How a Gluten Free Menu Can Propel your Restaurant to #1 on Tripadvisor

A year ago, we started to plan our culinary events featuring international guest chefs at Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica.     The events included two weeks where we would go 100% Gluten Free at both of our restaurants.   We did not know what to expect, but by now, we know it was a great thing to do.  Here is why…

  • We have very satisfied guests that enjoy high quality gluten free meals at our resort and have received a great amount of inquiries from guests that specifically selected our resort due to the possibility of ” eating safely“.
  • Their raving comments have propelled our Mirador Restaurant to the #1 position on Tripadvisor in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica.
  • Our staff have developed a strong expertise in gluten free cooking and menu design and most of them have gone through certification by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness GREAT Kitchens training program.
Gluten free impact in Tripadvisor
Arenas del Mar’s El Mirador Restaurant was propelled to the #1 spot on Tripadvisor due to so many positive comments on its gluten free offerings.

At first we were somewhat skeptical about only gluten free food at the hotel, but since the dishes were of such high quality, the guests that would normally not opt for gluten free were impressed by the high quality of the food and thoroughly enjoyed their dining experience at the hotel’s two restaurants.

gluten free recipes in costa rica
Chef Monica Glass of Clio Restaurant in Boston working with the local staff of Arenas del Mar on Gluten Free Recipes.

Bringing in guest chefs from abroad is always a great motivation for our staff and they love to learn new techniques, trends and ideas.   To bring in gluten free experts was an opportunity for our culinary staff to expand their horizons and have a lot of fun making hamburger buns, pizza dough and cakes without wheat flour.   A great motivation for everybody involved.

Here some dishes that we developed during the visit of Mónica Glass of Clio Restaurant in Boston and Nicole Petrongolo of Avance Restaurant in Philadelphia.

sea bass prepared gluten free
Safe to eat for celiacs.  Olive Oil Poached Snapper, one of the most popular dishes during the first gluten free week at Arenas del Mar in Costa Rica.


The favorite ones were the Sea Bass Crudo with a foam of sparkling wine and pickled grape quinoa and the Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio with white balsamic vinegar and horseradish.

beef carpaccio
Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio prepared with locally raised grass fed beef.

The most popular dessert was the Frozen Ginger Mousse with blackberry corn crumble and coconut crème fraiche.

frozen ginger mouse
Monica Glass’ expertise is gluten free desserts. Everybody with a sweet tooth was in for a real treat. Here the Frozen Ginger Mousse.

There are plans by the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness to publish a cookbook that includes some of the recipes developed during this event such as the Olive Oil Poached Snapper with quinoa, squash and a multi-grain cracker.

Nicole and Arenas del Mar Staff Members
Nicole and Arenas del Mar staff members bonding during the guest chef gluten free week in September 2014 in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica

Several Gluten Free Bloggers such as Erin Smith who started the Gluten-Free Globetrotter  visited Arenas del Mar and were thrilled with the initiatives developed by the hotel.   She started her blog to find ” faraway places” that were safe for travelers with celiac disease.

Arenas del Mar Rainforest and Beachfront Resort
Arenas de Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort is located next to Manuel Antonio National Park on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica.
















If you missed the first Gluten Free week, there is still the second one coming up.   Beginning November 8th 2014, the second week will feature  Michael Solomonov  and Steven Cook, the owners and chefs of the highly rated Zahav in Philadelphia. This restaurant was named best restaurant in Philadelphia by Philly Magazine.   Contact us here for reservations or more information.

Arenas del Mar Beachfront & Rainforest Resort is part of the Cayuga Collection of Sustainable Luxury Hotels and Lodges in Costa Rica and Nicaragua.   Other Cayuga Collection properties in Costa Rica and Nicaragua have benefited from these events and have also significantly improved their gluten free expertise in the culinary department.   For more information on Cayuga Collection Hotels, click here.

Arenas del Mar Guest rooms
Arenas del Mar in Manuel Antonio forms part of the Cayuga Collection of Sustainable Luxury Hotels and Resorts and is home to several culinary events throughout the year.

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