Arepa Ceviche, Nosara
Of all the unlikely places to get ceviche, a gas station has got to be up there. After all, it's hard enough to get a decent piece of fresh fruit at most of them, let alone anything that involves raw fish.
Naturally we were a little skeptical when we heard that the best ceviche in Nosara could be found in the busy parking lot of the town's only gas station. But, sure enough, when we arrived one day shortly after noon, there was a line at least four-deep waiting underneath an unassuming little green tent marked "Arepa Ceviche." We joined the crowd just in time to get the last few servings, and, wow; The stuff was as amazing and delicious as we'd heard — super lime-y and fresh and spiked with just the right amount of red pepper, cilantro, and chili. It tasted more like something you'd get at a fancy beach restaurant rather than out of a cooler in the trunk of a station wagon for $2.
Jose "Arepa" Lopez is the mastermind behind the ceviche, and a bit of a legend around his native Nosara. Arepa worked for months to perfect his signature recipe, and has developed such a cult following that it's not unusual for him to sell out of 50 pounds within a few hours during the high season. He makes the hot sauces that accompany the ceviche too — you'll see them in plastic water bottles on the table next to a bag of saltines and sliced watermelon. Just don't be surprised if Arepa serenades you while you eat — he's quite the singer, so enjoy.