Costa Rica Restaurants?

Jul 5th, 2008, 07:49 PM
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Costa Rica Restaurants?


We are headed to Costa Rica in a week. I’ve been compiling recommendations and comments on restaurants, which I’ve listed below. I still have some questions. Sorry for the long post, but I did not want to just ask an open-ended question about restaurants since there was already so much information on other threads.

We are traveling with a large group of friends (12 in all), with several children. We have one adult who doesn’t eat any red meat (eats primarily chicken but also seafood), another who could eat a steak every night but only if cooked rare, and several who love Mexican food. We have one child who eats practically nothing but chicken, one who eats pasta almost every night, and one who is a pretty strict vegetarian (she won’t eat eggs, but she will drink milk). All of us eat a lot of fruit, salad and vegetables, and none of us are too keen on buffets (although breakfast buffets and salad bars are ok).

Here’s the list I’ve put together. Is there any place I’ve missed? Also, if I’ve listed someplace that you’ve been, and the food is not good, please let me know. I added * to those restaurants for which I’ve read several good reviews.


Orquedias Inn/Alajuela
• The restaurant at Orquedias Inn is supposed to be good, especially breakfast.

Mawamba Lodge/Tortuguero
I’ve heard food isn’t very good. Even though it’s included in the package price, we may want to take a meal or two in town.
• La Casona
• Miriam I

Peace Lodge/Vara Blanca
I’ve heard the food at the main restaurant is pricey and not very good.
• The Trout Bar at Peace Lodge*
• Colbert’s (French)

Peace Lodge to Arenal/Sarchi
Any recommendations for a restaurant in Sarchi?

Arenal/Lost Iguana
I’ve heard the food at LI isn’t very good.
• El Novillo (casual steakhouse)*
• La Choza de Laurel (great rotisserie chicken)*
• Toad Hall (soda)
• Don Rufinos
• Soda La Parada
• Typica
• The café at the hanging bridges

Monteverde/El Sapo Dorado
• Morphos (good vegetarian options)
• Johnny’s Pizzeria* (full restaurant, not just pizza)
• El Marques(a lot of seafood options but also chicken and burgers)
• Café Flor de Vida (formerly Café Paraiso)
• Stella’s Bakery
• Dulce Marzo Café
• Soda La Central; next to the Sky Trek office in Santa Elena
• Tramonti (Italian)

Manuel Antonio/Buena Vista Villas
• Ronnie’s Place (aka Mi Lugar)*
• El Gran Escape-downtown Quepos
• La Cubanita-Quepos
• Barba Roja (for dinner)-walking distance to BVV
• Angel*-a few blocks from Tulemar
• Marlin’s-near MA park entrance
• Soda Sanchez-Quepos
• El Avion
• Café Agua Azul*
• Café Milagro*-just down the hill from Tulemar
• Salsipuedes
• La Cantina-across the street from Costa Verde.
• El Patio-Quepos
• Dos Locos-Quepos
• Café Del Mar-near MA park, on the public beach.
Dana_M is offline  
Jul 5th, 2008, 08:58 PM
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We just got back from Costa Rica and have to say that Cafe Agua Azul, was absoulutely wonderful. It is small for the amount of people you are talking about. The Panko Crusted Ahi was amazing! We also went to El Avion. It was good and much bigger with a cool atmosphere, not to mention the sloth in the tree. El Gran was okay,but nothing out of this world. Good luck!
Dmp is offline  
Jul 5th, 2008, 09:14 PM
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Agua Azul is wonderful! The owners are very nice as well. I'd have your hotel call ahead and ask for them to help your party out.

It actually sounds like your group will be very easy to feed. My kids, two of whom are very picky, loved EVERYTHING they ate in Costa Rica.

Barba Roja was good but I didn't really feel that it was for kids.

El Patio was wonderful but my kids would only eat a bagel and cream cheese there. It was a bit too frou-frou for them.

Dos Locos was good. My kids loved the taquitos an burgers.

The soda at the beach by the park entrance is very good too. We ate lunch there daily.

Several people we met told us to stay away from Ronnie's Place. They said the service was very rushed and the food was just ok.

We also heard a lot of people who said they liked salsipudes but we never got the chance to try it. Next time!

Enjoy your trip. You are all going to have a wonderful time!
emavejess is offline  
Jul 5th, 2008, 09:14 PM
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Thanks DMP. Cafe Agua Azul gets a lot of good recommendations. Your comments will help me fine-tune my list. We'll check out El Avion. Thanks.
Dana_M is offline  
Jul 6th, 2008, 04:43 AM
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Good Food Great views especially

EcoTermales great package with excellent Comida Tipica...
qwovadis is offline  
Jul 6th, 2008, 07:49 AM
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Thanks emavajess and qwovadis. This is exactly the type of input I'm looking for.

Dana_M is offline  
Jul 6th, 2008, 12:09 PM
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We were in CR in April and I would highly recommend Tramonti. The pasta dishes were excellent - You will not be disappointed. Stella's Bakery had good sandwiches.
drummindave is offline  
Jul 6th, 2008, 02:06 PM
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Good luck going into town from Mawamba. It just isn't practical. You're right, the food there isn't great but you will survive.

