Cheaper Restaurant Suggestions

Old Apr 8th, 2005, 07:45 AM
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Cheaper Restaurant Suggestions

We will be heading down to CR in 3 weeks. I'm now down to researching restaurants. I'm looking for "cheaper" options in Arenal, Montezuma and Malpais. We are splurging on hotels and activities and would like to save as much as possible on the food.

Any good hidden gems or hole in the walls. This is what I have found so far for recommendations (not necessarily cheap, though):

Arenal - El Novillo

Montezuma - the Sano Bano beach restaurant, Cafe de los artistes & something like Cococles?

Malpais - Frank's Place, The Place, was Charlie's in Malpais? & the Surf Camp

We'd love suggestions for good local places that may not be the typical tourist stops.
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Old Apr 8th, 2005, 08:03 AM
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Montezuma - El Sano has 2 restaurants one in town and one on the beach. The beach one was not there last year. However we had some good meals in town. Also (I think - Cafe Montezuma) it is at the hotel Montezuma, had good inexpensive meals. Also, we did the Tortuga Snorkeling trip from here through Cocozuma Traveler. $40 pp all day, which included a delicious fresh fish meal grilled on the island, soft drinks and beer.

Malpais - search for a trip report by audraf. Audra was recently at Tropico Latino in Santa Teresa - she was very impressed with the food prices at the hotel, but I believe her report talks about some other restaurants in the area that were reasonable and good.

Arenal - can't say - we only ate a couple of lunches in town, don't recall the names, but they were inespensive. All other meals at the hotel.
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Old Apr 8th, 2005, 11:50 AM
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You are not going to have trouble finding cheap food in CR--just play it by ear. Charlie's and Frank's Place in MalPais both good. The central part of the country (especially the typical Costa Rican towns less touched by tourism) are cheaper than beach locations. For us, 4000 colones for a meal is a LOT--that's about $8. Most of our meals are in the 2500-3500 colones range, and we think they are great! Call us strange, but here in the U.S., we'd think that was cheap. In Costa Rica, that amount represents a more expensive meal! Very occasionally we will splurge and put out 9000 or so colones for a meal (like at Karola's in Manuel Antonio) or Camaron Dorado in Brasilito.

Many times in some of the little sodas in the smaller towns you can get a really good casado for 2.50-3.00 US. It's not hard to find a ham & cheese sandwich or a hamburger for just a couple of dollars.

By the way, DO try a casado--rice and beans, meat (fish or chicken usually), salad, platanos (plantains), yucca, sometimes with a fried egg right on top. Very filling and darned good!
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Old Apr 8th, 2005, 01:01 PM
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In Arenal there is a very good pizza place on the main road right before you get to the main part of La Fortuna coming from the hotels called Vagabondo.
This was nice change. In fact, we had take out a couple nights later because my kids didn't want to go out for food(We had a long day). We also went into town, rented them a couple of DVD's and took it back our room. My wife and I went to the hot springs at Tabacon and out to dinner. Everyone was happy!
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Old Apr 15th, 2005, 09:23 AM
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we found most of the restaurants in malpais to be quite inexpensive. here are the memorable ones:

ritmo tropical - right next to Hotel The Place (gets crowded at dinner; i don't think they serve lunch)
buenos aires - you have to walk up a hill to get there but the great view is the reward; go for dinner and get there early for the sunset
pizza place right on the beach at the crossroads- might actually be called Playa Carmen?
cafe manana- great breakfast spot
the restaurant next to cafe manana- not sure of the name but the food was good and cheap and it was full of locals all the time (always a good sign)
tropico latino- good food, nice atmosphere
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Old Apr 15th, 2005, 09:26 AM
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las piedras is the name of the restaurant next to cafe manana- highly recommended!
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Old Apr 18th, 2005, 09:15 PM
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In La Fortuna try Soda del P...(?). Can't excatly remember the name, but it is across the street from the church. La Fortune is not very big so it is very easy to find and usually pretty crowded. Good cheap eats (tipico and pizza). All the locals recommended it.
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Old Apr 19th, 2005, 06:32 AM
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Thanks for all the recommendations. I'm printing out this post along with taking my Lonely Planet Central America on a Shoestring book.

Ten days and counting!
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Old Apr 19th, 2005, 09:18 PM
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In La Fortuna, Soda del Parada is very good and very cheap! There is a great ice cream stand about 1/2 a block from Soda del Parada too. Don't miss it. Avoid Luigis, the food was not very good. Hope this help!
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Old Apr 20th, 2005, 04:13 AM
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Buen Viaje!
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