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Costa Rica restaurants

Costa Rica has surprisingly cosmopolitan restaurants, many of which are run by entrepreneurial expats who've brought foreign know-how and flavors to even the most remote areas. Many a hungry gourmand has made the three-hour drive from San José to Puerto Viejo for homemade gnocchi at La Pecora Nera or sought out the Central Valley hamlet of San Pedro de Barva for paella at La Lluna de Valencia. Upscale seafood restaurants are common along the coast, especially in popular resort destinations such as Manuel Antonio on the Central Pacific coast and Playa Tamarindo on the Nicoya Peninsula. That said, your most memorable meal in Costa Rica might be at one of the humble little roadside cantina restaurants called sodas. You'll find one in nearly every village and dozens in San José's colorful central market.

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Taco Bar, Jacó, Central Pacific

If you have time to dine at only one restaurant in Jacó, make it this small open-air spot that specializes in fish tacos but offers far more. You order...more

Editors' Pick
Sofía, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Monteverde

A few years ago, dining options in Monteverde were more or less limited to rice and bean. You won't find them on the menu at Sofía, a restaurant that's set...more

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Seasons by Shlomy, Tamarindo, Nicoya Peninsula

Cordon Blue–trained Israeli chef Shlomy Koren conjures up culinary magic in the kitchen of the boutique hotel Arco Iris in Tamarindo. The outdoor poolside...more

Editors' Pick
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Restaurante Hotel Grano de Oro, San José, San José + Central Valley

If you're in the capital, the formal wood-paneled restaurant of this Victorian–style hotel is one place where you'll not only eat well but also likely...more

Editors' Pick
La Lluna de Valencia, San Pedro de Barva, San José + Central Valley

Located in a huge rustic restaurant in the hills outside Heredia (complete with a barnlike extension that houses a stage), La Lluna de Valencia is heaps of fun....more

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Hotel Photo
La Esquina de Buenos Aires, San José, San José + Central Valley

La Esquina de Buenos Aires in downtown San José is run by an Argentine native who has decorated the restaurant's wood-paneled interior with historic prints...more

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Gingerbread, Nuevo Arenal, Northern Lowlands

Israeli-born chef Eyal Ben-Menachem makes only a handful of dishes each day—depending on what's freshest in the local markets—at this Italian...more

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Hotel Photo
Ginger, Playa Hermosa, Nicoya Peninsula

A stylish tree house is what comes to mind when you catch a glimpse of this tapas bar on cantilevered metal stilts in Playa Hermosa on the Nicoya Peninsula. The...more

Editors' Pick
El Gran Escape, Quepos, Central Pacific

In the center of the little port town of Quepos, the gateway to Manuel Antonio National Park, El Gran Escape isn't known for its location (on a noisy corner) or...more

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Hotel Photo
Dragonfly, Playa Tamarindo, Nicoya Peninsula

The Nicoya Peninsula beach town of Tamarindo has become known for trendy restaurants run by young American and European expats. Dragonfly, owned by California...more

Editors' Pick
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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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