20 Of the Best Local Places to Eat & Drink in Costa Rica

Local recommendations on where to eat in Costa Rica, brought to you by Costa Rican native Diego!

Today we have a list of 20 of the best places in Costa Rica where you can go to eat, have a drink or go enjoy the nightlife. We sought out to showcase authentic local places; no big chains or touristic places here. Discover some local “hidden gems” where Costa Ricans go.

Here you will have different types of food, places that Costa Rican people love, however there are so many good local places to eat in Costa Rica, just remember to eat in different places and not the same big chains you can find anywhere in the world.

Read until the end because we will give you the 3 top places to go party in Costa Rica that are trending now.

Riverside Pizzeria & Gastropub

Location: San Isidro, Heredia

Price Range: $ (dishes under $10)

This place is located about 30 minutes from downtown San Jose, but this beautiful place in the mountains is worth the travel. Their woodfired pizza is absolutely delicious.

Riverside offers traditional pizza with tomato sauce, but with a mix of different ingredients that you will only find here. They also offer pizza with white sauce and a bunch of different pastas and lasagna.

If you want to have a drink, they offer craft beer and a great selection of wines.

Pro tip: They can get very crowded so remember to make a reservation! +(506) 2268-6889

Taller de Pizza Da Domenico

Location: Santa Ana, San José

Price Range: $$ (10$-20$ dishes)

Italian owner Domenico creates what are often called the perfect pizzas. He has more than 30 years in the business of pizza. So, you can trust when we say this guy knows what he’s doing.

This is a small and cozy place; they offer a great variety of pizzas. They also have some desserts that you can’t miss.

If you love pizza and authentic places you have to go with Domenico.

Pro tip: This place is small, call for a reservation. +(506) 2438-1703


Want to enjoy a meal with a Costa Rican local? Learn all about the healthy Pura Vida approach to life that makes Costa Rica so unique at Oscar’s house, or share Vivi´s passion for great food and enjoyment.


Dark Kitchens

Location: Santa Ana, San José

Price Range: $$ (10$-20$ dishes)

This place started with 2 brothers and a small container; they managed to create one of the best burgers in Costa Rica. Their flavor and recipe are just unique.

Their burgers are made with Wagyu meat and if you like blue cheese, you can’t miss their “Blue Cheese Burger”, but they offer other amazing burgers for all tastes.

They also offer an amazing pizza made with sourdough.

Pro tip: Make sure to get there early, the place is not that big. You might have to wait, Diego promises it will worth it. 🙂

Pescatore

Location: Escazu, San José and Pinares, Cartago

Price Range: $$$ (15$-40$ dishes)

Pescatore is a small but fancy place in Escazu. They offer fusion food between Peruvian and Mediterranean. They recently opened a new location in Cartago.

If you like seafood, you will love this place and all its offers. Their prices are not cheap but is a place where you can pay a little with no regrets.

They have different dishes some related to seafood, and they also offer meats, is a great place to enjoy dinner with a glass of wine.

Pro tip: make a reservation, good places like this tends to be full. Their number for reservations is +(506) 2289-8010

La Carretica

Location: Santa Lucia, Heredia and Mercedes Norte, Heredia

Price Range: $ (under 10$ dishes)

If you like to try authentic Costa Rican and local food, this is the place to do it. They preserve all the traditional dishes from Costa Rica and is a great place to taste the original flavor of the local cuisine.

Their staff is dressed like farmers from the old times in Costa Rica to make your experience even more local.

Great place to have a “Gallo Pinto” for breakfast or a “Casado” for lunch, you won’t regret this choice.

Pro tip: If you’re planning on visiting Heredia mountains, Poás Volcano and Barva, this is a great place to start your trip from San Jose, as it’s on the way to the Volcano.

Maxi’s by Ricky

Location: Santa Ana, San José

Price Range: $$ (10$-20$ dishes)

The Caribbean part of Costa Rica is one of the richest cultures in the country; their traditions, style, food, and even their own language besides the Spanish makes them different and extraordinary.

If you can’t visit the Caribbean, this place will give you a taste of all they can offer. Maxis is a Caribbean food restaurant, and they mix flavors with coconut, seafood and other Caribbean spices that will give you a different perspective of Costa Rican food.

Pro tip: Don’t forget to try a “patty”.

