Olam Pure Food is a restaurant within the Nautilus boutique hotel in Santa Teresa. Organic ingredients are used there, some of which come from the many fruit trees that grow on the property, and there’s a large variety of vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and raw cuisine on offer. When I visited they told me that they can accommodate virtually any dietary restrictions, and regularly help design meal programs to bring guests into optimum health. They also offer detox retreats, nutritional guidance, juicing, meal planning and raw food cleanses, you can learn much more about all that by checking out their website – https://hotelnautiluscostarica.com/restaurant/

Like most of the more modern properties in Santa Teresa (and indeed the whole of Costa Rica), Olam is a short walk from the beach. Costa Rica passed a Martime Zone Law in 1977 that states that any land within 50 metres of the high tide mark is public property, so nothing can be built on it. That’s why so many of the beaches there have such marvelous views, like these, which you can see a short walk from Olam.

In some Costa Rican towns, such as Jaco, there are many hotels built right on the beach. That’s mainly because they were built before the law was made. Luckily there’s not much of that going on in Santa Teresa, it really is a nature and beach-goers paradise.

To find Olam and Nautilus, check it out on google maps at first, then walk from wherever you are along the dirt road that runs parallel to the beach and about 200 meters inland, and look for the small sign that points up to the hotel on the left.

Palms and bamboo surround the restaurant, there’s a bright, fresh, cool feeling, and it was immediately apparent that the hotel appeals to a more health conscious, mature, quiet crowd than many other places in surf-crazy Santa Teresa.

For instance, I was staying at Casa del Mar nearby, which is more of a surfers hotel. And whilst it was friendly enough it wasn’t nearly as nice an environment to be in at Nautilus, probably because the surfers spent much of their time on the ocean and just used the hotel to crash out in. And they didn’t seem to care much about what they ate, either, (the kitchen was communal so I could see) so didn’t require a veggie and vegan restaurant (they were mostly eating cans of tuna – or a fresh fish – alongside some rice or salad, which might sound environmentally sound and healthy, but not if you’re into the ocean and understand the break down of the food chain caused by over fishing, and the toxic metals now found in all fish. I’m really shocked at how many surfers – who rely on the ocean for their joy – seem to ignore these 2 very important and well known points, but that’s another blog post for another day!)

The yoga deck is upstairs from Olam restaurant. There are several classes a day, and since the studio has a view of sunrise and sunset I can imagine classes at those times would be especially magical.

Before I talk about the food, here’s a final view of the well landscaped hotel grounds. This is the path leading from restaurant to pool. For more photos, check the website out – https://hotelnautiluscostarica.com/

It was cool in the open sided restaurant, such a relief from the beach which had been melting that day. English is well spoken by the friendly staff and Juan, the Argentinian co-owner, introduced himself and was happy to talk about the menu.

“The restaurant serves no meat, and just a little feta, honey and eggs,” he said. “I’m vegetarian myself, which is a big step for an Argentinian used to high quality meat! But I traveled a lot a few years ago and because I couldn’t get the sort of quality meat I was used to at home, I started to just eat vegetarian. And before I knew it, I was eating no meat at all, and still feeling great. In fact, better than before. I do a lot of sports, and it seemed to help me with that. And then of course I began to learn about the environmental issues associated with meat and dairy. So we decided to create a restaurant that didn’t serve meat. I know most restaurants have vegan options these days, but it seems that’s just to offer something to everybody, rather than an ethical decision. I see no point in serving both meat and vegan. Some people like restaurants that offer both meat and vegan options, but others just want to give their business to a restaurant that shares their ideals. Those people are our clients.”

I thought this was very enlightened of him, and also brave. It’s hard enough to operate a veggie/vegan restaurant in a big city where there are potentially a lot of customers, but in a small beach town in Costa Rica where there’s a lot of competition from other omni restaurants with vegan options, and other nearby beach towns, for tourist business, it requires some vision and strong ethics. I admire that very much indeed.

I glanced over the menu and quickly made my choices. I was hot, I was hungry, and it was already 2.30pm, and since the restaurant closed around 3 I wanted to make sure I ate! I ordered 2 courses, and started off with a large ‘Green Jungle’ smoothie.

This wasn’t all the menu, but as you can see, there are a lot of vegan choices, and the prices are fair.

The green smoothie went down quickly, that hot beach had left me gasping! It tasted as you’d expect a good green smoothie to taste, and not too cold. No brain freeze going on here, which is nice for a gulper like me as brain freeze hurts my eyes (true story) yet that fact rarely stops me drinking icy beverages too fast!

I ordered the humus with warm wholemeal panini-artisan-style bread. It was well seasoned with parsley and paprika and drizzled with oil and tahini, with a few whole chickpeas to show the ingredient.

The humus had a very traditional taste, and excellent presentation. It was a new way of serving it, for me, very simple yet perfect. It’s always good to see how others interpret a traditional dish, it gives me ideas, and I’m definitely going to try to re-create this at home.

I washed it down with a lemon and ginger homemade herbal tea (the pot held 2 cups), and then my lentil burger arrived.

The burger comes with salad or fries, I had the salad which consisted of cucumber, slivered almonds, sunflower seeds, tomato, lettuce, red cabbage, and a lemon dressing.

The lentil patty was smooth (unlike the black bean burgers that are my usual go-to, which have a chunkier texture), fried, very thick, seasoned well, and as with the humus, I’m very inspired to try to recreate this patty at home. It was delicious, and filling.

To finish, I had another smoothie. There were 9 to choose from and I had the ‘Mi Corazon’. It seemed an interesting way of getting my beets and also my anti-inflammatory berries in, and since I’d never had a beet-based smoothie before, it seemed right to give it a go.

What a colour it was!!! I just sat there looking at it for a while. That wouldn’t have been the case if it’d been the first thing I ordered, but now I was almost satiated and in no rush. Also, the sun was still fierce outside yet here it was cool, and the sunset wouldn’t start for a while. An ideal time to be idle indoors, marveling over a beautiful smoothie. Here’s another item I’m trying at home, it tasted as good as it looked.

Then it was time to go for a walk on the beach and enjoy the sunset.

Consider eating at Olam if you’re in Santa Tersea (or staying at Nautilus!). The food is superb, it’s organic, healthy, tasty, inspirational if you’re a keen chef, and fairly priced. And the place is trying to do the right thing environmentally and ethically, and it’s always good to support businesses like that. You can discover more on their website here – https://hotelnautiluscostarica.com/restaurant/