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Restaurants in Costa Rica

Restaurants in Costa Rica are more sophisticated than one might expect, and many channel international flavors. Expect a mix of chic city restaurants, tiny roadside sodas, and seafood eateries, especially along the coast. Read on for our guide to some of the best restaurants in Costa Rica.

  • Named after an 800-pound pink pig, Lola's café is a popular gathering place in Playa Avellanas. Upstairs, the menu consists of Asian-inspired appetizers and ultra-thin vegetarian pizzas and seared ahi tuna with sun-dried tomato and olive tapenade. Outside, guests can relax in hammocks strung up under palm trees.
  • El Chicote is an excellent San Jose restaurant. The dining room features dark, varnished-wood beams, and tables brightened by tropical plants and hanging ferns. Local businessmen come here to talk shop and there's a wine list with gems from France, Spain, and California.
  • At Sofia, owner Karen Nielsen is raising the bar for dining in the Monteverde Forest Reserve area. Plantain-crusted sea bass is a favorite specialty.
  • In Playa Hermosa on the Nicoya Peninsula, Ginger is a tapas bar that resembles a treehouse, cantilevered as it is 20 feet above the ground. Try the chicken satay.
  • Bakea

    PRICE RANGE: Dollar Dollar
    Chef Camille Ratton marries French technique with fresh Central American ingredients. Don’t miss the tarta de pasiones with crème of passion fruit. More
  • Café Playa Negra

    Cloe, Maia, Andrea and Carlos Velardes, a family of Peruvian surfers, came to Playa Negra on the north Pacific coast in search of “peace, nature an... More
  • Cuenca

    Elevating the Costa Rican soda—the Tico version of a corner diner—to new heights, Cuenca eschews the standard mom-and-pop operation tacked onto the... More
  • El Chicote

    PRICE RANGE: Dollar Dollar
    A San José institution for nearly 40 years, this steakhouse is the kind of place where Costa Rican coffee barons and their international financiers... More
  • El Galeón

    PRICE RANGE: Dollar
    At sunset, there is a Great Gatsby-like atmosphere at the happy hour at El Galeón restaurant, as yacht owners and guests arrive from the nearby Los... More
  • La Hacienda Restaurante

    PRICE RANGE: Dollar Dollar
    A chic, open-air terrace—surrounded by jungle palms that are illuminated at night —is the best place to enjoy La Hacienda’s Latin American-Mediterr... More
  • Lanterna Ristorante Italiano

    PRICE RANGE: Dollar Dollar
    Arguably the most authentic Italian restaurant in Costa Rica, Lanterna is also considered the best table in the Jacó area—a valuable distinction, s... More
  • Le Monastère

    PRICE RANGE: Dollar Dollar
    Located in a complex of decades-old stone buildings that once housed a mountainside monastery, this elegant French restaurant has three parts—all w... More
  • Lola's, Costa Rica

    PRICE RANGE: Dollar
    Named after its now-deceased mascot, an 800 pound pink pig, Lola’s beach café continues to delight visitors with its idyllic scene at Playa Avellan... More
  • Mar Luna

    PRICE RANGE: Dollar Dollar Dollar
    About 100 meters north of the elementary school in Manuel Antonio, the wooden, blue seafood restaurant Mar Luna sits on a hilltop overlooking the t... More
  • Miss Junie's

    Miss Junie came to Totuguero from Nicaragua and brought her culinary expertise with her, which she channeled into establishing one of the best-know... More
  • Pachanga

    Mediterranean recipes, Middle Eastern flavors, and fresh-caught Pacific seafood all come together at one of the best small restaurants on the penin... More
  • Pan Pay Café

    PRICE RANGE: Dollar
    One of the best ways to sample Costa Rica’s cornucopia of tropical fruits is with a batido, a fresh smoothie made with water or milk, and the convi... More
  • Trio

    PRICE RANGE: Dollar Dollar
    Located next to a supermarket in the town of Santa Elena, this small eatery stands out with its sleek black-and-white décor and a contemporary menu... More

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