Na Praia Seafood & Raw Bar

Location: San Pedro, San José

Price Range: $$ (10$-20$ dishes)

Are you a seafood lover? Their claim is to offer seafood and local products in their menu; they offer healthy recipes, seasonal products, and a keto menu. The Raw Bar has “ceviche”, salads, carpaccio’s, and much more don’t forget to try it.

It’s also a great place to degust a wine or have a craft beer. Definitely is one of the best places to have seafood in the city.

Pro tip: Try a cocktail – their margarita is delicious.

Bacchus

Location: Santa Ana, San José

Price Range: $$$ (15$-40$ dishes)

This is an artisan Italian restaurant; they offer amazing pastas, pizzas, meat, and poultry. The place is just beautiful, it looks like an old house, has a lot of parking space, and is safe and quiet to have a lovely dinner with a glass of wine.

Is not a cheap place but if you have the budget or just want to have a nice dinner, Bacchus is your restaurant.

Pro tip: They serve a creamy mushroom soup in a bread that you have to try!

Zonna Gastro Bar

Location: Escazu, San José

Price Range: $$$ (15$-40$ dishes)

This is a restaurant and a bar; they serve the best cocktails and is one of the favorites for the “Ticos” to have after work.

They have a very diverse Peruvian menu and a lot of options to try; the food is delicious. You can have a nice dinner and then spend the rest of the night trying amazing drinks.

Pro tip: Try their great selection of Gin & Tonics.

Nuestra Tierra

Location: Downtown, San Jose

Price Range: $ (under 10$ dishes)

This is a very traditional restaurant located in the middle of San José; if you are in the area is a great place to try local cuisine and have the full Costa Rica experience.

They offer all the typical food from Costa Rica. hey serve breakfast and lunch but you can also go there in the afternoon to enjoy a good traditional coffee and something to accompany.

They have a very nice detail, for free they will take a photo from you and give it to you printed with a nice frame.

Pro tip: They don’t have parking as they are located in downtown, however, there are paid parking places around, or if you are staying downtown you can walk.

Tacos Locos

Location: Cytizen Belen, Heredia

Price Range: $ (under 10$ dishes)

This restaurant is located inside a new plaza in Belen; they are a food truck park in a modern way. There are many options to drink and eat and have a nice time, the place is beautiful, and you won’t want to leave.

Tacos locos offer Mexican food; they have a menu full of tacos, enchiladas, and many more Mexican dishes. The prices are great, and the food quality is amazing.

Pro tip: try “No Te Rajes”, is a dish you can’t miss:

Mirador Cinchona

Location: Poás, Alajuela

IG: mirador_cinchona

Price Range: $ (under 10$ dishes)

This restaurant is located in the Poás area. There is a lot to see around here like the Poás volcano, La Paz waterfall, and much more. If you are in the area, you wouldn’t want to miss this restaurant.

The biggest asset of this restaurant is the view, and they’re known to have one of the best views of the waterfall and all the rainforest. You can watch the hummingbirds eating on the feeders they have.

The food they offer is traditional Costa Rican the prices are great and is the best option if you are in the area.

Pro tip: Try the aligned tortilla with cheese/ tortilla con queso – touted to be the best in the country!

Casa Baula

Location: Barrio Escalante, San José

Price Range: $$ (10$-20$ dishes)

Casa Baula is located in the heart of Barrio Escalante, one of the trending locations in Costa Rica. This area is full of restaurants and bars so that can be overwhelming and difficult to decide where to go, but don’t worry – we have some recommendations for you.

This restaurant offers pizzas, tacos, quesadillas, burgers, local food, etc. They have a very diverse food; their prices are good for their location and the local is beautiful.

The cocktails are amazing and really big. They’re called “Guaritos” and contains 1 litter of drink, don’t worry you can order a Junior size that have 0.5 litters.

Pro tip: Parking is a bit of a nighmare in this area. Do not take a car here, try an Uber instead (and anyways, that will allow you to try all of the cocktails!

Casa Baula is located in the heart of Barrio Escalante, one of the trending locations in Costa Rica, this place is so full of restaurants and bars that can be overwhelming and hard to decide where to enter, but don’t worry we have some recommendations for you.

