Map
at the Nicoya Peninsula ferry crossing, Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica

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 front of a family home in favor of an expansive deck and cantina-style décor, with antique Costa Rican lanterns and lacquered tree-trunk barstools. White-shirted waiters serve standard Costa Rican fare: thin grilled steaks, fried plantains, rice, chicken, and fish. The food isn’t especially creative, but it’s made with quality, fresh ingredients, and the results are dependably delicious. Costa Rica’s national dish, the casado—a meal including a choice of meats with black beans, rice, salad, and slices of papaya or avocado—is executed flawlessly. The restaurant can be hard to spot behind the 18-wheelers parked out front—chalk it up to authenticity.

Restaurant
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 front of a family home in favor of an expansive deck and cantina-style décor, with antique Costa Rican lanterns and lacquered tree-trunk barstools. White-shirted waiters serve standard Costa Rican fare: thin grilled steaks, fried plantains, rice, chicken, and fish. The food isn’t especially creative, but it’s made with quality, fresh ingredients, and the results are dependably delicious. Costa Rica’s national dish, the casado—a meal including a choice of meats with black beans, rice, salad, and slices of papaya or avocado—is executed flawlessly. The restaurant can be hard to spot behind the 18-wheelers parked out front—chalk it up to authenticity.