“There are plenty of good restaurants in the center,” one art gallery owner huffed, complaining about the popularity of the farm-based restaurants drawing tourists away from her downtown location. But you needn’t choose one or the other. We spent two highly agreeable afternoons at the idyllic organic farm restaurants outside San José, followed by strolls in the colonial city’s gallery-filled Art District.
Flora’s Field Kitchen
Since it opened in 2010, Flora’s Field Kitchen, about 10 minutes outside San José, has blossomed into a destination restaurant. Its produce comes from the 10-acre farm surrounding the restaurant; meats come from Flora’s nearby ranch; and bread is baked on-site. Embraced by verdant gardens, dining tables are shaded either by a broad metal roof or umbrellas, and on the day we visited, a musician played a pleasing selection of jazz and pop. My margarita — made with fresh beet and ginger juices — felt almost healthful, and I enjoyed the simple, elevated cuisine just as much.
Pickled cauliflower and toasted almonds added a welcome crunch to a bright and finely textured cucumber soup with lemon cream, after which we relished fresh yellowfin tuna with buttery zucchini slices and velvety polenta. After lunch, we wandered through the gardens and indulged in dishes of house-made roasted-fennel ice cream from a stand near the entrance. The exquisite display of produce for sale made me wish we had a kitchen in our room. Cooking classes are also available.