Napo Pizzeria

Location: Barrio Escalante, San Jose

Price Range: $$ (10$-20$ dishes)

Napo is located inside Calle 33, a gastronomic market that offers a lot of options of food and drinks. But definitely one stands out from the others and is Napo Pizzeria. They specialize in Neapolitan Pizzas and are just amazing.

You might want to try their Lomito pizza, it has a mix of flavors that are worth trying; but they also have a lot of options where to choose from. The market is beautiful, and you can spend your night here drinking and eating good food.

Pro tip: Take an Uber or a taxi.

Al Cesar

Location: Barrio Amon, San Jose

IG: alcesarcr

Price Range: $$ (10$-20$ dishes)

Al Cesar is a cafeteria located in San José; the place is an old building newly renovated but maintaining the architecture. Is a beautiful place and you will feel in a different time being here.

You can have lunch here or enjoy an afternoon with a coffee and delighting all their pastries and desserts. This place is a must if you are in San José downtown.

Pro tip: Try their croissant budin, is super different than other similar dishes you can try in Costa Rica.

Picnic

Location: Lindora, San Jose

IG: picnic_cr

Price Range: $ (under 10$ dishes)

This place is located in the heart of Lindora, is a beautiful place surrounded by nature and is the perfect place to have breakfast, lunch or enjoy a coffee.

Their breakfast options include eggs, toasts, omelets, and their lunches include sandwiches, salads and bowls. Is a simple but delicious menu.

But what really stands out here is all their pastries and desserts; when you see all they have to offer you will want to try everything.

Pro tip: Ask for the apple pie, you will love it.

Tournant

Location: San Isidro, Heredia

IG: tournantcr

Price Range: $ (under 10$ dishes)

If you want to enjoy the best brunch of Costa Rica you have to visit this place, is located in the mountains of Heredia and is a place full of nature with a rustic architecture.

What really stands out are their options for brunch, they make combinations that are full of flavor, definitely one of the most delicious breakfasts from Costa Rica.

They also have a chocolate factory in the place so you can take some delicious chocolates home.

Pro tip: You need a reservation for their brunch – +(506) 2229-2323


As we promise, we going to give you the 3 top places to go party in Costa Rica that are trending now, and these are the places where all the young people from Costa Rica likes to go to have party.

Remember do not drink and drive; please take care of yourself and your belongings.
La Fira

Location: Lindora, San José

Price Range: $ (under 10$ drinks)

This place is located in Lindora, is a trending club where you can go and have a drink, their beers and cocktails are cheap under 10$ but you will be spending the night with a lot of people around you. Sometimes is even hard to walk because is so full.

If you want to spend around 100$ in a bottle you will have your own table and a more private space.

However, this is a great place to dance, meet people and have a party.

Pro tip: Please do not drink and drive – use alternate ride options. Is very difficult to find parking here, and the lines to get in can be huge. So, take an Uber and enjoy your night.

Delirio

Location: Barrio Escalante, San José

IG: deliricostarica

Price Range: $$ (10$-20$ dishes)

Now we go back to Barrio Escalante to show you one of the most trending bars now, Delirio is a bar with amazing drinks and they also serve amazing food.

You can go at the beginning of the night grab a table and have dinner, then you can start taking a drink and you will see how the party starts.

The place is not that big and it can get crowdy but is great to have a nice party without going to a big disco.

Pro tip: Remember there is no parking in this area. And, arrive early so you can get a table and enjoy the rest of your night.

La Concha de la Lora

Location: La California, San José

IG: laconchalora

Price Range: $ (under 10$ drinks)

Now if you want to have a big party night you can’t miss La Concha de la Lora, this is a trending disco in Costa Rica where all the party people like to go. But so many people come here so be ready to make a big line if you want to enter here.

They usually charge for a cover under 10$ but they only accept cash for it so make sure you’re bringing cash with you.

Here you can have a lot of fun dancing and drinking, but is a big place with a lot of people so please don’t take any drinks from anyone and take care of your belongings.

Pro tip: The area is very crowded and there are typically some police around, but if you walk away from the area it becomes a lot less safe.

There you are, 20 of the best places from Costa Rica to have breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee or drinks. Now that you’re armed with these recommendations, where will you go?

If you have gone to any of these places, please do comment below and let us know!

Thank you to Costa Rican-born and raised Diego for his local suggestions.

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