Good food in Costa Rica | Best restaurants | Edventure Travel
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Looking for good food in Costa Rica? Discover our culinary hotspots in this blog!

When thinking about Costa Rica, food is usually not the first subject that comes to mind. The country’s vibrant nature, including toucans, sloths and turtles is what leaves a big impression on visitors.

You might know the saying ‘Pura Vida’ and also that the country produces lots of pineapple, banana and coffee. But what else is happening on the culinary front? Costa Rica is full of surprises and the quality of what you can eat and drink in this country might pleasantly surprise you!

Therefore, this blog takes you on a journey along various culinary hotspots both in San Jose and outside the capital. Enjoy your meals!

Text: Renee Snijders

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San José: an unexpected culinary destination!

We start our journey in San Jose, because your holiday often also starts in the capital of Costa Rica. In the past five years, the city has undergone quite a transformation and this process is still ongoing. New restaurants, gastro bars and trendy container food courts still pop up everywhere.

In Costa Rica, San Jose is the only city where you find restaurants offering international cuisine. Outside the capital and in the countryside especially, you’ll enjoy typical Costa Rican dishes. A few tips; for Costa Ricans lunch is the most elaborate meal of the day and in the evening, dinner is served early (around six o’clock).

  • International cuisine
  • Gastro bars
  • Food courts
  • Trendy restaurants
  • Beer gardens
  • Cocktail bars

Our favorite restaurants in San Jose:

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Restaurant Grano de Oro

Hotel Grano de Oro is a fantastic boutique hotel in a quiet neigbourhood in the centre of San Jose. The restaurant is great and always busy. Because of that, do reserve in advance if you want to have dinner there on the weekend. The chef is Italian, but the menu more French oriented.

The restaurant is synonymous to good food and has won various awards, among others for the best wine list in Central America. Therefore, dining at Grano de Oro is a great experience and a bit more expensive that regular restaurants in San Jose.

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Kalú

Kalú is a trendy restaurant, concept store, art gallery and gourmet coffee bar all in one. It is located in Barrio Escalante, a nice neighbourhood in San Jose and close to the city centre. In the past few years this area has become home to countless nice restaurants and bars. It is therefore worth a visit in the evening, especially during the weekend.

Kalu offers you a great cup of coffee and tasty lunch and/or dinner. In addition, you can shop for nice handmade souvenirs in the little shop adjacent to the restaurant.

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Cafe Historico Don Juanito

Cafe Don Juanito is a famous hotspot in San Jose both for local and travellers. Here you can try typical Costa Rican dishes such as alforja and horchata. Additionally, they also serve the real cafe chorreado! At Don Juanito you will discover that good food in Costa Rica can certainly be found in nice local restaurants.

The restaurant offers a nice and intimate atmosphere. Throughout the day you can come here to enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner. Furthermore, it’s also a nice place to learn more about the history of San Jose and Costa Rica.

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Asian restaurants

Asian cuisine is increasingly present in San Jose. Throughout the country and the capital you find cheap Chinese restaurants. But if you are really looking for authentic Chinese food, go to  Casa China for instance. The chef of  restaurant Woki in Barrio Escalante prepares great dimsum and tasty Thai curries.

In the city centre you find more and more Indian restaurants nowadays. Curry Kingdom in Barrio Escalante is a great example, or if you are in a hurry but in need of a tasty lunch, try the Indian take away restaurant  Swaad in the food court of the Mall San Pedro in San Pedro.

Near Parque Morazan and Alliance Francaise in the city centre there’s Cafe Rojo, a charming cafe/bistro in an old building. The chef serves fantastic fresh Vietnamese specialties and therefore makes it a great spot for lunch or dinner!

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Lebanese food

If you like Lebanese food, then there are a few good options in San Jose. First of all, Lubnan, a longtime favorite and located in San Jose (near Hotel Grano de Oro) since 1994.
Besides, in Barrio Escalante there’s now Faqwa, a nice new restaurant that also offers shawarma take away. Last but not least, near Faqwa you’ll find Sofia Mediterraneo, where the Turkish chef and partner serve great meditarrean food.

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Vegan options

Vegan is a fast-growing trend in San Jose and more restaurants now have vegan (and vegetarian) options on their menu. One of Edventure’s favorites is Luv Burger in Barrio Dent, a so-called ‘fast casual whole food company’ where you can eat great vegan burgers. In addition to their restaurant in San Jose, they also have outlets in Playa Samara and Nosara.