In La Fortuna, I highly recommend Anch io (with two little thingies over the i). I think it's new but it had good ambiance and pasta, always a hit with the kids. We went there twice. It's located next door to the Burger King.
MonicaRichards is offline  
Jul 6th, 2008, 02:08 PM
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Oh, and in Arenal, you can go into El Castillo (little town past the volcano) and the restaurant next to the serpent museum is really good and has great views. The serpent museum is cool too, they let the kids sit on a python. And Anchio has great pizza along with the pasta.
MonicaRichards is offline  
Jul 6th, 2008, 03:30 PM
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Thanks Dave and Monica. We'll definitely try Tramonti an Anchio. Pasta is one thing everyone in our group will agree on.

I thought town was only a 10-15 minute walk from Mawamba Lodge. Is that incorrect?
Dana_M is offline  
Jul 6th, 2008, 04:05 PM
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Yeah, it's probably about 15 minutes but the town is TINY and also it will be very very dark and rainy by dinner time. Mawamba will also keep you pretty busy with their activities and I highly recommend hitting the pool at dusk when the red eyed tree frogs all wake up. It's cool to be in the hot tub when they all start hopping around.
MonicaRichards is offline  
Jul 7th, 2008, 09:05 AM
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Dana - can only advise on MA. Had 2 extremely good meals at El Avion. Especially check out/ask about their nightly specials - very good value. And ask for a table by the open-air "windows" - great views.

I think everyone will get along fine. My wife is on very strict diet and 2 teenagers also were particular about what they ate (no red meat, no pork, etc) and they had no problems finding some very good choices. We thought the food was incredibly good.
dfr4848 is offline  
Jul 7th, 2008, 10:19 AM
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In Arenal, we ate at Nene's and El Novillo and loved both. Our 3 kids easily found something they liked on the menu. At El Novillo you eat outside under a roof which is great and they can seat lots by putting tables together. Nene's was also great, the waiter did magic tricks to keep the kids entertainted. In MA, Avion was good, the kids liked looking at the plane and the view is beautiful. Ronnies also had a great view, great sangria and pretty decent food. It was worth the view! You also sit either out on picnic benches or under a patio roof.
kimmarinelli is offline  
Jul 7th, 2008, 01:59 PM
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The Orquideas Inn has a great restaurant--we ate there for all three nights we stayed.

We didn't stay at the Peace Lodge, but the buffet for the Waterfall Gardens is Blandsville.

Arenal: We stayed at the AOL, which has terrible dinner food.


Highly, highly recommend Morphos. We also went to Sofia, which is very nice, but not as relaxed and the food is a little more highbrow/avant garde.

We also had lunch at the Treehouse. Good solid food.

RAC is offline  
Jul 8th, 2008, 08:38 PM
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Thanks everyone. I had to go out of town on business, and just returned, so I'm topping this for myself.
Dana_M is offline  
Jul 9th, 2008, 11:39 AM
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Hi Dana,

Sounds like you've got your bases covered pretty well.

My personal favorites from your list are:

Arenal -- La Choza de Laurel and El Novillo

MA -- Cafe Milagro

Alajeula -- Orquideas Inn

Have a wonderful trip!
cmerrell is offline  
Jul 9th, 2008, 12:16 PM
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We just returned from a FABULOUS trip to Costa Rica, spent a few days in MA.

Our favorites:
#1 Pineapple PIzza at LaPosada Jungle Hotel, next to the entrance to the Park.

#2 We enjoyed Marlin's very much. Mahi Mahi with Lime Butter Sauce or some such was fabulous. And reasonably priced!

#3 LaCantina across from Costa Verde. We liked this alot, and the portions were great! We had Kabobs,etc.

#4 ElAvion was great. Loved the views.

We also tried Agua Azul, but everyone preferred Marlin's!

Happy Planning!

tamtot is offline  
Jul 9th, 2008, 01:49 PM
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We ate at every place Tamtom mentioned and were there the end of May. I really enjoyed the food at all of those places. I loved Ronnie's Place, graet sangria too.
lisa_ea is offline  
Jul 9th, 2008, 03:48 PM
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Thanks everyone for more great suggestions. I'm updating my list now with all of this fantastic advice!

Great tip about the pool, hot tub and frogs Monica. The kids will absolutely love that, and so will I!

Dana_M is offline  
Jul 10th, 2008, 08:21 AM
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Dana -

I agree with many of the recommendations so far, esp El Novillo in la fortuna and El Avion in MA.

At La Paz/Peace Lodge, the Trout Pond restaurant is wonderful. It has a small but adequate menu. There is an actual trout pond, swimming pool and hot tub right next to the restaurant. Anyone can swim while waiting for the food to arrive and they provide towels, fluffy robes and changing rooms. Always a hit with the kids.

Have fun.
KirstenChuck is offline  

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