impressive establishment it has become today.
The restaurant is surrounded by a mystic ambience and it is a suitable environment of marble statues, live piano music and great views which surrounds you in the main dining room. The cuisine is based on the traditional French, but with several international touches and some tropical from Costa Rica as well. You are probably familiar with most from the menu, like the lobster thermidor or the Angus beef with black pepper, but the very competent Executive Chef Jean Marie Viriot has his own personal signature on all the dishes. The Chef has many years of experience and has spent a huge chunk of his career in the United States in addition to Costa Rica.
The pleasant waiters arrive to your table in monk frocks and the antiques & old photos might give you a dated feeling at first glance, but Le Monastère is genuine and its food is delicious so make sure to include a visit to Le Monastère when you are in Costa Rica.
Written by Andy