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For meat lovers...

On the contrary, if you like meat,  La esquina de Buenos Aires is definitely the place to go in San Jose. This cozy Argentinian restaurant in the city centre offers its clients a great atmosphere and serves magnificent meats. The friendly staff will do everything to let you enjoy a great night out. Because of all this, the restaurant is very popular and reservations are required, especially during the weekend!

The best culinary hotspots outside San Jose, you'll find below!

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Puerto Viejo de Limon - Caribbean coast

In Puerto Viejo de Limon you’ll find lots of nice little restaurants and bars. Two of our favorites in town are: Lidia’s Place. The must go to spot for authentic, good Caribbean food like Rice ‘n Beans. For more information, read this tasty article!

Koki Beach is located along the main road next to the beach. Here you can first sit back, relax and enjoy a cocktail during happy hour. Later on there’s fine dining in a great atmosphere. The restaurant’s interior has been put together using a many recycled materials as possible and local artists and craftsmen created the unique look and feel of the place.

Besides, the food on your plate comes from their own farm or local market and the fish straight from the ocean. You can’t get it any fresher!

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Monteverde - Central Costa Rica

Monteverde is famous for its cloud forest, the Quetzal and great canopy tours. Fortunately there’s great food as well! Stella’s Bakery is a nice spot for a tasty breakfast or lunch. Right across from Stella’s there’s a nice coffee shop and La Cuchara de Abuela, a local restaurant that serves typical Costa Rican dishes.

The trendy hostel/hotel chain Selinas is now also located in Monteverde. Their restaurant is open to everyone, and offers great pizza. In the evening, especially during the weekends, you can play pool with the locals.

If you’re looking for a more upscale option, reserve a table at hotel Belmar . Here you’ll enjoy a fantastic 3 or 4 course dinner and the hotel restaurant overlooks the valley of Monteverde. Great food and great view!

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La Fortuna / Nuevo Arenal - Arenal volcano

If you’re a real foodie and travelling from La Fortuna to Monteverde or vice versa, you really need to plan a stop in Nuevo Arenal. This charming little village near Lake Arenal is home to Gingerbread. Here the fantastic Israeli chef Eyal dazzles his guests with his ‘international fusion cuisine’!

Another great place to stop to enjoy lunch or coffee with cake/pie is Café Macadamia. This charming little place also offers great views of Lake Arenal and the volcano.

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Playa Junquillal - Northern Pacific

Hotel Mundo Milo is a charming little hotel to stay in and when you’ve booked your stay via us, you’ll definitely have dinner in the hotel restaurant. Also when you not staying in the hotel, but visiting Playa Junquillal or one of the other nearby beaches, we recommend you to stop by for lunch or dinner.

The Dutch owner Lieke is chef of the restaurant and here the food is good and the chef is great! She’s also a fantastic host and do everything to make your stay unforgettable. The restaurant menu also includes vegetarian, gluten-free and lactose free dishes.

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Matapalo - Central-Pacific

Matapalo is a tiny village at the central pacific coast and when you’re not staying here, you’ll probably drive right past it. However, if you like seafood, it’s recommended to stop for lunch or dinner in Langosta Feliz, or the Happy Lobster.
This restaurant is located across from the highway exit to Matapalo and is famous with the locals for its delicious lobster, crab or tuna steak!

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Ojochal - Southern-Pacific

If you’re looking for good food down the southern Pacific coast of Costa Rica, you should definitely plan a stop in Ojochal, This is another small village, near the marine reserve Marina Ballena. There are two great restaurants in the center of town. Citrus, where the French-Canadian chef Marcella cooks exquisite meals for her guests. She travels a lot to find inspiration and to create new dishes for her restaurant.

Close to Citrus, you’ll find another Ojochal star: Exotica. The menu is French oriented, but with exotic and French colonial influences. You can order a delicious Tahitian fish carpaccio or a spicy Vietnamese chicken soup.

Do you have any culinary tips? Share them with us!

Our Edventure Travel team regularly hits the road to discover new hotels, travel destinations or nice restaurants.  We hope that this story gives you more insight in where to find good food in Costa Rica!
Do you want to stay up-to-date with our newest discoveries or do you want to share your own culinary experiences and tips with us?

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